It's kind of hard to believe that CM Punk has been out of wrestling for over five years. The straight edge superstar was a fixture on the independent scene for several years before signing with WWE in 2005. Once he got to the big stage, he found vast success and became one of the biggest stars in the industry.
His WWE accomplishments are plentiful. ECW Champion, Intercontinental Champion, Tag Team Champion, WWE Champion, Grand Slam winner, and more. CM Punk was also a safe bet to have some great matches. It's time to pick out the best of the best from Punk's entire WWE career.
10 Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk - Extreme Rules 2012
When Chris Jericho returned at the start of 2012, fans salivated at the prospect of a match against CM Punk. Both men were fan favorites and both called themselves variations of the "best in the world." They ended up meeting at WrestleMania XXVIII in what was a very good match, but it was kind of a letdown.
The rivalry got more personal and bitter following WrestleMania. It set up a rematch for Extreme Rules in a Chicago Street Fight. This proved to be the kind of battle we wanted from them. It was intense, had a ton of heat and took place in front of a hot crowd. Punk hit the Go to Sleep to retain and put this feud to bed.
9 Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk vs. The Miz - TLC 2011
At Survivor Series 2011, CM Punk dethroned Alberto Del Rio to regain the WWE Championship. It started his historic 434-day reign at the top of the company. His first major title defense came at the TLC pay-per-view against two of the company's top heels, Alberto Del Rio and the Miz.
Punk was put behind the 8-ball from the start. Del Rio and Miz formed an alliance that wore Punk down. He had to scratch, claw, and fight from behind to overcome two of his toughest foes ever. The match was made better by creative spots, aggressive villains, and a desperate champion.
8 CM Punk vs. The Undertaker - WrestleMania 29
For four straight years, The Undertaker's hallowed streak at WrestleMania was in serious jeopardy. Shawn Michaels and Triple H both came excruciatingly close to doing it on two occasions each. When Undertaker dispatched them, he needed a new challenge. Enter CM Punk, fresh off a WWE Title reign of over a year.
During the build to this encounter, CM Punk antagonized Undertaker at every turn, including mocking his recently deceased manager, Paul Bearer. After being played to the ring by Living Colour, Punk put on a show with Undertaker. He nearly did the unthinkable but fell to a Tombstone like so many others.
7 CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Goldust & The Usos vs. The Shield & The Wyatt Family - Raw 11/18/13
Talk about a hidden gem. Many folks forget that this ever happened but those who remember it know how great it is. To close out this episode of Raw, two of the most dominant factions in WWE history were put together on one team. Opposing them were three top tandems in the Brotherhood, the Usos, and the Best and the Beard.
It took place during Survivor Series month and tuned out better than almost any Survivor Series match in recent memory. These twelve men put on a show and delivered an underrated classic. Punk got to secure the victory for his team. To top everything off, Rey Mysterio made an awesome return after the bell.
6 CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan - Over The Limit 2012
Sometimes, all you have to do is put two of the best wrestlers in the world in the ring and let them make magic. That's what happened at Over the Limit 2012 when CM Punk defended the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan. Their similarities were clear. Both were undersized, top independent wrestlers, and considered to be great wrestlers.
Bryan and Punk went out and put on a wrestling clinic for over 20 minutes. It was a sight to behold and remains some of the best work either man did during their storied careers. Punk retained the title in questionable fashion as he also tapped out at the same. They kept the rivalry going for a bit longer.
5 Money In The Bank - WrestleMania XXIV
As soon as CM Punk arrived in WWE, fans clamored to see him get pushed like a top star. Though he held the ECW Championship in his early days, he came across as a big fish in a little pond. It wasn't until WrestleMania XXIV that the company seemed ready to make him a star.
In the fourth ever Money in the Bank match, CM Punk won over Chris Jericho, John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin, MVP, Carlito, and Mr. Kennedy. It was one of the better Money in the Bank spectacles in history. Punk's win earned him a shot at the World Title whenever he wanted, which he successfully cashed in a few months later.
4 CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan - Money In The Bank 2012
As noted, one of the things that made the first CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan match work so well was that it was simply two great wrestlers together. Their eventual rematch came a couple of months later at Money in the Bank. A storyline was added this go around, with the men engaged in a struggle over the WWE Title and the affections of AJ Lee.
For this encounter, AJ Lee played the role of a special guest referee. She was an added element that bolstered everything. There was more emotion, intensity, and drama because she was included. The three of them combined to put on something special. Not many matches can blend all of these aspects so well.
3 CM Punk vs. John Cena - Raw 2/25/13
The pairing of CM Punk and John Cena turned out to be a perfect one. They always brought out the best in each other. Whether it was through promos, rivalries, or matches, their work together was always outstanding. In early 2013, CM Punk lost the WWE Title to the Rock and failed to win it back. John Cena won the Royal Rumble and Punk challenged him for his right to face the Rock at WrestleMania.
That put them against each other in the main event of Raw. it turned out to arguably be their best match ever. The exchanges were crisp, there was a lot on the line, and the drama was off the charts. When Punk pulled out a rare piledriver, it stunned the audience. Punk came up just short and Cena moved on to the main event of WrestleMania.
2 CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar - SummerSlam 2013
The final great singles match of CM Punk's career. After leaving WWE, he spoke about how he was rushed back to get this huge summer blockbuster going. Though Punk was unhappy about returning before he was ready, he came up big in this clash. Brock Lesnar was his toughest opponent by a mile.
Lesnar was an absolute monster throughout this 25-minute war. The No Disqualifications stipulation only added to the intensity. Punk and Lesnar used chairs, kendo sticks, and their own hands and feet to destroy each other. Punk came incredibly close to pulling off an unthinkable upset but fell to an F5.
1 CM Punk vs. John Cena - Money In The Bank 2011
The previously listed match between John Cena and CM Punk from Raw in 2013 may be better than this from a technical standpoint. However, it simply can't compete with this one. CM Punk's contract was set to expire the night before this event. He signed a one-day extension and threatened to leave the company as WWE Champion if he beat Cena.
The match took place in CM Punk's hometown in front of a rabid crowd. They loved everything Punk did and hated every breath Cena took. it made for an incredible atmosphere. The match lasted over half an hour and each minute mattered. Punk became one of the few people to defeat Cena cleanly. He blew a kiss to an irate Vince McMahon and ran off into the night with the WWE Title, giving us an iconic ending to an unbelievable night.