CM Punk is one of the best wrestlers of all time, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had a bad match or two.
In fact, one of his matches is one of the lowest-rated WWE matches by fans, showing just how bad this bout was.
It was also against a man who has had a number of terrible matches, and even was part of the reason why he left the WWE nearly a decade ago.
In this article, we’ll look at the worst match in CM Punk’s career, which is his Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Championship in 2012 against Ryback.
CM Punk’s Worst Match
The worst match in CM Punk’s career is his Hell in a Cell match against Ryback from 2012.
The match took place at Hell in a Cell 2012, and was during the blight of themed-WWE pay per views.
Due to the event being at Hell in a Cell, the bout was forced into the stipulation, despite not warranting it.
CM Punk vs John Cena was cancelled due to injury to Cena, who was replaced by the undefeated Ryback in the WWE Championship match.
There were many issues with the bout, but it was mainly the booking of the match itself.
Ryback did not need to be in the match. He was an undefeated beast, who was getting huge pops from the crowd, and was growing into a top babyface.
This match against CM Punk came way too early for Ryback. He couldn’t afford to lose his streak, as he was not talented enough yet to get over without it.
It was also too early for him to win. Ryback vs CM Punk for the WWE Championship could only end with a Punk victory, as he was set to face The Rock at the Royal Rumble.
WWE were backed into a corner, and to their credit, picked the right winner. CM Punk won the match against Ryback, but it ended up being his worst ever.
The match was fraught with interference from Paul Heyman, who cut off Ryback at every opportunity possible.
Despite that, Ryback seemed to have Punk on the ropes, until referee Brad Maddox hit him with a low blow, before a fast count gave CM Punk the victory to retain his WWE Championship.
The action was pretty bland in this one. Try as he might, CM Punk could not get a heatless match with Ryback over.
The ending was flat, unexpected and generally terrible. The match didn’t need a heel referee turning on Ryback, especially for a capable champion like CM Punk.
This was CM Punk’s worst match of his career (so far).
The match is heavily disliked by CM Punk fans. It is his lowest rated match on Cagematch, being rated 1.94 out of 4.
CM Punk vs Ryback inside Hell in a Cell is also the 85th lowest rated match in WWE history – here are just some of the comments made by fans about the infamous bout.
“What a horrible horrible terrible main event”Dcarter1153
“It is easily my least favorite singles match from my favorite wrestler of all time”youaremycmpunk
“Oh man this was bad, the action was terrible, the ending was terrible, probably the worst match of Punk’s reign”rainmakerpunk
CM Punk would wrestle Ryback (and Paul Heyman) inside Hell in a Cell a year later.
That match was slightly better, but still not very good. WWE did not learn to stop making Punk wrestle Ryback, which was part of the reason he left WWE in 2014.
CM Punk Hates Ryback To This Day
Due to Ryback’s performances in their matches together, CM Punk still holds a grudge over Ryback to this day.
He was injured multiple times by Ryback, and was forced to work with him multiple times, despite The Big Guy cutting his career short.
CM Punk revealed all this about his work with Ryback during his podcast interview on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast.
You can see the transcription below:
“I don’t even know if I want to cover the Ryback stuff that took 20 years off my life. We’re not here to knock anyone, but I was beat up and torn up. Then John Cena got hurt, and they’re like, ‘Oh well, how do you feel about this guy?’ You know, I mean, he’s definitely not ready, but you can carry him if you want.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, okay, great.’ So that took 20 years off my life because, and then I have to wrestle steroid guy, and he’s very callous. I call it like I see it, so he’s very hurtful.”
“Sometimes they bring color, sometimes deliberately dirty. You know, I mean, there was one time he kicked me in the stomach as hard as he could and he broke my ribs right at the tail end. And yeah, I never got an apology for that. He was something else, real system. Can you work Ryback? I said no. And once again, Vince goes, ‘Oh, you won.’ And then I said, ‘That’s three. You’re gonna owe me.’ “
“I said, ‘You know this guy hurt me last time. No, it’s gonna be different.’ Like, you know, he went away for whatever reason. He turned heel. He’s gonna be a Paul Heyman guy. It’s gonna continue the feud with Paul. I was like, ‘Do you not see a problem with going from Brock to Ryback?’ It’s just whatever. But alright, I’ll try to make it work.”
“I was more interested in working with Curtis Axel to try to elevate him because Triple H did such an awesome job at doing it, even though he promised him he was going to. That’s the bitter part of me creeping out, ladies and gentlemen. So, but it’s better than instead of wanting to see young guys who deserved it.”
“I say, ‘Alright, I’ll work Ryback.’ And I go to Ryan and I go, ‘Hey, man, clean slate. Let’s kill this. Let’s show them that you’re better than they think you are. Let’s show them that I’m better than they think I am. And let’s turn this midcard into a main event.’ Yeah, I’m really excited. Great, blah blah blah.”I was more interested in working with Curtis Axel to try to elevate him because Triple H did such an awesome job at doing it, even though he promised him he was going to. “
“First night out, gorilla press through a table. Misses the table, dumps me on the concrete ground, tilts my pelvis, messed me up for weeks. I’m compensating because my knee is still messed up. Both my knees, you know what I mean? The one that had just had surgery six months ago and the one that was torn up. “
” And I refused to have surgery on. I just wanted to rehab it, which I did. And then he’d and like now it’s at the point where I walk up to him and I go, ‘You can’t tell me you didn’t do that on purpose because you’ve done it so many times now. You either tell me right now you’re dumb as **** and you suck, or you did it on purpose.’ And he was like, ‘I’m dumb as ****. I’m sorry.’ And like, at that point, there was nothing I could do in my mind. There’s like, well, great, I’m…”
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.