Wrestler of the Day – August 25: CM Punk

Time for another big name with CM Punk.

No timeline of course.

We’ll start with Punk’s rematch against Chris Jericho at Extreme Rules 2012 in Punk’s hometown of Chicago.

Raw World Title: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk

It’s a Chicago Street Fight. They’re both in street clothes which is at least something different. They do big match intros and Punk is ungodly over. They stare each other down and it’s a brawl to start. Punk stomps him down into the corner and they head outside. Punk throws two chairs in and grabs a kendo stick, drawing an ECW chant. He gets in a few shots and tries a baseball swing at Jericho but Chris hits the floor.

Back in a clothesline puts Jericho down and it’s back to the stick. Punk’s sister is here in the front row and his parents are here somewhere. Jericho hides behind the referee and pokes Punk in the eye to take over. Out to the floor again and into timekeepers’ area but Punk gets in a shot. A headbutt puts the champion back down and he goes over in front of Punk’s sister.

Jericho gets in her face and gets slapped. He charges at her and that makes Punk snap. In something I’ve never seen before, Punk rips the top off the announce table and puts Jericho through the top of it. He tries a piledriver but Jericho shoves him off and takes over again, ramming him into the barricade which gets two in the ring. Chinlock time but it doesn’t last long. We lose a turnbuckle and Jericho fires off on Punk’s back with the kendo stick.

Jericho heads to the floor and finds a beer under the ring. That gives Punk a chance to catch his breath and he comes back with kendo stick shots to the back. Jericho comes back again and they go to the corner with Punk knocking him into Macho Elbow position. That only gets two as this is getting good. GTS is countered and Jericho throws him into a chair wedged between the ropes for two.

Codebreaker puts Punk down and Jericho smiles. He doesn’t cover but sets up the Walls. It’s the Liontamer and Punk is in trouble. Now it’s just the Walls because the Liontamer is too hard to get out of. Punk gets the rope but Jericho doesn’t let go because it’s a street fight. The champ finds a fire extinguisher under the ring and Jericho is kind enough to look over at him so it can be blasted into his face.

They go to the floor and Punk fires off some kicks. Jericho is laid out on the table so Punk goes up top and almost falls off the top. Now the Macho Elbow hits in a great looking dive. Jericho is holding the back of his head and seems mad at a chair. Back in the ring that somehow only gets two so Punk throws on the Anaconda Vice. Jericho tries for the kendo stick and gets in enough shots to Punk’s head to break the hold. Punk hits him in the ribs with a chair but Jericho grabs it for a Codebreaker which gets two. Jericho tries a GTS but Punk counters into a slingshot into the exposed buckle. GTS keeps the title at 25:10.

Rating: B+. This took awhile to get going but the near falls at the end were great. I don’t think anyone expected Punk to lose here and it wouldn’t have been right for him to. There’s no need for this feud to continue now as Punk has pinned Jericho and made him tap so there’s nothing left to prove. I’m not sure where either of them goes next but it should be interesting. Very good match.

One of Punk’s biggest feuds before he got huge was over a culture clash with Jeff Hardy. Punk had cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to take the title from Jeff. Hardy took the title back, setting up this showdown at Summerslam 2009.

Smackdown World Title: Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk

TLC match here. They fight over a lockup to start until Punk takes him into the corner for some knees to the chest. He stomps Hardy down and throws him to the floor before grabbing the first chair. A shot to the ribs and back allows Punk to go up but Hardy makes a quick save. Hardy stomps him down in the corner and hits the slingshot dropkick before going up. This time it’s Punk making the save but Hardy sends him into the ladder to put both guys down.

Back up and Hardy loads up Poetry in Motion but Punk drops him onto the open chair to take over. A series of ladder shots to the back have Hardy in big trouble. Punk sends him to the floor and hits a suicide dive but misses a chair shot. Hardy sends him into the post and gets in a chair shot to the elbow to take over. This is a slower paced match so far which is usually the best way to go about TLC matches. Now Poetry In Motion hits against the barricade and Punk is in trouble.

Hardy puts him on a table but Punk moves before Hardy can splash him through it, sending Hardy down in a big crash. We get another ladder in the ring as JR calls this a carcinogenic match. Punk goes up but Jeff literally jumps over him to go after it himself, only to get caught in an electric chair, only to counter that into a sunset bomb to put both guys down. The champion goes up first but Punk shoves him onto the corner in a SCARY landing with Jeff’s leg hitting the rope.

Punk says on him with a superplex onto the ladder in another cringe inducing landing. Somehow Jeff snaps off a quick Twist of Fate but the Swanton hits knees. Punk hits the running knee in the corner but the bulldog is countered by Hardy throwing Punk over the top and through a table. Jeff starts to climb but Punk is back up to dropkick Hardy off the ladder. They head outside with Punk’s knees being sent into the steps, allowing Hardy to go NUTS on Punk with a chair.

Hardy loads up a table next to the ring and this Punk in the head with part of the announce table and a monitor. A chair shot puts Punk down again as Hardy is in full control. Jeff sets up the big ladder and hits an INSANE Swanton Bomb through Punk through the announce table. That looked NUTS but the crash was great. Both guys are checked on as the stretcher is brought out. Hardy is taken out but Punk is crawling towards the ladder. Jeff gets off the stretcher and goes after Punk, only to be kicked off the ladder in another big crash, giving Punk the title.

Rating: A-. This was an excellent war with a great story being told: Punk played it safe while Hardy lived for the moment and lost the title as a result. The Swanton spot looked amazing and it was the last straw for Hardy as he just couldn’t keep getting up from all these crashes. Awesome match here and a great bit of storytelling.

Punk is the only man to win two Money in the Bank matches. Here’s one of them from Wrestlemania XXIV.

CM Punk vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. John Morrison vs. Chris Jericho vs. MVP vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Carlito

Morrison is a tag champion and MVP is US Champion, having held it for nearly a year. Jericho is also Intercontinental Champion because what else is he supposed to do? Everyone goes after a ladder to start other than MVP who stays in the ring. Someone slides one in and MVP uses it to knock everyone down. Jericho brings in a big ladder and it’s time for a duel. MVP goes down and here’s Morrison to use his own ladder to send Jericho down.

In an awesome move, Morrison goes up top with the ladder and moonsaults down onto a bunch of guys at once. Kennedy uses the distraction to go up but Jericho makes the save. He tries a catapult on Kennedy but sends him onto the ladder by mistake. Morrison dives onto the ladder to stop Kennedy but Shelton climbs his own ladder to make it a three way race. Kennedy loads up a superplex on Morrison but Shelton jumps over both of them with a sunset flip to make it a Tower of Doom. Cool spot.

Carlito tries to shove Shelton off the ladder but he lands on the top rope on his feet. Shelton shoves the ladder at Carlito and tries to dive onto said ladder but it gives way. Punk stops Shelton from going up and hits the GTS but Kennedy stops him with the rolling fireman’s carry onto a ladder. MVP is back in now to kick Kennedy in the head but gets sent into a ladder by Carlito.

Shelton’s dragon whip CRACKS Carlito in the head but as he goes up, Kennedy and Carlito shove the ladder forward, sending Shelton over the top and through a ladder which was bridged between the ring and the barricade. Carlito and Kennedy go up but MVP breaks that up, only to be broken up by Morrison. Jericho breaks up Morrison’s attempt by putting him in the Walls on top of the ladder. Again, awesome. Kennedy tries to use the opening but Jericho throws John down and starts brawling.

Punk and Carlito dive at the ladders to make it a fourway with only Jericho lasting on top. Carlito comes back with the Backstabber off the ladder and everyone is down again. MVP goes up the ladder but here’s the returning Matt Hardy to stop him with a Twist of Fate off the ladder. Everyone is back in again and Jericho beats on all of them with the ladder. In a cool visual one ladder is jammed into the bottom of another, so as Morrison climbs the vertical (and unfolded) one, Jericho shoves it back into the corner and onto Punk.

Carlito and Jericho go up but Carlito spits apple in the face to break it up. Kennedy shoves Carlito off but gets hit in the ribs with a ladder by Punk. Jericho hits a Codebreaker with a ladder onto Punk to put everyone not named Jericho down. Punk goes up to stop Jericho but gets hit in the face by the briefcase. Punk climbs up again and knocks Jericho into the Tree of Woe with a shot to the head, allowing Punk to climb up and win the briefcase.

Rating: B. Good MITB here but as usual the high amount of people hurt it. Nothing here really stood out other than the Walls and Matt’s return, as you can only get so much out of the same spots we’ve seen before. It’s certainly good but it’s a step below some of the other stuff, and this would only get worse until we got some fresh blood in there. A power guy wouldn’t hurt either.

Back to Jericho in Punk’s comeback at Payback 2013, again in Chicago.

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho

Jericho comes out to CM PUNK chants but it’s not anti-Jericho. Punk gets a big reaction but it’s not thunderous. I’m thinking the fans don’t love his mutton chops. Cole lists off some famous wrestlers from Chicago including One Man Gang (not exactly a big deal) and the Crusher (from Milwaukee) but nothing about the LOD or Lex Luger. They trade control on the mat with Jericho being booed out of the building. Back up and Jericho grabs a headlock for very early control.

Punk counters into a headlock of his own and they chop it out. Jericho stomps Punk down into the corner and is booed for the first time in years. Punk is sent to the outside for a baseball slide but he counters the springboard dropkick with a guillotine. Back in and Punk hits a top rope ax handle and hooks a top wristlock. Off to a shortarm scissors as it seems like they’ve got a lot of time to work with here.

Back up and Punk is sent into the buckle to give Jericho a breather. Some shoulders put Punk down as does an ax handle but he avoids the Lionsault. A swinging neckbreaker gets two for CM and the fans are cheering for both guys. The corner bulldog is shoved away to give the Canadian two and there are the Walls of Jericho. Punk crawls through and hooks the Anaconda Vice but Jericho gets his feet onto the ropes.

Punk calls for the GTS but Jericho counters into the Walls which are countered into a GTS which is countered into a rollup for two. A Codebreaker gets two for Chris and it’s time for the main event strike off. Punk kicks away at Jericho’s head and hits a leg lariat to put Jericho down. The knee in the corner sets up the Macho Elbow but the GTS is only good for two. Another Codebreaker is broken up and Jericho is sent to the outside. Punk hits the suicide dive but Punk counters the springboard clothesline into the Codebreaker…..for two. The place is going NUTS on these kickouts now.

Jericho pins back the arms and drives in elbows to the face as the fans chant THIS IS AWESOME. Jericho hits a good 25 elbows and Punk is in big trouble. The Walls are countered into a small package for two more and they slug it out with Punk getting the better of it. A standing hurricanrana is countered into the Walls so Heyman begins to pray. Punk punches Jericho’s sore arm to make it a half crab before fighting up and hitting a pair of GTS’s for the pin at 21:27.

Rating: A-. This was the kind of match that Punk needed to have in his return. The fans weren’t completely hating Jericho but he was clearly the heel in the match, pretty much by default. Punk is going to be a huge face by fan response alone so turning him wouldn’t be a problem at all. This was the great match you would expect from these two on this stage.

Here’s the other MITB match from Wrestlemania XXV.

MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Christian vs. Kofi Kingston vs. CM Punk vs. Finlay vs. Mark Henry vs. Kane

MITB here. Henry has Tony Atlas with him, MVP is the face US Champion and Kofi is still Jamaican. BIG pop for Christian here. It’s a big brawl to start as the fans are solidly behind Christian here. Christian and Shelton run over Henry with the big ladder but Kofi jumps over it and takes both guys down. There’s a Boom Drop onto the ladder onto both guys. The ladder is set up in the ring but here’s Kane to beat everyone up.

Henry and Kane go up the ladder but everyone bands together to pull them down. The monsters are both sent to the floor and a second regular sized ladder is set up. A bunch of people go up but Kane and Henry shove everyone down. Kane kicks Henry down and loads up the big ladder again. Henry breaks up that attempt but opts to throw the ladder at Finlay instead of climbing.

Finlay dives through the ropes at Kane and Shelton so Christian can dive onto Finlay and Kane to take them out. MVP dives on all three of them and Kofi and Punk hit stereo suicide dives to take out all four guys. Shelton climbs onto the huge ladder and DIVES onto all five guys, looking like he landed on his head at first look. Now HENRY goes up top but Finlay breaks it up to prevent an earthquake.

Horny slides in his own ladder to climb onto Henry’s back and dive onto all six guys on the floor. Finlay is the only guy standing and throws in a big ladder, but he had to fight Kofi. Kofi dives THROUGH the ladder and drops it onto Finlay for good measure. Finlay drops him with the Horny ladder and does the same to Christian and Kane. The Irishman tries to go up but Kofi kicks him down.

Kingston tries for a climb but Henry is back again and shoves down the ladder. In an AWESOME spot, Henry holds the ladder to set it in place and Kofi runs up, only to be dropped down and hit with a World’s Strongest Slam onto the ladder. MVP slides a ladder into the standing one to make a kind of platform. Shelton slides under the ladder and kicks MVP in the ribs. MVP comes back with a kind of powerbomb on Benjamin but Punk stops the climb.

Now it’s Christian and Punk with Punk on the ladder and Christian on the platform. Now they’re both on the same side of the ladder and Christian hits the Killswitch off the ladder. By hits I mean Christian drops him in midair and Punk’s head never came within three feet of the mat but you do what you can I guess. MVP climbs up but Shelton climbs a ladder on the floor to get to the platform to get to the ladder for a sunset bomb to MVP. By sunset bomb, I mean he doesn’t get MVP over and basically pulls MVP’s face down the ladder. That’s two big blown spots in a row.

MVP is up first and pounds on Shelton before being powerbombed over the top rope and down onto a few guys. His head looked to smack against the barricade in a scary spot. Shelton and Finlay are on the ladder now and Finlay is knocked onto the ladder platform. Christian takes Shelton down and pounds away until Shelton takes the platform apart.

Shelton and Christian are both standing on two ladders but Christian shoves Shelton to the floor. Punk however springboards onto the ladders but gets caught upside down in a ladder, which is what Punk did to Christian to win last year. Kane stops Christian and chokeshoves him down to the mat. Punk pops up and kicks Kane down to win his second straight MITB.

Rating: B-. The blown spots REALLY bring this down because they were some terribly blown spots. Punk winning is fine as it was eventually the catalyst for his heel turn but that wouldn’t be for about six months. The match was good and having some fresh blood with Kofi out there helped, but the match overall was a letdown compared to other years, as the problem becomes “how do you top the other stuff?”. Still good though.

Here’s the required ROH match, from Joe vs. Punk II.

ROH World Title: Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk

Punk is blonde here. The fans are split as Joe is the most popular guy in the company but it’s Punk’s hometown. They shake hands and here we go. It’s weird to see Joe using power moves. The idea is that Joe proved he could go long distances and now Punk needs another idea to fight Joe. Feeling out process to start with not much of note going on so far. They go into the corner and Joe breaks clean to tick off the crowd.

Joe hooks a hammerlock and into an armbar. Punk takes him to the corner and it’s another clean break, almost shocking everyone. Punk cartwheels out of a wristlock and Joe is like boy please and takes him down into a camel clutch. Man and he cranks on that thing. He’s channeling his inner humbler. Punk rolls out into a headlock which he used a lot in the first match. They have a ton of time to work with here so this is fine.

In a nice looking move, Joe has Punk in a Pedigree position but they’re on the mat and it’s a submission hold. I like the plug from the commentator as he talks about the shopping site where there are DVDs and all that jazz. That’s all normal and fine but at the end of it he says “Ok we got that out of the way. It’s important but I want to get back to the match.” I don’t know why but I found that really refreshing.

This has been almost all on the mat or in a technical style and I’m digging it. Punk has used a bunch of headlocks here but the idea is he used that in the first match to wear Joe down and had success with it. That’s some higher level psychology and the announcers did their part by explaining it in like two sentences. See it’s not hard. Even a belly to back suplex can’t get the hold broken.

They exchange shoulder blocks and Punk is getting fired up. We hit the strikes and Punk speeds things WAY up, grabbing a rollup and Joe bails for a bit which stuns the announcers. Back to the mat game and man are they fast down there. After Punk chills for a bit on the floor he tries a test of strength because….uh…..why would you try that against Joe? They fire off chops in the corner and while it’s not exactly Flair vs. Steamboat it’s not bad.

They go to the corner now and Punk walks the ropes to start in on the arm. Joe’s arm gets worked on for a long while and now it’s back to the headlock. This has been going on about half an hour now and it’s pretty solid stuff, almost like a chess match. Out to the floor and of course Punk is in over his head out there. Joe is a big power brawler to go with his submission stuff here so he was really more like Benoit actually.

Over to the corner and Joe fires off some face washes but Punk avoids the running boot. Now Punk washes Joe’s face in the other corner. Nice little touch there. Foley is watching from the crowd. Thankfully they don’t cut to him and miss part of the match. A driving knee from the top (knee on the back of Joe’s head and Punk drove him down) gets two. Joe grabs a very modified STF out of nowhere and DANG. They were up on their knees but then Joe bent him back so that Punk was laying on his back but his legs were underneath him. FREAKING OW MAN!!!

Punk goes up but Joe just walks away like only he does. I love that realism thing. Delayed vertical suplex (about twenty seconds) gets two for Joe. Punk goes for the arm but Joe cuts the knees out and hooks a Boston Crab. Joe fires off a bunch of kicks to the head but Punk fires off some forearms. Joe is like whatever and pops him in the face for two. This time Joe gets the Facewashes and the running boot.

Punk finally gets a boot up in the corner and then a rana to the floor. A suicide dive puts both guys down and Punk gets control back. Punk, ever the jerk, hits Joe’s Ole Kick on the floor. He tries another rana off the apron but Joe catches him in a powerbomb position and spins Punk around into the barricade. Now Joe fires off the Ole but Punk blocks. They slug it out on the floor and this time the Ole hits.

After a quick skirmish in the ring they go back to the floor…..and the announcers walk off. They say they want to watch it as fans and say the match speaks for itself. Joe gets a DDT onto the apron and I’m assuming the fanboy announcers are pleased with that. Were they paying them by the hour and run out of money or something? Back in and a spear gets a very fast two.

We’re at 45 minutes. A top rope splash misses for the fat man and they do the slugging it out from their knees spot. A snap powerslam gets two for Joe and it’s off to a cross armbreaker. Punk just can’t get away from that, even today. A big boot gets two for Punk. There’s someone at ringside but since the announcers ran out for guacamole and gram crackers, we’re on our own as to who he is.

Punk gets a tornado DDT and the Anaconda Vice which he lets go for no apparent reason. Joe takes over with a clothesline and follows it up with a pair of busters (gut and brain) for two each. Joe does his powerbomb into a crab into the STF into the crossface sequence. Sunset flip gets two for Punk as does a kick to the head. They do the whole exchange submission finishers and Punk winds up putting the Clutch on Joe.

That gets him nowhere and a double clothesline puts them both down. Two Pepsi Plunges are blocked into a superplex by Joe for a delayed two. Joe sets for the MuscleBuster but Punk goes insane pounding on Joe’s back to break it up. Another Plunge is attempted but Joe counters into the MuscleBuster….and that’s the time limit as Punk is out cold. Uh…shouldn’t the match end with Joe out cold and Punk needing 5 more seconds to win the title?

Rating: B. It’s good, but the feeling I got here was “we have to have a classic”, not “this was a classic”. The first 15 minutes of this were all about the headlock and wearing Joe down and all that jazz, but it never went anywhere after that. The last half an hour or so didn’t really have much drama for my taste.

The problem was they were going for regular moves instead of trying to finish. The problem with that is that you have Joe and Punk who have already gone an hour before and you know that’s not going to finish either guy. This was reminiscent of Hart vs. Michaels, where a lot could have been condensed and the match would have improved a lot. It’s still good, but it’s not the epic classic that it’s supposed to be.

We’re going to go to Louisville for a big match in one of my favorite feuds. Punk had signed with WWE and was sent to OVW. The top man there was Brent Albright, who is a Chris Benoit style serious wrestler. They feuded for months and traded almost every title in the promotion. Here’s one of their big matches from OVW TV on November 16, 2005.

TV Title: Brent Albright vs. CM Punk

This is right after Eddie Guerrero’s death so we get a ten bell salute before the match. Punk has only been champion for a week at this point. This would be near the start of the feud as Albright had beaten Punk a few times but Punk stole the title that Brent had been chasing for months, using Brent’s own hold for the win. Feeling out process to start with Albright going after Punk’s arm, likely setting up for his crowbar submission hold.

A quick legsweep gets two for Brent and they hit the mat with the challenger grabbing a front facelock. Punk gets caught in a headlock to slow things down and he can’t suplex his way out of it. He finally fights up and tries a rollup but has to fight out of a Sharpshooter attempt. Another headlock has Punk on the mat and we take a break. Back with Brent putting on another headlock but Punk fights up much faster this time. He wins a slap off and gets two off an enziguri.

There’s a Facewash in the corner to Brent’s bad eye for two and now it’s Punk putting on a chinlock. A dropkick to the back of Albright’s head gets two and Punk grabs a kind of crossface. Brent fights up so Punk grabs a belly to back suplex followed by an Eddie Guerrero slingshot hilo. The champion chokes while arguing with the referee before rolling Brent over into a freaky looking hold where his legs are holding Brent’s arms down like a sunset flip but he leans Albright forward and cranks on his neck at the same time.

We take another break while the hold is on and come back with Punk getting a pair of near falls. Punk hooks Three Amigos but his Frog Splash hits knees. Albright comes back with a series of clotheslines and a backdrop. A high collar suplex gets two and Punk charges into an overhead belly to belly suplex in the corner. Somehow it’s only good for two with commentator Al Snow sounding shocked. Brent’s Swan Dive connects but he can’t cover due to smashing his head. He settles for a delayed two but walks into a Crowbar from Punk.

Brent counters into one of his own but Punk rolls through into a side choke called the Anaconda Vice. Albright makes the ropes and rolls some Germans but Punk makes the ropes as well. They head outside where Brent suplexes Punk on the floor but former TV Champion Ken Doane comes out and nails Albright with a chair. Punk didn’t see it and asks what happened before throwing Brent back in and slapping on the Vice for the win.

Rating: B. The ending was storyline advancement and set up some really good stuff down the line. These two work really well together and both guys beat the tar out of each other. Punk throwing in some tributes to Guerrero was a nice touch and made the match feel special. This was really good stuff and the next step of an awesome feud.

After the whole Summer of Punk was screwed up, Punk got another title shot at Survivor Series 2011.

Raw World Title: CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio

Alberto is defending. Del Rio has Ricardo Rodriguez introduce him, so CM Punk brings out his own ring announcer: HOWARD FREAKING FINKEL! Round one goes to Punk. Howard waddles out and seems genuinely choked up by the reaction he gets. The fans want ice cream which is a thing he said he wanted in his own image. Feeling out process to start as Punk does his headlock so he can call spots to Del Rio.

Now the fans chant for Colt Cabana. Man these guys just won’t stop. Punk cranks on the arm a bit and Alberto hides on the floor. Back in and Punk knees him down in the corner and hits a dropkick to send the champ back to the floor. There’s the suicide dive from Punk and it’s back in to work on the arm. Alberto sends him into the ropes where Ricardo gets in a shot, allowing Del Rio to take over.

Alberto comes in off the top with an elbow to the head for two and it’s off to the arm for the champion. Both guys have arm finishers which isn’t something you often see. Punk fights out of the hold but can’t hook the GTS as Del Rio hooks a DDT on the arm. The champ drops knees on the arm and we hit about the 8th armbar of the match. Punk breaks that one as well but charges into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two.

CM ducks a charge to send Alberto to the floor and things slow down again. Back in and Punk makes a comeback with a lot of strikes to the head and a neckbreaker for two. The knee in the corner and bulldog get the same but Alberto counters the GTS into a Backstabber for two. A running enziguri in the corner gets a VERY close two on Punk and now it’s Alberto that’s frustrated.

Del Rio loads up a superplex in the corner but Punk knocks him off and loads up the Macho Elbow but gets crotched. Alberto gets in a hard kick to the arm but misses a charge into the post while Punk is still on top. Now the Macho Elbow hits to a big pop but it only gets two. The crowd is really getting into these kickouts now. Punk shouts for the GTS but Alberto counters it for the third time. The armbreaker is escaped but Punk’s high kick misses as well and there’s the armbreaker on full.

After getting as close to tapping as a face is going to, Punk gets his feet in the ropes. Del Rio escapes the GTS for the fourth time because the arm isn’t there. Punk kicks Ricardo in the face and gets rolled up with trunks for two. The high kick gets two for CM so he immediately puts on the Vice and wins Del Rio is in big trouble. He grabs at Punk’s face (realistic, nice) but has to tap and Punk wins the title.

Rating: A. I don’t remember liking this as well the first time but this was a really good match. Del Rio seemed like a real threat to keep the title here as Punk’s arm just wasn’t going to be able to do hit the GTS. The Vice is a little more realistic and I can live with him being able to do that so even the ending is ok. This was a very solid match, but the problem with the story overall is the title changes happening so rapidly.

In short, Del Rio getting two title reigns and Cena getting one out of all this didn’t need to happen. Punk could have won at Summerslam, beaten Del Rio cashing in here, and things would have been much stronger. But hey, that would mean MITB would be interesting instead of there for a shock value and we can’t have that.

Finkel does the “and NEEEEEEEEEEEEEW” WWE Champion call. Punk is the new WWE Champion having won it in the middle of Madison Square Garden and The Fink got to tell the people about it. Is there a cooler moment in wrestling? No, there isn’t.

Here’s Punk’s alleged Wrestlemania main event from Wrestlemania XXVIII.

Raw World Title: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk

This is over who is the best in the world and Jericho claims that Punk is really an alcoholic and his family has a bunch of substance abuse issues. The buildup for this really was good stuff, even though this is nowhere near the main event. Punk takes it to the mat to start and fires off some kicks to the chest. He does the same with knees in the corner but stops when the referee gets to four. Jericho slaps him in the face and takes the beating like a man to try to get the DQ again.

Another few slaps have Punk in a frenzy but he holds off to avoid the DQ. A slam puts Jericho down but he rolls away before the Macho Elbow can be launched. Instead CM dives to the floor to take out Jericho, followed by a wicked smile. Jericho asks how Punk’s sister and father are but Punk doesn’t swing the chair he grabs. Punk charges into a pair of boots to the face and the challenger takes over.

They head to the apron and Punk tries a GTS, only to be clotheslined back into the ring. Jericho hooks a kind of Jackhammer to the floor for two back inside. We hit the chinlock but Punk fights up with a slap. Jericho comes right back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two and kicks the injured back again. Some hard kicks to the torso keep Punk in trouble but he fires off some strikes of his own. The champion goes up but is pulled back down to land hard on his back.

Punk escapes a bow and arrow hold and sidesteps a charge to send Jericho crotch first into the corner. A spinning neckbreaker gets two on Chris and there’s the running knee in the corner. Jericho counters the bulldog but has to stop the Lionsault to avoid knees. That counter is countered into a Walls attempt but Punk shakes him off for two. The Macho Elbow hits knees and Jericho hits the Codebreaker but it sends Punk out to the floor. Back in and Punk grabs a GTS out of nowhere for two.

Punk fires off the kicks and gets two off a quick powerslam. They trade German suplex grips but Punk gets dropped on the top rope to give Jericho control. The Lionsault gets two and Chris goes up, only to be chopped a lot to slow him down. The champion loads up a hurricanrana but gets countered into the Walls in one of Jericho’s classic counters. Punk finally makes the ropes and sends Jericho to the floor to set up the suicide dive.

Jericho staggers to his feet and Punk hits the running knee, crushing Jericho’s head against the post. They head back in and somehow Jericho grabs the Codebreaker out of nowhere for two. Back up and Jericho pounds away on Punk in the corner, only to go up again and get kicked down. The GTS is countered into the Liontamer (the kneeling version of the Walls) in the middle of the ring but shifts it to the regular Walls.

Jericho has to pull him away from the ropes and Punk escapes into dueling small packages. CM rolls through again into the Anaconda Vice but Jericho knees Punk in the back of the head to escape. The Walls don’t work again and Punk hooks another Vice, this time tucking his head in to avoid the knees. Jericho is trapped and finally gives up.

Rating: A. Great match here with both guys destroying each other and countering everything both guys had. I love the ending with Punk getting smarter as he kept going in a good display of psychology. Thankfully the DQ bit didn’t go anywhere which makes it pretty stupid. Excellent match here though which would have been a great main event for any other show of the year.

Punk vs. Daniel Bryan for nearly half an hour at Money in the Bank 2012.

Raw World Title: Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk

This is now No DQ, Punk is defending and AJ is guest referee. Punk takes him to the mat and fires off some quick kicks. They head outside and Bryan gets rammed into the apron, only for Punk to get rammed into the barricade and kicked in the chest. Back in and Bryan fires off the YES kicks but gets rolled up for two. Bryan pounds away in the corner and they chop it out. That evolves into a strike off and the champion takes over.

A backbreaker looks to set up a middle rope legdrop but Bryan moves, followed by more YES kicks. They head to the floor again and Punk takes over, sending Bryan into the barricade again. Punk accidentally elbows AJ in the face, sending her out to the floor. The champ goes to check on her and Bryan uses the distraction to hit the running knee off the apron to take Punk down.

Punk gets draped over the steps on the floor and Bryan fires off more kicks. Punk comes back and sends Bryan into the timekeeper’s table. This is a back and forth match the entire time so far. The fans want tables because they’re greedy people. Punk pulls one out from under the ring but Bryan slams him down on the outside. Bryan finds a kendo stick and pounds away on the ribs of the champion. Punk rolls away and gets back inside while Bryan is still on the floor.

Back in and Punk gets the stick for a second, only for Bryan to go back to the ribs. Punk loads up a springboard but Bryan hits Punk in the ribs with the stick to take him down. Bryan fires away with stick shots to the ribs, complete with YES shouts. Those shots get two with the regular referee having taken over inside. Daniel goes up but the swan dive misses, putting both guys down.

They trade kicks and then forearms but it’s a leg lariat from Punk that takes Bryan down. Punk comes back with a running knee to the head and the snap powerslam for two. GTS and YES Lock are both countered and another GTS attempt is countered into a rana for two. Bryan kicks the champ’s head off and both guys are down. Bryan pops him in the back with a kendo stick and puts on a surfboard.

Punk manages to get to the kendo stick and beats the fire out of Bryan with it but can only get two. Punk goes up top but Bryan drills him with forearms to the head. Bryan pops up top and hits a superplex to put both guys down again. AJ is back and she sends the regular referee out to the floor. It’s time to skip! AJ pulls out a chair and Bryan crawls to her for it. Instead AJ throws the chair in the middle of the ring and it’s a scramble for it. Isn’t that how the XFL started its games?

Bryan gets in a kick to the ribs and pounds away on Punk with the chair for a close two. Bryan tries to talk to AJ calmly but it gets him rolled up for two by the champ. Daniel fires off more kicks to the chest of Punk and Punk can barely sit up in the corner. Bryan gets a running start but Punk comes out with a clothesline. Now Punk has the chair and blasts Bryan with it before wedging it between the top and middle ropes.

Punk goes to get Bryan to ram him into the chair, but AJ is standing in front of the chair. As Punk yells at her, Bryan comes up from behind and dropkicks Punk into the corner but not necessarily into the chair. Bryan goes to get the kendo stick but AJ is standing on it. She gives him a psycho stare and Bryan gives up. He walks into the high kick though and Punk slams Bryan onto the chair. The top rope elbow misses and the elbow hits the chair. Bryan throws on the YES Lock and grabs the stick at the same time to choke away.

Punk somehow bends back and blasts Bryan in the knee with the stick, followed by a GTS, but the champion can’t follow up. The GTS eventually gets two so Punk brings in a table. Punk loads up the elbow through the table but Bryan crotches Punk and hammers away. Punk slips down off the ropes and crotches Bryan at the same time. He pounds away with elbows and a belly to back superplex through the table FINALLY pins Bryan to retain the title.

Rating: A. This was GREAT at the end as I was hanging on every count of every near fall. That was a great match all the way through, but were you expecting anything else with these two having nearly half an hour? The major problem here though is the lack of AJ involvement. She basically did nothing other than blocking a weapon shot either way, and the ending was about the wrestling instead of her. That’s fine on paper, but we’ve spent two months building her up as the key to this whole thing. Still though, the match was more than enough to make up for that.

Do you want to know how awesome Punk is? Well you know the Shield? At TLC 2013, Punk did this.

CM Punk vs. Shield

Ambrose starts things up for Shield and feels Punk out a little bit. Punk wisely runs instead of being dragged into the Shield corner and shouts that he’s beaten Dean twice already so give someone else a shot. It’s off to Rollins so Punk bails to the floor to play some head games. Rollins chases him back into the ring and gets caught by some shoulders in the corner followed by three straight neckbreakers for two.

Seth fights up and brings in Reigns to throw Punk into the Shield corner. Rollins and Reigns make a wish on Punk’s legs before Seth hits a neckbreaker of his own. Back to Ambrose for some rib stomps before it’s off to Reigns for a hard clothesline. Shield is taking their time here instead of their usual fast tagging. Punk is thrown to the floor but still has enough in him to avoid Reigns’ spear over the announce table. Roman looks to have injured his eye when he went over the table.

Reigns is dazed but makes it back inside where Punk goes after his eyes. He rakes and punches away at it but Roman sends him outside again to get a breather. It’s off to Rollins as a doctor looks at Roman’s eye. A knee to Punk’s head is good for two but he shoves Rollins into Ambrose, knocking Dean to the floor. The high kick gets two on Seth and Punk speeds things up with ax handles to the face.

A great looking running knee in the corner sets up a high cross body for two and the Anaconda Vice is on. Ambrose makes a diving save and comes in off the tag. Dean loads up a superplex but gets headbutted down, setting up the Macho Elbow. The cover is delayed as Punk had to take out Rollins and Dean kicks out at two. Rollins charges in but gets caught in the GTS. Punk goes after Ambrose, only to sidestep a charging Reigns who spears Ambrose down by mistake. Punk sends him to the floor and gets the upset pin on Ambrose at 13:10.

Rating: C+. To clarify, Punk just beat the unbeatable Shield by pin with no outside interference. Let me guess: this is great, whereas if say Cena did this, it would be him playing Superman again. The match was fine but more storytelling than anything else. It should be interesting to see where Punk goes now, as he’s due for a return to the title picture after some time away.

Still not convinced? Punk did this at Breaking Point.

Smackdown World Title: Undertaker vs. CM Punk

Taker has never surrendered so there we are. Naturally it takes forever to start because it’s an Undertaker match. And of course Punk is getting his head kicked in. Did you expect anything else? This goes on for awhile until some chair shots get us back to something resembling even.

They trade strikes and Punk actually puts him down with a solid kick to the head. And there’s the Hell’s Gate for the tap out. Yeah, in the most predictable ending you could ask for, Taker gets the title back to end the show. Screw you WWE.

OR DOES HE???

Teddy Long comes out to say that the Hell’s Gate is still an illegal move and the match is still going, even though it’s a No DQ match so that rule means dick but why should I pay attention to something stupid like that?

Anyway, Taker just beats the holy tar out of him and then we get the part of the match that I still shake my head at: Punk counters the Last Ride and hooks an Anaconda Vice and, say it with me, Taker doesn’t tap but the bell rings anyway. Punk stands next to the stoic Long to end the show. Care for an explanation? So would I. It never really came, so whatever right?

Rating: D+. This just wasn’t that good. The match was boring and while they did use the surprising ending, it’s still Montreal. I have far more tolerance here than in TNA though, as this isn’t an alternative to WWE or anything like that. Either way, the match sucked and not much was going to save it. Nice twist though.

After being the longest reigning WWE Champion in about twenty years, Punk would defend against Rock at Royal Rumble 2013.

Raw World Title: The Rock vs. CM Punk

Punk of course has Heyman with him. He charges right into the brawl and actually pounds Rock down into the corner. A quick Rock Bottom is countered but Punk is sent outside. Rock follows him outside and sends the champion into the barricade before loading up the announce table. Punk comes back with a shot to the ribs and puts the table back together in a great bit. Back in and Rock scores with more right hands to knock Punk to the floor again.

Punk is whipped into the barricade one more time but he gets a boot up to stop a charging Bull. He finishes fixing the announce table instead of following up on Rock before dropping Rock ribs first on the barricade. They head inside again for a body vice from CM followed by a knee to the ribs for two. Off to a freaky looking hold where Punk pins Rock’s shoulders down but pulls back on his head to crank on the shoulders and back.

More choking follows and a knee to the back has Rock on the apron, followed by a springboard dropkick to send him outside. Punk tries a top rope ax handle to take Rock down but injures his knee in the process. Rock scores with some kicks to the knee but the champion easily sends him out to the floor to stop the comeback. Back in and Punk misses the springboard clothesline and reinjures the knee, giving Rock his opening.

A DDT gets one on Punk but he fights out of the Rock Bottom. The GTS is countered into a Sharpshooter attempt but Punk counters into the Anaconda Vice in a nice sequence. Rock rolls over into a cradle, forcing Punk to let go of the hold. Back up and tries the Rock Bottom but Punk counters into a rollup for two, only to be countered into a low seated Sharpshooter. Punk is next to the rope so naturally he takes thirty seconds to get the break.

Rock takes him to the floor and loads up the announce table again. They fight on top but Rock counters a GTS attempt into what was supposed to be a Rock Bottom but was really more like the table collapsing with Rock’s arm around Punk’s chest. Rock comes up holding his knee and both guys make it back in at an eight count. Punk scores with a high kick but both guys are down.

Back up and Rock wins a slugout before scoring with the spinebuster. He loads up the People’s Elbow and there go the lights. Cole can see Shield pulling Rock to the floor and powerbombing him through the table. The lights come back up and Rock is laid out as the referee has no idea what’s going on. The announcers try to tell Mike Chioda what happened and Punk feigns innocence.

He throws Rock back in for the pin and celebrates but here’s Vince to say Punk is stripped of the title for the interference. Rock says no and to restart the match. The bell rings again and Punk stomps away as JBL threatens to put Cole through a table for playing cheerleader. The Macho Elbow gets two but the GTS is countered into a spinebuster, setting up the People’s Elbow to end Punk’s reign.

Rating: B. It’s another good match but it felt like they were dancing around for twenty three minutes before we got to the obvious ending. The Shield stuff was a decent fake out but it really didn’t need to be there. Rock winning was obvious though and that really put a ceiling on how high this was going to get.

More Punk vs. Bryan from Over the Limit 2012.

Raw World Title: Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk

Cole again plugs WWE.com which has an article about their history. You know, because Cole can’t TELL US THOSE THINGS. Feeling out process to start and Punk takes him into the corner and kicks at the leg. The fans seem totally split. A quick headlock goes nowhere so Punk works on the knee some more. Modified Indian Deathlock goes on from the champ but Bryan gets on top of him and fires off forearms.

Punk weathers that and hits a curb stomp of all things for two. He sends Bryan to the floor but Bryan is ready for him and sends Punk back first into the barricade. The bad ribs are draped over the barricade and Bryan takes over. Back in a top rope missile dropkick (with knee selling) gets two. Bryan hooks a seated abdominal stretch with some elbows to the ribs. Knee drop gets one.

Punk tries a Figure Four out of nowhere (complete with WOO chants. We’re in North Carolina remember) but Bryan rolls him up for two. There’s a surfboard (complete with YES each time he rocks back) which is always cool to me. Bryan keeps Punk’s legs in the air and bends his face down into a dragon sleeper at the same time. FREAKING OW MAN! Off to a regular dragon sleeper but Punk comes back with forearms of his own. That’s some nice storytelling as they’ve mirrored each other completely, even down to the counter into mounted forearms, for the first ten minutes.

Bryan hits a hard running knee drop to the back to keep Punk down. Another misses and Punk gets a Perfectplex for two. Bryan suplexes him down and hits a swan dive headbutt for two. Off to a chinlock with a knee in the back of the champ. Punk gets up and they both hit cross bodies to put both guys down. Back up and Punk fires off forearms and hits the neckbreaker.

Punk tries the corner clothesline but gets kicked in the face. Powerslam gets two for the champ. Bryan escapes a suplex but Punk backdrops him to the floor. Suicide dive takes Daniel down but he hits a dropkick to counter the springboard clothesline for two. Bryan fires off the kicks but the last one is caught in a dragon screw leg whip. Figure Four goes on and the fans get fired up again.

With the hold on they slap it out but Punk doesn’t let go of the hold. Bryan makes the rope and Booker shouts that he has til five. Knee crusher is countered into a sunset flip for two. Punk’s rollup gets the same. Bryan tries something with the arm but Punk pulls away. Bryan is cool with that and kicks Punk’s head off for two. They go to the corner and Punk crotches Bryan on the top.

With Bryan sitting on the ropes, Punk hits the springboard clothesline for two. We’re at almost twenty minutes now and they’re showing no signs of ending soon. The fans think this is awesome. I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard that at a WWE show. They trade forearms from their knees and Punk takes over with his strikes. GTS is countered into a rollup for two.

YES Lock is countered into a slingshot to send Bryan to the apron. He skins the cat but walks into a high kick for two. Bryan put his foot on the rope so Punk hooks it for another two. I like that. Macho Elbow hits but the ribs are too hurt to cover. A Randy Savage chant starts up as Punk gets two. Bryan goes off, firing knees into the ribs. He charges but the running dropkick misses.

Running knee hits but the bulldog is countered into the YES Lock in the middle of the ring. Bryan pulls too hard and Punk falls on top for the pin at 24:04. He was tapping at the same time though so there’s your rematch at No Way Out. I think the pin stands though. Replay shows that the three count was clearly done before Punk tapped and the announcers acknowledged it.

Rating: A. Yep it was great. This whole show has been great but unfortunately these two are going to get blamed when the show tanks because no one wants to see Ace in the ring because no one cares about him. Anyway, the match was great and I have no complaints about it at all. The crowd reaction was great too, which is something you don’t get anymore in WWE so that’s a good sign too.

Here’s what Punk can do against Brock Lesnar. From Summerslam 2013.

Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk

No DQ. Punk charges right at him but gets driven into the corner. Forearms to Brock’s head have no effect and he drives shoulders into the ribs. Punk tries some knees to the ribs but Brock literally tosses him across the ring. Brock stomps him down in the corner but Punk comes back with a hard knee to the jaw and a second one to send him out to the floor. A big suicide dive has the Beast down and Heyman is starting to freak out.

Punk gets some steps but Brock just rams them back into his face to take over again. He throws Punk onto his should but gets posted instead, allowing Punk to dive off the apron to drop Brock again. A clothesline off the announcers’ table nails Lesnar but Punk makes the mistake of going after Heyman, allowing Brock to blindside him. Brock picks him up again and LAUNCHES him over the announcers’ table. Then he throws him over the other table and stomps on the top of the table on top of Punk.

Back in and Punk goes after the legs but Brock just levels him with a clothesline. We hit the bearhug until Punk scores with forearms, only to take a hard knee to the ribs. It’s almost total dominace by Brock so far. Back to the bearhug but Punk elbows out of it again. Some kicks to the chest have Brock in trouble but he counters a high cross body into a fall away slam.

We hit the chinlock but Punk bites his ear to escape. More kicks have Brock in trouble and a top rope knee sends him sprawling across the ring. There’s a pair of running knees in the corner but Brock counters the third one into the F5. Punk escapes again and nails a high kick followed by the Macho Elbow (more like a splash) for a VERY close two. The fans are totally into this.

The GTS is countered into another F5 attempt but Punk escapes and nails another high kick. He tries the GTS again but gets caught in the Kimura. Somehow he counters that into a cross armbreaker but Brock rolls over into a choke. Punk counters THAT into a triangle choke, only to have Brock lift him for a powerbomb. That doesn’t break the hold either and it’s back to the triangle, but Brock lifts him into another powerbomb, this time with a running start. AMAZING sequence there and the fans give it the THIS IS AWESOME chant that it deserves.

Brock busts out Three Amigos of all things for two. Punk is half dead in the ring so Brock heads outside and gets a chair. He takes too long though and Punk dives onto the chair, driving it into Lesnar in a huge crash. Now it’s Punk wearing out Brock with the chair as they head back inside. Brock takes the chair away, only to get hit low before he can destroy Punk. Punk nails the Cactus Jack chair drop from the top for two as Heyman is pacing back and forth.

Punk just starts beating Brock with the chair but Heyman gets on the apron for a distraction. Lesnar lifts him for the F5 but Punk grabs Heyman for the block. He slips off Lesnar’s back and hits the GTS for a white hot near fall with Heyman making the save. After a quick chase, Punk charges into the F5 but counters AGAIN into a DDT for another two.

There’s the Anaconda Vice and Lesnar is in trouble, drawing Heyman in with the chair….but Punk gets up and steps on it. There’s a right hand for Heyman and a Vice of his own, but Punk is wide open for a chair shot from Lesnar. A bunch more chair shots sets up an F5 on the chair to give Brock the pin on Punk’s dead body at 29:07.

Rating: A+. I said this was Match of the Year last year and a second viewing affirms that view. This was AMAZING with some great David vs. Goliath stuff, a white hot counter sequence, and then two guys just beating the tar out of each other for ten minutes to end the match. Heyman making the save made sense, but it makes Punk look like the superhero that everyone thought he was. Totally awesome match here and Lesnar looks like the monster that he’s supposed to.

Oh and one more thing: SCREW YOU HHH FOR WASTING BROCK FOR A YEAR FOR YOUR STUPID EGO. Seriously, a year of this lost for that “trilogy” nonsense with HHH winning the big match on the biggest stage before letting Brock get his win back in a totally forgotten cage match. Lucky us.

We’ll wrap it up with a Cena double shot. From Raw, February 25, 2013.

John Cena vs. CM Punk

The winner gets the shot at Rock at Wrestlemania. They have a ton of time left too. After some big match intros we’re ready to go. The fans are of course split on Cena as we get some chain wrestling to start. Punk gets in the ropes to break up a headlock before putting on one of his own. A hip toss puts Punk on the floor and we take a break. Back with Punk getting backdropped but popping back up with a clothesline to take control again. A neckbreaker gets two on cena and it’s off to a neck vice.

Cena powers out of it and slams Punk to the mat before hooking a front facelock to slow things down. Off to a headlock instead but Punk shoves him off and hits a leg lariat for two. Off to a CM chinlock now but Cena fights back up. He hits a shoulder block but Punk ducks an attempt at a second. The suicide dive takes out Cena on the floor and we take another break.

Back with Cena escaping an abdominal stretch and hitting the shoulders again. There’s the ProtoBomb but Punk counters into the Anaconda Vice. Cena rolls over into a cover for two but Punk hits a swinging neckbreaker for two more. Sweet sequence there. Cena picks the leg for the STF but Punk makes the rope.

The springboard clothesline gets two more on Cena but Punk loads up a second, only for Cena to step to the side and hook the STF. Punk slips out and puts the Vice on again but Cena counters into a Crossface (called the STF by that lunkhead Cole). Punk rolls backwards into a small package for two and both guys are down again. They slug it out and Cena is getting madder on each punch he throws.

Punk kicks him in the ribs but the high kick misses. There’s the ProtoBomb but Punk kicks him in the head to escape the Shuffle. The GTS is countered into a sunset flip attempt but Punk sits on Cena for two. The bulldog by Punk is countered and there’s the Shuffle. AA is countered as is the GTS but Cena hits a Batista Bomb for two. The place is losing their minds on these kickouts. John goes up top but Punk gets up before Cena can try anything.

Cena blocks whatever Punk is trying and knocks him down, setting up the top rope Fameasser for two. Cena can barely follow up though and the high kick puts in the corner. Punk hits a WICKED running knee in the corner but Cena IMMEDIATELY hits the AA for two. Punk rolls to the floor and Cena has no idea what else he can do here. Cena goes out after him but gets sent HARD into the post. He isn’t moving an inch at nine but is somehow in by ten.

Back in and the GTS gets two and now Punk is ticked off. Another GTS is countered into an STF attempt and even with Punk trying to fight off the hold, Cena locks it in. Punk raises his hand to tap but SOMEHOW gets to the ropes. He kicks Cena in the knee and busts out a piledriver for a VERY close two and we get multiple frustrated covers. Punk goes up top and the Macho Elbow misses, allowing Cena to hit a FREAKING HURRICANRANA and the AA for the pin at 26:32.

Rating: A+. WOW. This doesn’t happen often but I was sitting there watching this match with my jaw hanging open. Those near falls were as good as I have seen this side of Austin vs. Rock at Wrestlemania and I had no idea what they were going to do until the ending. This was a PPV main event for free on Raw and was one of the best TV matches I have ever seen. Absolutely amazing and to people who say “well it wasn’t THAT good”, you’re wrong. Period.

Is there anything else we can wrap it up with? From Money in the Bank 2011.

CM Punk vs. John Cena

Punk’s entrance is a sight to see as the fans EXPLODE as he comes into the arena. Cole talks about how Punk hasn’t signed a new contract and therefore tonight at midnight, he’s done with WWE. The booing for Cena’s entrance borders on hatred as the fans can’t stand the sight of him. It isn’t quite as bad as One Night Stand 2006 but it’s still very intense. Cole lists off a brief history of the WWE Championship. That’s a man after my own typing.

The fans are immediately all over Cena with a YOU CAN’T WRESTLE chant. Cena controls with a quick headlock but has to duck a quick high kick from Punk. The chant continues and Punk makes sure that they’re talking about Cena. Punk tries his Anaconda Vice submission finisher but Cena counters into an armbar. Back up and Punk hits a quick hiptoss and dropkick before grabbing a headlock on the mat.

Back up and the AA and Punk’s GTS (fireman’s carry into a knee to the face) are both quickly escaped. Cena’s bulldog gets one and it’s off to a front facelock by the champion. Back up and a hard clothesline puts Punk down again and it’s off to a chinlock. We get the dueling “let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chants with the anti-Cena fans having far deeper voices. A release fisherman’s suplex gets two for John but Punk escapes the AA and hits a DDT for two.

Off to a figure four necklock by the challenger for a few moments before he sends Cena to the outside for a knee to the back of the neck. Back in and Punk charges into the corner but goes shoulder first into the post. Punk doesn’t seem to be fazed by it and hooks a chinlock but now there are audible pro-Cena chants. Punk comes back with a cross body for two but more importantly, Cena may have hurt his knee. Cena goes to the apron and is able to sucker Punk in for a suplex to the floor.

Back in and a sitout powerslam gets two for the champion but Punk comes back with some right hands. Cena goes old school with an abdominal stretch for a few moments until Punk hiptosses his way out of it. Both guys are down but as they get back up, Cena tries his finishing sequence and despite a quick comeback attempt, Cena hits the ProtoBomb, only to be kicked in the head by Punk. A knee in the back sends Cena to the floor and there’s a suicide dive (and a high five to Punk’s longtime friend and wrestler Colt Cabana).

Back in and Punk misses his top rope elbow which allows Cena to load up the AA. Punk lands on his feet anyway though and kicks Cena down for two. The GTS is countered into a gutwrench suplex for two for the champion. A few knees to the face hit Cena when he’s against the ropes and Punk’s bulldog takes Cena down. Punk hits a springboard clothesline for a close two and CM fires off some kicks. A big one misses though and it’s the STF from Cena. Punk FINALLY makes the rope and gets a near standing ovation for his efforts.

Back up and Punk hits a high kick for two and both guys are down again. Punk tries a top rope cross body but Cena catches him in mid air and tries the AA. CM counters that into the GTS but Cena counters THAT into the STF in the middle of the ring to put Punk in serious trouble. Punk somehow rolls out of the hold and hooks on the Anaconda Vice. Cena fights up from THAT and hits the AA for a close two. John goes up top and loads up the top rope Fameasser but gets caught in a powerbomb for two.

Punk tries the GTS but Cena grabs the rope to escape. He punches Punk down and hits the Fameasser for a VERY close two. Another AA gets two and Cena gets in the referee’s face. Cena tries an AA off the middle rope but Punk escapes into a top rope hurricanrana to send Cena into the opposite corner. The running knee in the corner sets up the GTS but Cena falls to the floor.

CM tries to throw him back inside but here are Vince and his head crony John Laurinitis. Cena puts on the STF and Vince tells Laurinitis to go and ring the bell. Cena intercepts him, saying that he’s winning this himself. With a harsh glare at Vince, Cena charges back into the ring and walks into the GTS to give Punk the title and send Chicago into euphoria.

Rating: A+. This is one of the best matches of all time with some of the greatest drama you’ll ever see. The question of who would win here went back and forth for over thirty minutes until the perfect ending. Cena was on top of his game here tonight but he couldn’t beat Punk in this city with these stakes on this night. This is an excellent match and the crowd made it all the better.

CM Punk is one of the most popular guys in years and one of the few to break into the top level of the company. His matches with Cena are as good as you can find but he’s shown that he’s capable of having great matches with with so many more people. Some of the stuff he’s done is amazing and the Pipe Bomb promo got a lot of people to watch wrestling again. The guy is great and one of the biggest stars in the last ten years for WWE.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of on the History of ECW Pay Per Views at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

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6 comments

  1. Killjoy says:

    It’s a shame WWE’s self-absorbed mentality got to him and pushed him away.

    Rocko Reply:

    Or he’s a whiny bitch.

    zappa Reply:

    Or he didn’t want to put up with bullshit. Something this company is known for having in abundance.

  2. King says:

    Where do you think he’ll rank in the all time list KB? Above someone like Jericho but below the Michaels and HHH’s?

    King Reply:

    In addition to that, do you think that Cena has had better chemistry than anyone else? Rock? Edge maybe?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Yeah about there, maybe a bit higher. There’s nothing wrong with that either.

    In the ring yeah he’s as good as anyone with Cena. On the mic….eh I like his stuff with Rock better. I still do not get the massive appeal of Edge vs. Cena.