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The 411 Wrestling Top 5: The Top 5 Potential CM Punk Opponents
Posted by Larry Csonka on 08.20.2014

The 411 Wrestling Top 5: Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Wrestling's Top 5 List. We take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to participate and give us their Top 5 on said topic. So, onto this week's topic…

Week 277 - The Top 5 Potential CM Punk Opponents

CM Punk is done with WWE, and possibly wrestling all together. But if you could pick FIVE non-WWE opponents for a CM Punk farewell tour, who would they be?

5. CM Punk vs. AJ Styles - The two indy darlings with two consonants as a first name, I wouldn't mind seeing this match at all. Never been a huge AJ fan- though I certainly don't hate him- but I'd still like to see what these two could put together in the ring.

4. CM Punk vs. Rush - I would love to watch Rush slap the piss out of Punk, and hit him with all sorts of running dropkicks in the corner. If you think I'm being immature, I was informed a while ago that one can do whatever they feel like as long as it makes them happy, like walk out. In that vein, watching Rush stiff Punk would be a good time out.

3. CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana - Hey, what's wrong with friends wrestling each other? More often than not, they produce better matches anyways. Maybe Punk could finally get me to see the greatness in Colt Cabana. Maybe Cabana would cheat to win, thus getting to claim he is the man that ended Punk's career. Either way, I would watch this match, no problem.

2. CM Punk vs. Davey Richards - Take two guys who take themselves pretty seriously, and watch the sparks fly! I originally wanted this space to go to KENTA, but since he's signed, he no longer counts. There'd be nothing wrong with this match- it'd be physical, there'd be roughly 6,000 kicks thrown- and in the end, one would accept the handshake of the other in the ultimate sign of respect.

1. CM Punk vs. CP Munk - There's no other way this can go. It's the grudge match years in the making. The parody against the wisecracking guy who can't take a joke. Would Punk's jiu jitsu white belt carry him to glory, or would Munk's agility and tenacity gut him through another win? There's only one real way to settle this!

5. CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe - Disclaimer: WWE is king and when/if CM Punk decides to return, it will be for the most exposure and biggest paycheck. Newsflash folks, that is still the company run by Vince McMahon. That being said, rules are rules. No WWE talent can be listed. Fine. Under those terms, my choices are still about the most money being made. Coming in at number five is Samoa Joe. On the independent scene (not in TNA Impact Wrestling), this would surely be huge. Blast from the past.

4. CM Punk vs. Sting - Not under a WWE contract, if our beloved (and always accurate!) online reports are to be trusted. Once again, if I am looking for a giant pay day and wanting to cash in as a promoter, look no further than Sting. Yeah, he is old. Thanks for the breaking news! Clearly, that is irrelevant when wishing to draw a crowd. Putting Punk up against Sting is sure to attract eyeballs. Plus, if there is anybody who can get a classic out of The Stinger in 2014, it is CM Punk.

3. CM Punk vs. AJ Styles - No explanation needed.

2. CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana - I have zero interest in seeing this, but it is just a reality of life. Friends help friends. Buddies favor buddies. Harsh truth with 'politics' in the wrestling business. No greatest example of this than CM Punk and Colt Cabana. Whatever...

1. CM Punk vs. The Rock - The Rock is a free agent. No WWE contract. If we are using our brains here (rarity, I know), then the biggest cross over wrestler on the planet right now - NOT under a WWE contract - is easily The Rock. Massive appeal to fans all over the globe and by faaaaaaar the biggest money making opportunity. Obviously, it would never happen...but none of these other matches will ever happen either.

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5. CM Punk vs. Kazuchika Okada - I tried to be a little versatile when it came to this list because I want people to at least think of some of the hypothetical possibilities that are out there. And luckily, since I'm not an ignorant dork (well...) who can't take time to watch other wrestling, I think I'm somewhat qualified to execute a list with those qualities. I think it's fitting to start off with a dream match between two of the best to do it in the last 5 years. If you follow NJPW, you know who and how good Mr. Okada is and why he's on this list. He's had countless classics in his short time on top with ridiculous matches against Tetsuya Naito, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and most recently his G1 match with AJ Styles. He and Punk have very different styles but are both so good that their attempts to mesh should be somewhat effortless and will more so complement each other rather than clash. This is a pure workrate dream and it would be nothing short of breathtaking. Punk is definitely just as good as any of the top guys in Japan and this would be an opportunity to test his stature as "best in the world" for real.

4. CM Punk vs. Adam Cole - This would be a phenomenal battle between two of the best personalities wrestling has seen in many years, and the hard part is telling the audience who the bad guy would be. Both guys play incredibly charismatic, cunning, and smarmy heels but I'm pretty sure Punk would be the de-facto good guy in this hypothetical situation. I'm very confident that Cole could hold his weight in the personality department and really, the thought of these two tying up is enough for me to lose my goddamn mind. I think Cole is the best thing going on the indies (even if both PWG and ROH have cooled him down) because he has that rare blend of look, personality, and wrestling ability that only the greatest of stars have had. I think he and Punk are perfect matches and the build as well as the actual match would be nothing short of incredible.

3. CM Punk vs. Chris Hero - Despite the fact that Chris Hero doesn't seem to understand how to keep himself in presentable shape, this match is a must if you've followed either's ascension as wrestlers. They had some ridiculously (and record-setting) long matches in IWA Mid-South and were indie darlings before guys like Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles came into the forefront. Their 93 minute 2/3 falls match immediately comes to mind as the longest match (hyperbole because I can't really think of any others that are longer) that isn't a Cibernetico and while I don't think it's all that good, it most certainly was for its time and you can't knock their hustle when it came to their early independent days. Their IWA MS matches are iconic indie battles that need to be seen to be appreciated, even if a lot of them do not hold up. Chris Hero didn't get to Ring of Honor in time to battle Punk in an ROH ring, but it doesn't matter too much. I haven't been much impressed with Hero's post NXT output but I have a feeling he and Punk would be able to tear it down one last time for the sake of continuity.

2. CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana - Any wrestling fan who has delved into Punk's past knows of their relationship. They were best friends who met at the Steel Domain to train, and proceeded to have parallel rises in the independent scene. Their matches were sought after all over the country, in promotions such as IWA Mid-South and most importantly, Ring of Honor, where they both sewed their oats and carved their respective niches. Colt isn't near as talented as Punk is in my not-so-humble opinion, but the two have an undeniable connection in the ring. The sendoff here is a no-brainer and it flirted with number one for a while before I settled on number two, mainly because their matches weren't as good as the number one opponent. However, there's sentimental value here for both men and they do have experience in farewell battles (see Punk: The Final Chapter) so this one is about as easy as it gets. Their chemistry as opponents and people make them near perfect opponents and I have no reason to believe they wouldn't be able to replicate it nine years after Punk's ROH farewell bout.

1. CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe - I think this one would have to happen. We've all heard of and perhaps seen the famous trilogy, and while it's nice to leave things be in that regard, Punk owes a lot of his career to Joe. And vice versa. They made Ring of Honor THE indy to watch for years and years because of their series. It made ROH's cult following grow even larger after a trying time with the "Rob Feinstein is a big idiot pedo" scandal. Would this match be as good in 2014-2015 as it was then? That's a more difficult question than it seems on the surface because I'm not going to pretend Punk was even half the worker then that he came to be in his prime. Was he great? Sure. I can't pretend to say that he wasn't. It shows how incredible and one of a kind Punk was in his prime if anything. On the other hand, it seems like Samoa Joe has regressed in a way, mainly because TNA stopped knowing how to use him once a bunch of ninjas broke into the Impact Zone one night. But some days I think that regression might not be the right word for it. He might be fed up with how incompetent the booking has been for him. And who's to say he just hasn't gotten to chance to break out in a crazy match like he used to? That is a very valid argument. I think Joe vs. Punk (insert number here) would be a perfect sendoff for Punk since their matches together in Ring of Honor arguably define their indie careers.

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5. CM Punk vs. Kurt Angle Angle may be slower now but still can bring it now and then. Against Punk, we have a match where Angle can show his always-great ring work of technical skill and hard hitting against an opponent able to hold with him. Keep Angle healthy enough for it and he can provide a match few others can imagine and Punk is just the foe to help it shine more. One of the few "dream bouts" still around and a clash of unique styles that can make for a mini-classic.

4. CM Punk vs. Adam Cole Another one to get ROH fans going wild, this is a fun showdown of two smarmy heels that might make it hard for the crowd to pick a favorite. That should lead to great work in the ring, both guys clashing hard and fast and expect plenty of cheating to go around to make it more fun. Picking a winner is hard but it'd be damn good seeing them try to outdo each other and blow away even jaded fans with their fine work in the ring.

3. CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe Ask any ROH fan and they would be drooling at the idea of one of the greatest trilogy of matches getting a sequel. These guys brought out the best in each other big-time and now, seasoned even more, they can continue that for a follow-up that might be even better. Each is more intense and savvy and able to work on a bigger stage but still the magic that made each stars in the first place. If both guys are winding down in their in-ring careers, one final free-for-all to decide the best is only natural to cap off two fine legacies.

2. CM Punk vs. Austin Aries The battle of promos alone would be classic to watch, both guys so full of themselves and able to command a mic and could liven up any program with their war of words. In the ring, they'd be even better, mixing up brawling and technical work and each able to tell a terrific story. Put together and you've got a modern feud to elevate any promotion and show two guys who love showcasing how great they are and not shy about it.

1. CM Punk vs. AJ Styles As a long-time mark for the Phenomenal One, this would be a fantastic battle. AJ's skills and high-flying against Punk's fantastic edge, it'd be a great showdown of styles, each guy giving their all and a battle to win over fans everywhere. It just seems so natural given their pasts in ROH and sure to show up the "big guys" with how well they can work it and I would pay any amount of money to see it happen.

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Alex Crowder
5. CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe - I have to admit I'm actually not the biggest CM Punk guy, but I do find him entertaining. I certainly prefer him to most if not all of the current WWE main event talents. I did not put any Lucha talents on the list, because I don't think Punk would work that well in the lucha style. I know his matches with Rey were good, but Rey is no longer straight lucha. I think the first match that needs to happen once more is Punk and Joe for old time's sake. Honestly, Punk seems to do his best work with big or wide guys. Samoa Joe and Punk had incredible classics and it might just re-motivate Samoa Joe. These two are the ultimate rivals and both led their respective companies at a time while being overlooked. There is nothing more fitting.

4. CM Punk vs. Bobby Lashley - Lashley seems to be on fire as of late and having great matches with anyone that is a great wrestler. The fact that Punk generally works well with skilled big men gives me high hopes for this match. I think it would probably surprise people. This would be a better than expected match. Punk would bring the best out of Lashley, and Lashley would bring that old school power style.

3. CM Punk vs. Kazuchika Okada - I think this could be good, simply because everything Okada does is good as of late. He's also my favorite wrestler, so this pick may be a bit biased. I'm not sure if these two would equal an automatic five star matches, but four star without effort seems likely. This would be good to great even on its worse day. I would love to see the self-proclaimed greatest in the world against the actual best in the world (in my opinion).

2. CM Punk vs. Suwama - I'm a huge Suwama fan and think again that he'd be a great opponent for Punk. I see him as a hard-hitting big man who would fit Punk's style perfectly. These two would probably tear it up and it would probably lead to Punk getting his ass kicked gloriously in the process. Suwama wrestles a manly big man style, so I would expect the kind of ass kicking he got from Lesnar only without the WWE influence. For my money, Suwama is the most intimidating Japanese main eventer and that makes for a good match.

1. CM Punk vs. Tomohiro Ishii - I have no idea why, but my gut tells me this match would be amazing. I think these two would mesh well because Ishii is just the man. The fact that he's a big man with his own style only makes it more interesting. I just want to see these two wrestle. Ishii can give a brutal beating but he can also take a good beating to create sympathy. CM Punk as he has shown in other matches can take a good beating too. These two also dabble in a variety of styles meaning these two could have great chemistry. This is the match I'd want to see of CM Punk the most.

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Paul Leazar
5. CM Punk vs. Zack Sabre Jr. - Zack Sabre Jr. is on the more popular guys to come out of the European scene in a long time. The guy is incredibly quick, but has that sort of same quality in the ring that Punk had in younger days I think. A match between the two of them could be incredibly exciting.

4. CM Punk vs. Austin Aries - I went back forth between putting Aries & Samoa Joe here. While both would draw legions of wrestling fans, I think Aries & Punk at this stage in their careers are so eerily similar that putting them in the ring together might be the closest we will ever get to watching clones fight it out.

3. CM Punk vs. Kazuchika Okada - Arguably the hottest property over in Japan, Okada can do it all in the ring. Same goes for Punk really. Both are really terrific all around wrestlers that could put on a really entertaining match that could turn a lot of heads.

2. CM Punk vs. AJ Styles - These guys have actually hooked up in Ring of Honor before as well, but the draw here is the sort of parallel directions that took in the two largest American wrestling companies. They've both been multiple time world champions, they've both had companies riding on their backs, and they both are very, very good.

1. CM Punk vs. Michael Elgin - There is such a large part of me that wants to see this happen. Elgin is RoH's hottest star right now, and has been on the edge of winning the championship for a long while before he finally captured it a few months back. Punk knows what that feels like within the RoH ranks as well, and having one of RoH's current stars battle one their biggest of the past would draw droves of RoH fans to the show, both old and new. Not to mention that the styles differences make this intriguing as hell. I would say that it would be like the Punk of today battling the Samoa Joe that we had during his RoH run way back in the day.

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List your Top Five for this week's topic in the comment section using the following format:

5. CHOICE: Explanation
4. CHOICE: Explanation
3. CHOICE: Explanation
2. CHOICE: Explanation
1. CHOICE: Explanation


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