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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Who Was Better: CM Punk Or Chris Jericho?
Posted by Justin Watry on 06.10.2014

It always amazes me how fun a debate can be. For Edge vs. Bret Hart, it was obviously going to be a generational thing. If you grew up in the 1980's or 1990's, the answer was obvious. If you are younger and more from this time frame, it was probably the other way. That is part of the reason I decided to go with Christian vs. Rob Van Dam last week. There was no major era gap in between.

However, the same thing happened. One person would say RVD is the clear choice. Two minutes later, another would say it was no contest, Christian was better. Then an hour later, a comment said Rob Van Dam was hands down the choice. Sure enough, the next opinion would state the same for Captain Charisma. Yet, there it is! That is what makes a debate - knowing 100 percent without a doubt that your answer is the "correct" choice only to read the exact opposite from somebody else. Somehow, that thought led me to this week.

After taking a quick poll on Twitter @JustinWatry from my followers (Gangrel/Vampiro, Jake Roberts/Raven, and Samoa Joe/Kevin Steen were some ideas) during the week , I arrived at four wrestlers. Since there has to be a theme, I was able to narrow it down to two in a hurry. Edge and Hart were both from Canada and was used to promote my Top 5 Canadian Born Wrestlers list. Christian and RVD tied in ECW and TNA, as well as being 'under appreciated' WWE stars. This week focuses on two men who are currently gone from WWE but for totally different reasons. One guy is on hiatus. The other is on 'hiatus.' Without any more stalling and space filling, here we go!

Who Was Better: CM Punk Or Chris Jericho?

Mid-Card Career: CM Punk - Assuming we count his run in ECW, he has done quite well for himself. An IC Championship win is nice but never did amount to much. He kept himself bust ever since arriving in WWE. From John Morrison to Umaga all the way to The Shield recently, CM Punk is no stranger to working outside of the main event scene. Always delivers in any situation.

Mid-Card Career: Chris Jericho - Oh, boy. There are tons of way I could go here. Seemingly a different reigns as a mid-card champion throughout his career. Like many before (and after) him, Chris Jericho was always pegged for bigger and better things. As quality as is, do not discount his time below the main event scene. Even in 2013 facing Ryback, Fandango, and Curtis Axel, it was typical great Y2J television.

Tag Team Career: CM Punk - Yeah, I concede this to Chris Jericho. Minus a tag team title reign with Kofi Kingston and wasting his time teaming with Mason Ryan, Punk is known for his solo career.

Tag Team Career: Chris Jericho - Obviously, even the biggest Punk fan has to give up this section. Jericho has teamed with the best AND won gold with the best. From Edge to Big Show to Christian to everybody else on the roster...no contest here. Chalk one up for Jericho.

Pre-WWE Career: CM Punk And Chris Jericho - I plead the fifth. Debate this section on your own. Independent scene. Overseas. TNA Impact Wrestling. Ring of Honor. WCW. Whatever, go wild with this debate - better career outside of WWE?

Main Event Career: CM Punk - First won the World Title in summer 2008 from Edge and dropped it a few months later without even technically "losing." A year later, WWE tried again. Then they got it right, culminating in a great feud with Jeff Hardy trading the belt back and forth. While that was nice, fans will mostly recall his WWE Championship reign(s) from 2011. That final championship win lasted over 400 days and spanned through the entire 2012 calendar ending with The Rock defeating him at Royal Rumble 2013. A feat we may never see again.

Main Event Career: Chris Jericho - Defeated The Rock at No Mercy 2001 to finally 'win the big one.' We can forget about Raw in April 2000. Two months later, Y2J became the first ever undisputed (according to WWE) champion in wrestling history beating Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock...in the same night! Bouncing up and down the card for many years after that, he certainly was in the mix 99.9% of the time. When he came from from a two year hiatus in 2007, Jericho was right in the thick of the WWE Championship picture. Winning the World Title a few times and having all-time great feuds with Shawn Michaels and Edge only furthered his legacy.

Most Memorable Moment: CM Punk - This is tough. Despite the crying and whining from his loyal (LOYAL!) fanbase, there is no such reason with CM Punk. Two Money in the Bank briefcases back to back. The obvious pipe bomb (and entire summer) he dropped on Raw in 2011. Facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29. Excellent matches with John Cena. Then of course would be the unbelievable WWE Championship reign from November 2011-January 2013. As noted above, that may never happen again. Long story short, he has etched his name in wrestling history.

Most Memorable Moment: Chris Jericho - Probably the coolest debut in WWE history. Getting past Stone Cold and The Rock to win the Undisputed Championship at Vengeance 2001. Being able to MAIN EVENT WrestleMania X-8 against Triple H for the top prize. Amazing feud with HBK in 2008. Even wrestling CM Punk at WrestleMania 28 for the WWE Title (did not close the event, nor should it have) also deserves a mention. Like Punk, you can pick any number of events that define his career. That is the true mark of a legend.

Match Quality: CM Punk - Now this is where the debate will truly begin! Who had the better matches? CM Punk has delivered classics with just about everybody from this generation. John Cena? Many times. The Undertaker? Yep, on the grandest stage of them all. Rey Mysterio? Oh yeah. Jeff Hardy? Sure. Triple H? Okay, one match but still. Money in the Bank matches, battles with Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, The Rock, and tons more. No doubt he brought it inside the squared circle...

Match Quality: Chris Jericho - Fought Kurt Angle, The Rock, The Undertaker, Stone Cold, Christian, Rob Van Dam, Edge, JBL, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk, Triple H, and even made Ricky Steamboat young again in 2009. I am tempted to give Jericho the nod in this category, but then I remember all of CM Punk's memorable bouts and change my mind. Although with more years in WWE, that may favor Jericho a bit. So close.

Promo Skills: CM Punk And Christ Jericho - Both were usually cheered by fans, whether as a face or heel. Kind of like the "cool bad guy" we often read so much about. As personalities and promos, I can not call it. Sorry to cop out like that, but each man was unique enough to make a good case for. Again though, Jericho has more years in WWE to work with, so based on that, he may inch out the victory...but then again, longevity does not always mean more quality.

Departure: CM Punk - Pretty sure I have discussed this already, but he quit. Q-U-I-T...QUIT! Make all the excuses you want, however he walked out.

Departure: Chris Jericho - Comes and goes working with new guys, young stars, and established wrestlers all at the same time. As for CM Punk's departure, Chris Jericho was quoted as saying: "... When I felt the way that Punk did in '05, I just waited until my contract was done, and then I left for two-and-a-half years. I never walked out in the middle of a contract, nor would I..." Well said Chris, well said. Like Rob Van Dam ruining his WWE/ECW Title reign for all the wrong reasons, it is only fair to knock Punk down a peg because of this too.

Bottom line: Let me have it! Whether you are a fan of Punk, Jericho, both, or neither, it is a near impossible decision to make. That is why I ask all of you...

Thanks for reading. Please vote and then let me know what you think below in the comment section!


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