CM Punk vs. Austin Aries: Finally, An Inter-Promotional Dream Match

I remember growing up in the 80’s and fantasy booking a match between Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Then I’d switch it up and pit The Hulkster against Lex Luger. My under-card would be a toss up of either Randy Savage or Ultimate Warrior vs. Sting, Bret Hart vs. Stunning Steve Austin, and Demolition vs. The Road Warriors.

All of those dream matches ended up happening one way or another. Most of them occurring when the talents were far past their primes and unable to fulfill my boyhood expectations. But there is one match that stands out far above the rest, and perhaps it is because there is a history on the indy scene, or maybe it’s because they are one of the top three performers for their respective brand.

CM Punk vs. Austin Aries …. need I say more?

As a fan of pro wrestling and NOT entertainment, I absolutely loved the encounters CM Punk engaged in against Daniel Bryan earlier this year. What infuriated me was the lack of thought put into the storylines and how such quality was wasted and essentially given away for free on television for over a month. Aries didn’t really have many memorable matches in TNA, but that is because of the lack of talent able to match up with him, but his talent was noticed enough to put him into a genuine program against another underrated great in Bobby Roode. Surprisingly, TNA took the well deserved chance on him and gave him a brief moment to shine as their headline champion. And for a moment, the wrestling world stood still. There were two champions who were a symbol of pure wrestling. For a moment, fans rejoiced that wrestling was once again wrestling. Unfortunately, it was only for a moment.

Seven years ago in Morristown, New Jersey, this dream match actually happened at ROH’s Death Before Dishonor. Punk and Aries wrestled for an exhausting 30 minutes, with Punk walking out as the victor via pinfall.

Seven years ago, Aries may have fallen to the hands of hunger and experience, but today, Aries could be the one to strike fear in the heart of Punk. Punk has already tasted the life and is now among the WWE elite, while Aries’ future is still uncertain. The tale of the tape shows Aries at the top of his game, and perhaps, he’s even surpassed Punk. His mat skills may slightly edge Punk’s; his air skills certainly do. Punk may be stronger, but Aries is without a doubt quicker. Both are aged at 34 years, but Punk seems to have a lot more mileage on him. The WWE workload has taken a toll on his body while TNA has more off time than the New York Mets.

Punk has faced better competition during those years and has worked larger scale shows such as Wrestlemania, which would play a factor in one’s mental state of performing. And this is where the tale of the tape switches over to Punk’s favor. Punk has performed at the top of his game on numerous monthly events in front of sold out crowds of tens of thousands. Add in the top five yearly PPVs, and Punk is wrestling in front of crowds between 30,000 and 90,000 fans. Aries still wrestles small indy drawing house shows that struggle to draw 3,000 – including their own Impact Zone at Universal Studios.

Two years ago, Aries was on the verge of quitting the business. He had been released by Ring of Honor and was unsigned by either WWE or TNA. In 2012, there aren’t many other options. There are two ways to look at that story. You can see it as a guy who almost gave up on his dream, or as a guy who fight his way back to the top. Ironically, CM Punk’s WWE career was holds similar truths.

So in the end, who wins this dream match? CM Punk or Austin Aries. In my opinion, their current positions in their organizations show they’ve both already won. But who wins in a match?… Who gives a shit? Just make it happen!

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