CM Punk vs. Austin Aries from Ring of Honor 2005

Death Before Dishonor
June 18, 2005
Elizabeth, New Jersey

This was for Aries’ ROH World Championship.

Punk was in control for a while. A long time in fact. He wiped out Aries with a tope suicida. Aries promptly cut off Punk with a DVD on the apron. It was Aries’ turn to be in control for a while. The crowd really did not like Aries during this section of the match. After a while, Punk fired back with some chops, sending Aries into an exposed turnbuckle, and a lariat to the back of the head. Punk then made his comeback. They channeled Hogan and Flair. Punk hit the Welcome To Chicago, Motherfucker for a nearfall. Aries fought back and hit a piledriver for a nearfall. Punk came back again and hit a shining wizard for a nearfall. Punk called for the Plunge, but Aries reversed it into a super brainbuster: 1…2…NO! Punk blocked a 450, but Aries hit the Pepsi Plunge: 1…NO!!!!! Aries hit a rolling elbow, punt to the head, and a 450….ANACONDA VICE! Aries survived, but Punk hit a TKO and another wizard. PEPSI PLUNGE: 1…2…3!

There are some matches in ROH history that I like slightly more than this one, but this is arguably the peak moment of ROH’s booking in the entire company’s history. The emotion this match created has possibly never been topped. You forget how unimportant professional wrestling when you watch a match like this.

The match was worked very similarly to a WWE main event. They spent the majority of their match just establishing roles. It worked out perfectly, as the crowd loved Punk so much that they eventually started to hate Aries even more when he had the advantage. Once they started going back and forth, they had the crowd in the palm of their hand. The nearfalls and finisher kickouts even felt completely appropriate given the magnitude of the match. If you have never seen this match, you are truly missing out. (****1/2)

CM Punk said the belt is power. (Is this a shot at TNA?!?!) He says a microphone in his hand is a pipe bomb. It’s a shame those ideas are such clichés in wrestling now. Punk then told the inspired parable of the old man and a snake. “You stupid old man, I’m a snake.” He turned on the crowd and said they all fell for his act. Punk says this belt now makes him the greatest pro wrestler in the world. Punk says he is better than Ki, Styles, and Samoa Joe. He says he’s taking the belt with him and that no one can stop him. The crowd chanted for Joe. Christopher Daniels ran through the crowd instead. Daniels got the better of him. He wanted a title match now, but Punk had no interest. “CM Pussy” chants because wrestling fans. Punk ran through the crowd to escape.

Punk finally accomplished what he failed to accomplish for so long. Punk was not capable of giving the title back, and he could not let anyone forget that he was a snake. He was not going to hand over the title without a fight. Like all great villains, you can see the motivations for his actions, and you can understand why he would do what he would do. After all of his failures, how could he just hand the title back?

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