Many of CM Punk's rivalries are historic and monumental. They will be remembered for decades and we will show our children and our children's children the "voice of the voiceless." From John Cena, to Daniel Bryan, to The Undertaker, CM Punk was part of some of the best and passionate storylines in wrestling history.
When he was motivated, there weren't many superstars who could compete with CM Punk. Regardless if it was cutting a promo or main eventing a pay per view, Punk was often at the top of his game. However, like many wrestlers, it's hard to get motivated for a story or a match that isn't going anywhere.
Sadly, for every John Cena or Daniel Bryan storyline, there's a storyline at the opposite side of the spectrum. Many of these entries are actually decent wrestlers who have improved their craft through years of practice, but I put them on this list because of their status when they were working with Punk. Even though The Miz has improved by leaps and bounds, he was awful when feuding with Punk, so he's on the list.
Let's take a look at the top 15 worst wrestlers that CM Punk had to work with.
By this point in his career, The Big Red Machine wasn't nearly as scary or intimidating as he was in 1997 when he debuted. In fact, he wasn't as scary as when he was unmasked in 2003 and set Jim Ross on fire. In fact, he wasn't scary at all. Kane the wrestler was just fine, but Kane's character stopped being effective years ago. It's a shame that CM Punk was part of a mess of a storyline, that added in Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee as well in a weird love triangle. Punk managed to retain his title in that feud, but that wasn't the last we would see of Kane. Punk then attacked him while feuding with The Undertaker in 2013 and then had to deal with him in late 2013 as corporate Kane. Punk's last appearance on WWE television was at the Royal Rumble 2014, where Kane eliminated Punk and chokeslammed him through the announce table. We never found out why.
14 Big Daddy V
Many fans would be surprised to find out that Big Daddy V (or Mabel, or also Viscera) had a ten-year career in WWE. Often, whoever got stuck working with Big Daddy V knew they were in for a long night. For CM Punk's sake, he didn't have to work with Big Daddy V too often. Once Punk won the ECW championship, Big Daddy V beat Tommy Dreamer to receive a title shot. Punk beat him at No Mercy via disqualification to retain the title after Matt Striker ran in and started beating up Punk. Once Big Daddy V recovered, he beat up Punk as well. Nothing became of this storyline and that's probably a good thing. There wasn't much chemistry between the two and future matches likely would have been hard on the eyes.
CM Punk never had a real program against R-Truth, but still faced off against him a multitude of times throughout his tenure. Most famously, Truth and Punk interacted the most when The Miz and Truth were randomly catapulted to the top echelon of heels. Truth and Miz attacked Punk at a couple of pay per views, which culminated in a tag team match at Vengeance 2011 that Truth and Miz won, due to interference from Kevin Nash. Yes, that actually happened in 2011.
After that, Punk went on to feud with Alberto Del Rio and later Miz while Truth was left with nothing. It's strange that nothing was truly accomplished in the story and, honestly, I would have loved to see a Truth vs. Punk singles match somewhere. Although Truth doesn't have much of a character, they could have really torn the house down.
12 Big Show
CM Punk didn't have a lot of interactions with the Big Show in his career, which is a bit of surprise. The Big Show usually works with everybody for at least a couple months, but that wasn't the case here. At SummerSlam, he unmasked Punk and defeated The Straight Edge Society when Punk left the match like a coward and the rest of the Society got crushed. If you're wondering why Punk was wearing a mask, it was because he wanted to hide his baldness. Genius.
Why wasn't this angle continued? There's a decent story here of Punk sneaking around like a typical bad guy and trying to avoid a one on one fight, but I guess that wasn't in the cards. In 2013, Punk beat Show, Randy Orton, and Sheamus in a qualifying match to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29, which was the last Punk-Big Show interaction.
11 The Miz
Here's a popular entry for just about anybody's "worst wrestler" list. Although The Miz has improved substantially in recent years, his early time with WWE and ECW were rough, making him an easy punching bag for fans. His look was stupid, his hair was stupid, and although he had that "I want to punch him in the head" aura, fans still didn't care about him. He was still better than all of the New Breed though!
Punk had his first encounter with The Miz, losing to him and John Morrison in a tag team match in 2007. Since that first match, Punk has had The Miz's number, defeating him to retain the ECW Championship at Cyber Sunday 2007 and beating both Morrison and The Miz at Survivor Series 2007. They didn't feud again until 2011 when The Miz was inserted into a feud with Punk and Alberto Del Rio. Talk about uninteresting.
10 Mark Henry
These two wrestled sporadically through Punk's WWE career, but never had a full program together. They would often be in multi-man matches against each other until early April of 2012. On the 2nd and 9th of the month, Punk lost to Henry via count-out and disqualification. Of course, Punk still remained the titleholder.
At the time, Chris Jericho was feuding with Punk in one of the best storylines of 2012. This could have been revisited later with Henry saying "you couldn't beat me earlier this year" or something along those lines. Punk then would have to prove himself against the monster. But, sadly, that never happened. I'm not really sure why Mark Henry needed to be thrown into the middle of this storyline and I'm equally unsure why Punk couldn't get a clean win. The less remembered, the better I guess.
9 Hardcore Holly
Here's another entry from CM Punk's early days in ECW. Hardcore Holly was a veteran and a guy who had wrestled everybody in the company. However, Holly hadn't won a singles title in forever and his character was dead. Moving him to the new ECW brad was a smart idea, but he was still the same Holly from years ago. I don't think anybody cared about Holly since 2003 when Brock Lesnar accidentally broke his neck on a powerbomb attempt. Somehow, Holly was the superstar to give Punk his first televised defeat. Talk about a dumb idea. Of all the superstars on ECW, why him? This is going to be a trivia answer for years to come. Holly was lukewarm and putting him in the ring with the charismatic Punk was a huge, and obvious, mistake.
Right here is the wrestler that CM Punk was most frustrated with when he decided to walk away from the WWE, apart from Triple H of course. I'm not surprised. Now it's probably not the easiest thing to pick a man up and throw him through a table on the outside, but that was Ryback's job and he messed it up. Punk claims that Ryback missed the table completely. I ask how you can totally miss? I would think that the action would have so much muscle memory ingrained in Ryback, that it wouldn't be a problem. Due to missing the table, Punk ended up hurting his pelvis along with getting bruised up and generally adding to the usual collection of bruises. We've seen Ryback work stiff with other guys and there was no difference here.
7 Marcus Cor Von
Remember Monty Brown? He was in TNA, did the pounce, and generally was an athletic, charismatic superstar who the fans loved? I do and I find it hard to believe that these two characters were played by the same guy. Once he got to WWE, Brown was molded into what the front office wanted and became part of The New Breed in ECW. Maybe The New Breed wouldn't have disbanded after a few months if they had all been pushed. Surprisingly, Cor Von actually was able to get a win off Punk when he was part of the New Breed. After that, Punk cleaned up the next four times they wrestled, defeating Cor Von in singles, tag and six man tag competition. Monty Brown was pretty great. Too bad WWE didn't want him.
6 Mike Knox
Does anybody remember Mike Knox? I barely do. All I can remember is that he received a large push for absolutely no reason at all. Of course, I also remember him for trying to control Kelly Kelly, who had feelings for Punk, because people love those storylines in wrestling. This caused Knox to want to beat Punk up. Yeah, it was riveting. He was in all sorts of main events and feuds , even though he was pretty terrible. It's sad that this man was one of the faces of the new ECW. Knox might have been the least interesting wrestler on the WWE roster for the entirety of his tenure there. Punk had to face him during his time in ECW and I feel bad because Punk is so much better than that. I'd rather watch Punk fight himself.
5 Elijah Burke
Here's another member of that fabled New Breed group that fizzled out in near record time because nobody cared about them. At least Elijah Burke was the leader of the group and actually seemed dangerous. There was a small chance that he could end up winning the feud and actually look decent. That's more than can be said for Matt Striker, who we'll get to later, and Marcus Cor Von. Punk actually got his first singles pay-per-view win against Burke at Judgment Day 2007 before defeating Burke and the rest of the New Breed in a tables match with Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman as his partners. They would meet a couple more times throughout 2007, including Punk's first ECW Championship defense, with Punk winning each encounter.
4 Curtis Axel
Of all the superstars available in 2014, why was Curtis Axel the one who got the call to feud with CM Punk. I don't mind Axel, but he's just so boring. There were a bunch of other new and unique possibilities that could have been better feuds. It seemed like the program between these two went on forever. Every time I turned on Raw, these two were having a match and I changed the channel. No offense to Axel, but he was a gigantic step down from Punk's previous opponents. Maybe the front office thought that working with Punk would help Axel grow and mature faster. That certainly didn't work and both guys were hurt by this. Axel has barely been on television since.
3 Kevin Thorn
Oh boy, Kevin Thorn was just awful. Punk first wrestled Thorn in 2006 during the beginning of his WWE career, defeating him before The New Breed was even an idea. Now, let's fast forward to May 2007. Kevin Thorn was booked to face Punk on behalf of The New Breed and teach Punk a lesson. Of course that didn't happen because Thorn isn't Matt Striker. After that, Thorn had the best idea of his career and left The New Breed because they didn't interfere and support him. Great idea Kevin! Why would you want to be friends with a bunch of guys who don't have your back? Thorn would wrestle Punk a couple more times before leaving the WWE. Being the worst member of an awful faction is going to put you way at the top of a list of bad wrestlers.
2 Alberto Del Rio
It is well known that Alberto Del Rio is an excellent in-ring performer. But as a character, he's been hit or miss. Del Rio's first big moment in CM Punk's career came when he cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase and defeated Punk for the WWE Championship right after Punk toppled John Cena to win the title. He also had help from Kevin Nash, who was involved way too much in storylines involving CM Punk. Punk eventually regained the belt at Survivor Series after forcing Del Rio to submit to an Anaconda Vise. He then defended the title against The Miz and Del Rio at TLC. After that, the two never met up for a story. They would occasionally face off in multi-man matches, but their intensity was never like Punk's programs with Daniel Bryan or Chris Jericho. The potential was massive for these two, but their mini-program was a massive let down.
1 Matt Striker
Somehow Matt Striker gave CM Punk his second singles loss in WWE. What the heck is wrong with the front office? Why on earth would Matt Striker get to reap the benefits of beating a guy who jad been cleaning house and racking up wins? Punk was a unique star and who was fed to a guy with a gimmick as a teacher. I know this is a list of mostly bad wrestlers, but Matt Striker takes the cake and tries to teach it algebra. Was there ever a time where Matt Striker got a reaction? I don't think so. After losing to him in a singles match, this feud kept going with the additions of some ECW originals and some New Breed dorks. Luckily the originals won and Punk was finally able to rid himself of these lapel-riders.