CM Punk is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, but what is the best CM Punk match of all time?
CM Punk shocked the world when he turned up in AEW at AEW Rampage. The crowd could not stop chanting for their hero, and the tears in their eyes matches the tears in Punks. And how could they not cheer for him.
Some of the best CM Punk matches ever took place when he brought those very fans back to wrestling with his famous Pipebomb. Punk drew fans back from the shadows and into wrestling fandom, making the money Tony Khan paid him back immediately in T-Shirt sales.
Since then, he has become the AEW Champion and once again climbed the top of the wrestling world. His career had been leading up to that moment and he finally proved to the world that is the Best in the World, as if that was ever in doubt.
However, leading up to his coronation in AEW, CM Punk put on some of the best matches of all time. Matches with the likes of John Cena, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker mark some of the best matches of all time and will go down as legendary in the canon of WWE.
Below are the top 5 ranked matches of CM Punk’s career. If you disagree, let us know which of CM Punk’s best matches we missed out and why they should be the top of the list.
CM Punk’s Best Matches
10. CM Punk vs. Chris Hero – Tables and Ladders Match, IWA-Mid South, 2002
During the formative stages of CM Punk’s career, he found his artistic home in the esteemed Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South (IWA Mid-South).
Within this nurturing environment, he embarked upon a remarkable journey, engendering an unforgettable feud with none other than his cherished comrade, Chris Hero.
This storied rivalry reached its zenith at the momentous IWA Mid-South House Of Hardcore 2nd Anniversary extravaganza, where Punk valiantly defended his esteemed heavyweight championship against the tenacious Hero in an electrifying Tables and Ladders confrontation.
The clash itself was a breathtaking spectacle, brimming with a profusion of audacious maneuvers and awe-inspiring moments.
Both Punk and Hero demonstrated an unwavering commitment, dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to the gruelling 55-minute encounter. Amidst a multitude of astonishing incidents, two sequences in particular stand out as exemplars of sheer audacity:
A jaw-dropping Russian leg sweep executed from the balcony, precipitating a cataclysmic collision with an array of tables, followed by a mesmerizing reverse hurricanrana launched from the summit of the turnbuckle, propelling Hero onto a table positioned precariously upon the unforgiving floor.
Ultimately, it was CM Punk who emerged triumphant from this epic confrontation, his tenacity and skill propelling him to retain the coveted heavyweight championship.
The seismic clash between Punk and Hero reverberated throughout the annals of independent wrestling history, etching its place as one of the most remarkable and revered encounters ever witnessed within the hallowed realm of the independent wrestling circuit.
9. CM Punk vs Austin Aries – ROH Death Before Dishonor 2005
Prior to his imminent departure from Ring of Honor to embark on a new chapter in WWE, CM Punk issued a compelling challenge to the reigning ROH Champion, Austin Aries, at the illustrious Ring of Honor’s Death Before Dishonor event in 2005.
The bout commenced at a measured pace, witnessing a meticulous exchange of standing switches, as both competitors endeavored to gauge each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Demonstrating their prowess, both athletes flawlessly executed their signature maneuvers, with Aries astutely utilizing Punk’s own Pepsi Plunge against him. Given the gravity of the occasion, which marked Punk’s presumed farewell from the company, the fervent crowd rallied behind him wholeheartedly, reverberating with boisterous cheers for his every action while vehemently jeering Aries whenever the opportunity arose.
Drawing strength from the unwavering support of the spectators, Punk tapped into a wellspring of resilience, shrugging off Aries’ impactful assaults. In the climactic moments of the contest, just as Aries sought to execute a crucifix bomb, Punk swiftly countered with a deft combination of a TKO and a Shining Wizard.
With Aries momentarily disoriented, Punk seized the opportunity, adroitly positioning him atop the turnbuckle in preparation for the definitive Pepsi Plunge.
In a magnificent display of skill and precision, Punk flawlessly executed the maneuver, eliciting a resounding three-count from the referee, sealing his victory and capturing the prestigious championship title.
8. CM Punk vs MJF – AEW Dynamite February 2nd, 2022
The first match between MJF and CM Punk was a 40+ minute classic that cemented MJF as not a top heel in AEW, but the top heel in all of wrestling.
After weeks of blistering arguments on the microphone, MJF and CM Punk finally had their long-awaited match on AEW Dynamite. The match took place in Chicago, with CM Punk having the home town crowd which were rabid and wanted nothing more than to see CM Punk put away MJF once and for all.
The match was a fun one to start with, with MJF trying to run away from Punk, to no avail. CM Punk, like the hometown hero in a match out of the 1970s, beat MJF from pillar to post to the delight of the Chicago fans.
MJF seemed to have won the match early on, but he secured the victory by chocking CM Punk with some tape, which Bryce Remsburg spotted after the fact. The match was restarted, and the pair wrestled for another 25 minutes in one of the best matches in AEW Dynamite history.
In a match filled with callbacks, including the first Pepsi Plunge in about 17 years, MJF used the Dynamite Diamond Ring to knock out CM Punk and be the first man to beat CM Punk in AEW. In his home town of Chicago, CM Punk fell to one of his greatest rivals in one of MJF’s best matches ever.
7. CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan – Over the Limit 2012
A true technical masterclass for the number five entry. The fifth best CM Punk match is his Over the Limit 2012 bout against Daniel Bryan. Two of the greatest of all times lock horns in match that was beaten to the main event by John Cena vs John Laurinaitis.
The match was a true technical match. Both men showcased their wrestling ability on the mat, focusing on body parts to wear down their opponents. Both men seemed destined to win the match, but CM Punk pulled out the victory in the end in an exciting encounter.
Daniel Bryan would later rise to stardom and win the World title at Wrestlemania 30. CM Punk walking out at the 2013 Royal Rumble was a catalyst for WWE giving Bryan his moment in Wrestlemania’s main event.
The pair never got to Wrestle in the main event of Wrestlemania as both men would have wanted, but this match was a high profile match between two ROH alumni that wowed fans and showed that the independent style of wrestling could work in WWE.
This was an incredible match but ranks in only fifth on CM Punk’s best matches, showing just how impressive a list of fights he has in WWE.
6. CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy – TLC Match – Summerslam 2009
This match is one that managed to Main Event Summerslam 2009. It was the last pay per view event that Jeff Hardy performed in as a main event superstar. He left the company weeks later to heal up his injuries, before joining TNA in early 2010.
Jeff Hardy defended his World Heavyweight Championship against CM Punk in a TLC Match. Hardy was one of the pioneers of the match, performing in many tag team TLC matches since the Attitude Era. Punk had recently won back to back Money in the Bank ladder matches, cashing in his contract on Hardy earlier that same year.
The match was the match of the show. Featuring brutal bumps (It’s a Jeff Hardy match after all) and a sense of jeopardy and desperation that you only get when these two step into the ring. The fans willed Hardy along the entire time, begging to see him retain his Championship.
Sadly, CM Punk won the title. He was the ultimate heel at this time and deserved the title. It was just sad that this match is the end of the Jeff Hardy World Champion era, but the beginning of a run for Punk that would help launch the Summer of Punk.
The rematch between the two looks to be readying up to take place in AEW, with Jeff Hardy sure that a match with CM Punk is going to be booked despite his alcohol issues.
4. CM Punk vs MJF – AEW Revolution 2022
The Dog Collar Match at AEW Revolution 2022 was the polar opposite to their encounter on Dynamite, but CM Punk and MJF pulled off a match both men can call one of their best matches.
The match was arguably the best match on a show that featured 4 matches that could be argued to be five star classics. This bout was a brutal and bloody dog collar match which took both men to depths of depravity which we have not seen for a long time.
Both men used weapons, strangled each other with the chain and threw each other on thumbtacks as they tried to kill each other inside the ring. The canvas was stained with blood by the end of the match with CM Punk looking like he might pass out from the blood loss.
The match was an incredible story-driven affair despite the barbaric nature of it. Wardlow finally turned on MJF when he handed CM Punk the Dynamite Diamond Ring to seal the Chicago-born wrestlers victory and hand MJF the defeat.
4. CM Punk vs Samoa Joe – ROH Joe Vs. Punk II, Ring of Honor, 2004
3. CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar – Summerslam 2013
CM Punk’s match with Brock Lesnar is, in my mind, the greatest No DQ match of the last 10 years in WWE. It was fast paced but with a story to it. Punk made you believe he could win.
He countered the Beast on multiple occasions, slipping in and out of huge kicks and painful submissions. Multiple times he had me believe that he’d beaten Brock Lesnar with a simply kick to the head. The match was slightly tainted by Paul Heyman’s interference, which just nudged it down the list of CM Punk’s best matches
Despite Lesnar coming out on top, Punk looked like, in a fair fight, he could beat anyone in the world. Stick him inside a cage with Lesnar and he could slay the beast. The believability is why this is the third best CM Punk match of all time in WWE.
Also Wolverine Punk was definitely his best look. I don’t care what anybody said, the sideburns worked. CM Punk was clearly a huge Bradley Wiggins fan.
2. CM Punk vs The Undertaker – Wrestlemania 29
CM Punk vs the Undertaker is so close to being first on the list of CM Punk best matches. It is almost the perfect match. The only thing that brings it down is the story going into it. CM Punk won a fatal-4-way match against Randy Orton, Sheamus and the Big Show to face the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
Not quite the grudge matches or “Raging against the machine” feuds Punk was used to.However, the pair did use the death of Undertaker’s long time manager Paul Bearer as the driving force of the feud.
CM Punk, with Paul Heyman, came into possession of the Undertakers Urn. He used this as a weapon in the match and seemed to have beaten the streak on multiple occasions.
Punk in this match played himself as a madman. He had no fear of the Deadman and out wrestled the Phenom all throughout the match. CM Punk gave the performance of his life, and gave the Undertaker his last great match, in my opinion.
1. CM Punk vs John Cena – Money in the Bank 2011
The Summer of Punk in 2011 was one of the biggest missed opportunities WWE ever had. They fumbled (or sabotage) the biggest buzz they had in CM Punk as WWE Champion. Why they thought Kevin Nash vs Triple H was the way to bookend it was a mystery, like evolution.
CM Punk vs John Cena took place inside a sold out, rabid crowd in Chicago, Punk’s hometown. CM Punk was trying to take the WWE Championship with him. Normally he would be the heel in this situation. However, his “Pipebomb” promo had endeared him to the crowds and brought a whole new set on intrigue from wrestling fans.
The match itself was a genius blend of hart hitting action and supreme storytelling. Cena and Punk left it all in the ring, as the Chicago crowed made it a hostile place for Cena to wrestle. The crowd were willing Punk to win and take the WWE Championship away from WWE.
CM Punk won the match, fighting off interference from Vince McMahon and Mr Money in the Bank Alberto Del Rio. Punk left with his Championship into the crowd, blowing one final kiss to Mr McMahon as he left.
This was named CM Punk’s best match because of his motivated performance, as well as the incredible support of his hometown crowd cheering him on.
It received a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer.
Then he punched a fan in the face which was pretty funny too. This match was also number one on John Cena best matches
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.