Early 2013 Match Of The Year Candidates

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5 StarsI realize it’s early for Match of the Year candidates but below are the two clear candidates that have taken place in WWE this year.  I can’t really explain the inspiration behind this post other than I was thinking about my list for this year.  I really wanted to add The Shield’s bout at WWE TLC but that was last year.  I assume we could add their match from Elimination Chamber and while it was good, it didn’t match the TLC bout nor is it in the category of my two early candidate.  Check them out after the jump.

CM Punk vs. John Cena – 2/25 WWE Raw

The bout carried the stipulation of “winner gets to face The Rock for the WWE title at Wrestlemania 29. Let’s look back at the match from the result report by Kendra Bunyon:

Cena vs Punk – winner faces The Rock for WWE Championship at WrestleMania

Punk out to the ring in his normal way, then on his knees on the mat waiting for Cena. Cena out to face him. Justin into the ring to announce each of them. Punk shows off his tape and X’s. Cena actually gets some decent pop.

Dueling chants for Cena as Punk and Cena lock up. They muscle back and forth. Side headlock on Cena, takes Cena down, keeps the hold. Cena finally free, flips Punk to the mat. They scrabble around, but and forth on the man. Punk to the ropes, so Cena has to let Punk free. They lock up. Side headlock takeover on Cena. Punk keeps the hold on. Punk runs the ropes over and under Cena, then into a hip toss. Punk rolls out to regroup.

Body drop on Punk, then a fisherman’s suplex. Punk sidesteps Cena and Cena eats corner. Elbows to the back of Cena’s neck. Neck breaker on Cena for two. Punk with head scissors on Cena on the mat. The fans get clapping a bit, but not much more until Cena gets to his feet with Punk still wrapped around his neck. Electric chair. Punk rushes Cena in a corner and eats feet. Running bulldog on Punk for two.

CM Punk vs. John CenaFront facelock on Punk on the mat. They say Cena is 245lbs, but when announcing him he was 251lbs! 6Lbs in 8 minutes, not bad! Cena runs into a heel kick for a long two. Chinlock on Cena on the mat. Chants for Cena, mostly women and children as Cena to his feet and punches free. Cena telegraphs and is kicked. Shoulder tackle from Cena, but Punk ducks the second one and Cena ends up flying from the ring. Punk with a suicide dive through the ropes on Cena. Cena rolled back into the ring.

Abdominal stretch on Cena. Cena free, but both moving slow. During the commercial was a sick DDT from Cena. Cena with a couple shoulder blocks, but then Punk reverses into an anaconda hold, but then Punk’s shoulders down, so he let go. Swinging neck breaker on Cena for a long two. Punk calls for the GTS, but then Cena grabs Punk’s leg. Punk to the ropes, then off the top rope with a big clothesline for a long two.

Punk on the apron, launches off the top rope, but runs into Cena’s reversal and Cena locks on the STF. Punk, somehow reverses into the anaconda! Cena counters and reverses into the STF. Punk rolls over and pins Cena for two. Cena has to let go. Both men are left gasping on the mat.

They exchange blows, really selling each blow. Upper cuts, forearms, then a head butt from Punk. Blows from Cena, then a kick from Punk. Back slam on Punk, but then Punk gets Cena up, Cena counters. Punk then counters and pins Cena for two. High knee is ‘vintage’ Punk. Cena ducks the running bulldog, but Cena slams Punk and hits the 5 knuckle shuffle. Punk up for the AA, but Punk free. Cena hits a POWERBOMB on Punk for a long two.

Both men are down, the ref checks on Cena as they replay the bomb. Cena climbs, struggles to get up there, takes way too long, waiting for Punk to get up there with him. Forearms to Cena’s head. Punk up there, grabs Cena. Cena powers Punk and head butts knocking Punk to the mat. Cena’s huge leg drop on Punk for two!?

Again both men are on the mat struggling to gain their breaths and control. Punk kicks Cena in the back of the head, but Punk is struggling to stand straight. Again that high knee on Cena, but Cena comes out with an AA! Cena pins, but Punk kicks out! Punk rolls out, Cena out after him. Punk sends Cena face first into the same post Brock hit. The ref has been counting the whole time they were out. Punk back in, but Super Cena makes it back at 9!

Punk gets Cena up, GTS, but Cena kicks out. The fans are wild, and even Cole and King are in shock! Cena counters Punk and locks on the STF. Punk is screaming, about to tap, but then Punk starts to crawl, struggles and makes it to the ropes. Cena has to break the hold.

Cena heads for Punk, Punk kicks Cena’s knee out, then hits a sit down PILEDRIVER on Cena, but only for two! Punk keeps trying, but only gets two each time. Clear and loud dueling chants for Cena. Punk climbs, points, but Cena moves and avoids the Savage elbow, then Cena hits a hurricanranna on Punk! An AA and Cena gets the three.

Winner – Cena (26:50)

Below is Kendra’s reaction to it:

Normally I don’t say anything here, just wait for the RAW Is Blogged, but I cannot hold my tongue after what we just witnessed. That was one of the best matches the WWE has put on in… possibly since WrestleMania. That was more than a PPV level match, that’s a match that would have me cheering during WrestleMania. I’m going to watch it again tomorrow for the sheer pleasure of watching it. That was so good, so exciting, so well executed, and so much fun that my hands are shaking. Normally I’d be bouncing around in my seat, but trying to get every word down for you kept me in my seat and focused. Hopefully you enjoyed it as much as I did, and have some restored faith in Cena’s ring work, as I also do. Tomorrow’s RAW Is Blogged is going to be so much fun after such a great match.

You can read Kendra’s full thoughts here on Raw is Blogged.

WWE initially posted the match in its entirety on YouTube but have since removed it. You can watch the final minutes in the video embedded below:

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  • Steven

    I think the Cena-Punk match is going to be a tough one to beat. We knew Cena was going to win and face the Rock at Wrestlemania, so it took a remarkable effort on both their parts to present a match that kept us on the edge of our seats throughout it.

  • Jeffery Baker

    ^^ Yep …. Cena vs. Punk is going to be pretty difficult to top.

    • Louis

      Well, both those matches were just topped two weeks ago by another match from a another company. Dave Meltzer just gave a 5-Star rating to the participants of the 2012 W.O.N. Awards' Feud Of The Year. It came from New Japan Pro Wrestling's Invasion Attack. The match: Hiroshi Tanahashi Vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

      Here's the match, enjoy: