Vintage Vault “Pre-Viewing of Punk”: Armageddon 2008

CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio

We now come to the final PPV of 2008 and it has been quite the year for Punk as he started as ECW Champion, won the Money in the Bank, became World Champion, was World Tag Champion, and now has a chance to become Number One Contender for the IC Title. His year has been a rollercoaster ride as he has had a lot of highs, but even as World Champion he was never viewed as the top guy to the point that he ended up having the title stripped from him at Unforgiven and he never really got a shot to become champion again. On the other side, Mysterio has had a solid second half of the year since returning from injury and looks to win one of the few titles that he hasn’t won yet in his WWE career. On paper, this was a pretty low key dream match and these two seemed like they would have good chemistry, and going even further you could see the two having a feud down the line though right now they face off here in a one-off.

On the 11/24 RAW, it was announced that a tournament would be held to determine the Number One Contender to the IC Champion William Regal with the finals taking place at the PPV, and that night Kofi Kingston defeated Kane while Punk defeated Snitsky to advance. On the 12/1 RAW, John Morrison defeated Finlay and Mysterio defeated the Miz to advance and on the 12/8 RAW, Punk defeated Morrison and Mysterio defeated Kingston to advance to the finals, but the night before at a house show Punk and Kingston lost the World Tag Team Championships to Morrison and Miz. This was an interesting final as it could go either way though with Punk now coming in without the tag titles, it may seem like a given that he was going to win though Mysterio winning would’ve made sense too.

Both men get a good pop from the crowd and they are pretty split for the whole match, and William Regal and Layla come out and sit at ringside to watch the match. The two men shake hands to start the match and they lock up with Mysterio working on the arm as he takes Punk to the mat, and Punk escapes with a crucifix for a one count and they lock up with Mysterio hooking a rollup for a one count. They tease a test of strength as Punk goes behind Mysterio and trips him up before hooking a submission on, and he floats over into a front facelock as Mysterio escapes and goes back to the arm before going behind Punk and he hits a drop toehold. He floats over into the front facelock on Punk who escapes and works the arm before hooking a headlock, and he knocks Mysterio down twice for a pair of one counts as Mysterio trips him up for a one count. He trips Punk up again and hooks a rollup for a two count as Punk gets a kick in and Mysterio counters a whip, and Punk slides under Mysterio who hits a drop toehold that sends Punk into the ropes and looks for the 619 only for Punk to hit a pair of armdrags. He hoists Mysterio onto his shoulders and Mysterio escapes with an armdrag though Punk backdrops him over the top to the floor, and Punk hits a slingshot plancha onto Mysterio on the floor and throws him back into the ring for a two count. He hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Mysterio for a two count and hooks a submission on before hooking a rollup for a two count, and he kicks at Mysterio’s leg and whips him into the corner as he catches him on a leap and sends him over the top with Mysterio landing on the apron. Mysterio gets a pair of shoulders in and pounds on Punk before going up top only for Punk to crotch him on the top rope with Mysterio falling into the tree of woe, and he kicks Mysterio in the back twice only for Mysterio to avoid a running knee as Punk hits the corner. Mysterio sets himself on the top rope and hits a moonsault on Punk for a two count as he kicks at his leg, and Punk catches Mysterio ducking by whipping him into the ropes and he hits a powerslam for a two count. Punk hooks another submission on Mysterio who reaches for the ropes only for Punk to transition into another submission, and Mysterio finally reaches the ropes to force a break and ducks a kick attempt as he hits a headscissors takedown into an armbar on Punk. Punk reaches the ropes to force a break and Mysterio goes out to the apron as he gets a shoulder in and he kicks at Punk, and he hits a springboard dropkick that sends Punk to the outside before going up top and he hits a crossbody onto Punk on the floor. He throws Punk back into the ring and hits a springboard seated senton before ducking a shot and he hits a springboard crossbody for a two count, and he leaps onto Punk’s shoulders and hooks a victory roll for a two count as Punk rolls through for a two count. They exchange kicks until Punk catches a kick attempt and shoves Mysterio into the corner only to miss the running knee, and Mysterio charges only for Punk to launch him into the corner and he hits the running knee and bulldog for a two count. Mysterio escapes a suplex attempt and Punk hits a back elbow only for Mysterio to flip him to the mat, and he hooks a rollup for a two count and Punk gets a kick in only for Mysterio to send Punk throat first into the ropes. Punk avoids the 619 and hoists Mysterio onto his shoulders though Mysterio counters the Go 2 Sleep with a hurricanrana, and Punk falls into the ropes and Mysterio hits the 619 only to miss the springboard splash. Mysterio recovers and hooks a crucifix for a two count as he catches Punk with a back elbow and leaps onto his shoulders, but Punk counters a hurricanrana and hits the Go 2 Sleep on Mysterio which gets the three and he wins the match. After the match, Punk helps Mysterio to his feet and they embrace out of respect as Mysterio heads to the back and Punk celebrates while Regal applauds from ringside.

The match itself was really good as both men worked hard and put on a bit of a hidden gem of a match. You knew that we were going to get a good match when these two made it to the finals and as I said, this was a bit of a low key dream match and you hoped that they would be able to mesh well together. Sure enough, they did as they had great chemistry together and the match was perfectly timed at 12 minutes which was just the right amount of time for them, and while it seemed fairly obvious that Punk would win it wasn’t a sure thing as a Mysterio/Regal feud could’ve been fun as well. After having a couple of rough months, this was a big win for Punk to get him back on track while Mysterio was bulletproof and wouldn’t get hurt by the loss, and now the only question was would Punk end up being the one to end Regal’s reign or if he will just be another challenger that falls short. The crowd was hot for the whole match and popped big for Punk when he won. Punk gets the win over Mysterio and is the Number One Contender for the IC Title as he now sets his sights on Regal heading into 2009.

Final Grade: ***3/4