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Best Cm Punk Matches, According To Dave Meltzer, 10 Cm Punk Matches You Need To Watch

Even if he never steps in a ring again, at 35, Punk leaves behind a rather impressive body of work between the ropes. Here are his 10 best matches:

1. John Cena, WWE Money in the Bank, 2011.

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By no means the most technically sound of Punk”s matches — some miscues slow down the opening stretch — Punk”s first WWE Championship win is made one for the ages by an incendiary mix of hometown crowd support and pitch-perfect booking that saw him run with the gold into the Chicago night.

2. Brock Lesnar, WWE Summerslam, 2013. From a pure wrestling standpoint, this is Punk”s finest performance ever. Nowhere else is his intensity so focused, his strikes so on-point. Against the former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Punk just looked like he had something to prove. Despite losing the match, he won over any remaining doubters that he was, at that point, among the best in the world.

3. Mark Henry, WWE Raw, April 16, 2012. Punk”s arguably at his best against bigger opponents, and Henry is one of the few true super heavyweights he got to wrestle. This brawl in England is tremendously structured, mixing Henry”s legendary trash talk with Punk”s underrated selling until a Randy Savage elbow with a steel chair ends Henry”s WWE Championship chances.

4. Samoa Joe, ROH Joe vs. Punk 2, 2004. The first American match in several years to earn five stars from Dave Meltzer, Punk and Samoa Joe put on a clinic of ROH”s traditional move-heavy style. But it was rooted in basic psychology, with Punk repeatedly using the simplest of wrestling holds, a headlock, to slow down his larger opponent.

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5. John Cena, WWE Night of Champions, 2012. The work in this match trumps the Money in the Bank match, by far. It tells a terrific story of Punk surviving Cena through smarts, and has almost no weak moments. It even has the hometown crowd, too — this time Cena”s Bostonians, whom Punk goaded by wearing Yankee pinstripes. But the double-pin draw finish has undoubtedly diminished this match in the eyes of many.

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6. Daniel Bryan, WWE Over the Limit, 2012. For all their parallels as independent stars who made it to WWE, Punk and Bryan were underachievers as opponents. Their ROH, FIP and other independent matches didn”t live up to the names involved, nor did their first few WWE bouts. That changed at Over the Limit, a phenomenal war of striking and submission wrestling with a perfect ending that saw Punk tap out seconds after securing the pin to retain his WWE Championship.

7. Jeff Hardy, WWE Smackdown, Aug. 28, 2009. Like the Cena match at Money in the Bank, Jeff Hardy”s final WWE appearance was made molten by the crowd and the booking. He and Punk were visibly wrecked from their Summerslam TLC match the night prior, but both turned in a hell of a performance in the cage that proved the escape stipulation can be played for huge drama.

8. Rey Mysterio, WWE Smackdown, Feb. 12, 2009. Of all Punk”s rivals, Mysterio is the hardest to pick the highlights. There was Armageddon 2008, their first WWE encounter. There was the Capitol Punishment 2011 classic that made Punk a title contender. But of all their bouts, it was this random one on Smackdown that stuck out most to me. It was so good, it”d begin the fantastic feud that also produced Punk singing “Happy Birthday” to Mysterio”s daughter and, that summer, losing his hair.

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9. Austin Aries, ROH Death Before Dishonor III, 2005. This match, and the story surrounding it, was one of the first great examples of swerving the know-it-all Internet wrestling fans. Punk had signed with WWE at this point, so he wasn”t expected to dethrone then-ROH World Champion Aries. But he did. And no one forgot it — especially after Punk”s fantastic Jake Roberts-esque post-match promo that shoved the fans” trust in the almighty dirt sheet right in their faces.

10. William Regal, WWE Raw, April 21, 2008.

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This was short and to the point — just two wrestlers with obvious mutual respect throwing everything they had left at each other at the end of a one-night King of the Ring tournament. Knees, elbows, feet — in terms of physicality per minute, it can”t be touched.

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When it was announced this week that runaway WWE superstar CM Punk would be in “WWE 2K15,” not only as a playable character but as a centerpie…

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