#23 CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan: Champion vs. Champion Match (Feb. 27, 2012)
Every rivalry has a meaning and a beginning. For CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, it was all about proving their mettle as world champions, just months into their respective reigns, and what better way to do that than in a Champion vs. Champion Match. Days after their first stellar battle ended in controversial fashion on SmackDown, Punk and Bryan kicked off Raw SuperShow with another competitive back-and-forth affair.
As Raw GM John Laurinaitis and SmackDown GM Teddy Long traded verbal barbs at the announce table, Punk and Bryan exchanged much fiercer blows in and out of the ring. After Bryan delivered a series of vicious kicks to Punk’s back and midsection, The Straight Edge Superstar punished Bryan with a spinning heel kick, running high knee and a top-rope elbow drop, but none of it was enough. A mid-air collision took out both Superstars before David Otunga’s interference led to chaos, with Laurinaitis stopping the referee’s count when Punk hit the Go to Sleep. The bout ended in a No Contest and left Punk and Bryan with a lingering score to settle. (WATCH)
#17 CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler (Nov. 21, 2011)
On the Nov. 21, 2011 episode of Raw, two of WWE’s brightest stars locked up in a memorable contest that became one of Raw’s best ever. WWE Champion CM Punk battled U.S. Champion Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match, but judging by the competitiveness of the contest, you wouldn’t even know the titles weren’t on the line.
Convinced that he was, in fact, the new face of WWE, Ziggler looked to knock Punk off as WWE’s top dog, but The Straight Edge Superstar wasn’t going down that easy. The fast-paced contest shifted momentum back and forth between the two Superstars, leaving the WWE Universe gasping for air with every near fall. As Ziggler appeared to have a clear edge over the WWE Champion, Punk caught the bleached blond off guard, and scored with a devastating GTS to secure a thrilling victory. (WATCH)