WrestleMania 10 in 10: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk, WrestleMania XXVI
We’re six days out from WrestleMania XXX, and NZPWI is counting down the 10 best matches from the last 10 years of the showcase of the immortals.
We’re covering 10 different matches featuring 13 different superstars held at seven different WrestleManias over the past decade. Will your favourite make the list?
Number six in our countdown is a match from WrestleMania XXVIII, with the WWE Championship on the line. However, as important as the title was a matter of pride between the two men involved.
Join us as we profile Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk, a match that truly determined who was the best in the world.
NZPWI’s 10 BEST WRESTLEMANIA MATCHES OF THE LAST 10 YEARS
#6: CHRIS JERICHO VS. CM PUNK (WRESTLEMANIA XXVIII)
Chris Jericho returned to WWE for one reason only – to take down the pretender to his throne, the WWE Champion CM Punk.
But Jericho didn’t want to just beat Punk at a wrestling match. He wanted to beat Punk mentally. As their championship match grew closer, he tried everything to get into the champion’s head. He attacked Punk’s straight edge lifestyle, the alcoholism of Punk’s father and the drug addiction of his sister.
Punk was incensed that his personal business was being aired. But his frustration become focus, as Punk dropped a pipebomb on Jericho, stating that “I was here swimming sharks, while you were dancing with stars.”
The issue at hand though, the one lying beneath the quest for the title, was both men truly believing they should be known as the best.
At the last moment before the match, CM Punk was informed that if he got disqualified, he’d lose the championship. It was now necessary that the champion keep his composure, no matter how much he wanted to tear apart the challenger for what he’d done.
Jericho took full advantage of this early on, slapping Punk repeatedly, begging him to lose control. He then took to verbally insulting Punk’s father and sister. Punk struggled to keep it together. His title was on the line and the devil in his DNA was threatening to take over. But restraint was found before he could take off Jericho’s head with a steel chair.
The match delivered everything that you’d expect from two of the all-time greats. Once it hit high gear, it stayed there. They traded signature moves, with the other always knowing how to counter. The battle seemed even at every turn and the action was electric.
The end came after a stunning series of submission move attempts. The Walls of Jericho and Anaconda Vice switched back and forth until Punk got the perfect positioning. Jericho was unable to move and had little option but to tap out. This would be one of the best and most personal victories for the champion, and helped cement his legacy.
Jericho would flow in and out of the WWE after this, appearing for months at a time and having some of the best matches on the card, while spending his spare time working on a variety of musical and acting projects.
CM Punk held on to the WWE Championship for a total of 434 days, the longest reign of the modern era. For reasons known only to him, he left WWE the night after the Royal Rumble and is currently enjoying life in Chicago as simply Phil Brooks.
But the name he goes by doesn’t matter. A Punk by any other name will still be forever known as the Best in the World.
#10: MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH (WRESTLEMANIA 21)
#9: EDGE VS. UNDERTAKER (WRESTLEMANIA XXIV)
#8: TRIPLE H VS. UNDERTAKER (WRESTLEMANIA XXVIII)
#7: RIC FLAIR VS. SHAWN MICHAELS (WRESTLEMANIA XXIV)