The main event of tonight’s (July 8) episode of AEW Collision featured CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe in the semifinal round of the men’s Owen Hart tournament.
This is arguably the biggest match of the entire tourney, given the star power of both men and their storied rivalry going back 20 years. One point of emphasis heading into the bout is that Punk has never beaten Joe. Would anything change nearly two decades after their last singles match against each other?
Joe dominated a good portion of the match, leaving Punk
blown up exhausted late in the fight and unable to keep Joe up on his shoulders for the GTS finisher. Joe got behind Punk and locked in the choke. But even though Punk was tired and gasping for air, the wily vet slipped through Joe’s grip and rolled him up for the win. Joe couldn’t believe that he lost.
The crowd chanted for Owen Hart after the match while Punk and Joe stared at each other. Samoa extended his hand to CM, whether out of respect or simply to appreciate that competing in the memory of Owen was bigger than a win or loss in this match.
Punk accepted the handshake, but it turned out to be a big mistake. Joe immediately put him to sleep, screaming out that he’s always been better than Punk. Joe then grabbed a steel chair and had something worse in mind for Punk, but FTR came out for the save.
It looks like Punk vs. Joe is far from over, but in the immediate short term this means we’re getting Punk vs. Ricky Starks in the final match of the tournament next week on Collision.
What did you think of the 2023 iteration of Punk vs. Joe, Cagesiders?