Vintage Vault “Pre-Viewing of Punk”: Judgment Day 2007

CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke

So with the return to 2007, that also means the return of the “Previewing of Punk” which I had started when Punk made his PPV debut back in 2006, and given Punk’s recent return to the wrestling business it felt even more fitting. Coming out of Wrestlemania, there were some that were wondering where Punk was headed given that the ECW Title was involved in the Lashley/McMahon feud and he seemed to be spinning his wheels after his performance at WM. Between that and the ongoing feud between the ECW Originals and the New Breed, it appeared that Punk was on the outside looking in and you have to wonder if maybe it was already time to move him onto either RAW or Smackdown. Ultimately, he was put into the feud between the Originals and New Breed just to keep him involved with something major and now he was going to finally get a chance to shine here on PPV which was big given the PPVs were now tri-branded and only certain feuds would get featured.

Following Wrestlemania on the 4/3 ECW, the New Breed made their first pitch to Punk about joining them and later that night, they would defeat the ECW Originals in a WM Extreme Rules rematch. On the 4/10 ECW, Rob Van Dam and Elijah Burke both tried to pitch their case to Punk who said he would make a decision later that night, and Punk would defeat Stevie Richards in a match that saw Matt Striker and the Sandman watch from ringside and a brawl broke out with Sandman hitting Punk with the Singapore cane by mistake. At the end of the night, Burke would cost RVD a match against Marcus Cor Von and Punk would come out seemingly to help RVD and Sabu only to join the New Breed. On the 4/17 ECW, Punk was challenged by RVD only for Burke to take the challenge himself and Punk would accidentally cost Burke the match, and on the 4/24 ECW Punk would seemingly try and turn the New Breed against Burke who began to wonder if Punk belonged in the group. Later that night, the Originals defeated the New Breed in an elimination match and Punk would give Burke the Go 2 Sleep after the match due to Burke having Punk sit out of the match. On the 5/1 ECW, Punk was kicked out of the New Breed and he would defeat Kevin Thorn in a match as this match was announced, and on the 5/8 ECW Burke would cost Punk a match against Cor Von and they would injure his ribs. The feud was pretty well built going into this show as not only was this a good opportunity for Punk, but this was a big moment for Burke as well as he seemed to be looking at a potential breakout.

Punk gets a good pop from the crowd as he comes out with his ribs heavily taped up while Burke had solid heat as a heel. The two men square off to start the match as Punk goes behind Burke who turns it around and he pounds on Punk’s back, but Punk battles back and kicks at Burke before hooking a headlock as Burke gets a shot in on the ribs. Punk kicks at Burke twice and pounds on him in the corner as Burke turns it around and the ref gets between them with Punk avoiding a shot, and they lock up with Burke backing Punk into the corner and he pounds on him before stomping on him repeatedly. Punk reverses a whip into the other corner and kicks at Burke as he hits a snapmare and kicks him in the back, and he hits a slam on Burke for a two count and hooks a submission on as Burke fights to his feet and escapes with an armdrag. Burke kicks at Punk twice and pounds on him before ramming the knee into the ribs and he kicks at him again, and Punk escapes a slam attempt and kicks at Burke twice before hitting a modified suplex for a two count. He pounds on Burke in the corner and kicks at him before whipping him into the other corner and splashing him, and he hits a delayed suplex on Burke for a two count and goes back to the submission as Burke fights to his feet and breaks the hold. He pounds on Punk in the corner only for Punk to reverse a whip into the other corner and he kicks at Burke, and he pounds on Burke in the corner and whips him into the other corner as Burke leaps over him and Punk hits a springboard reverse crossbody for a two count. Burke recovers first and gets a kick in as he whips Punk hard into the corner and drives the shoulder into the ribs twice, but Punk catches him with a kick on a third attempt and pounds on him as he whips him into the corner only for Burke to send Punk over the top to the floor. He pulls Punk onto the apron only for Punk to block a suplex back into the ring and he slides under him before hooking a sunset flip for a two count, and Punk takes Burke back to the mat with the headlock as Burke fights to his feet and whips him off only for Punk to knock him down. Both men block a hiptoss attempt and Punk hoists Burke onto his shoulders as Burke grabs the rope and Punk tosses him over the top with Burke landing on the apron, and Punk gets a shot in and hits a springboard dropkick that sends Burke to the floor and then Punk hits a suicide dive onto Burke. He throws Burke back into the ring and gets a two count as Burke begs off and Punk kicks at him until Burke rakes the eyes, and he whips Punk into the corner only for Punk to catch him with a back elbow and he leaps up top as Burke pulls him back down to the mat. He stomps on Punk and drives the elbow into his back twice for a two count before kicking at him and ripping the tape off, and he hoists Punk up for a suplex and drops him on the top rope before kicking at him for a two count. He hooks a submission on Punk who fights out of the hold only for Burke to hit a suplex and a back suplex on Punk for a two count, and he goes back to the submission on Punk who pounds on Burke to escape the hold and they botch a whip attempt as both try to get a kick in. Burke blocks a suplex attempt with a small package for a two count and Punk reverses a whip as Burke catches him with a boot to the face, and Burke goes up top only for Punk to nail him first as he goes up himself and hits a superplex on Burke. The two men trade blows with Punk taking control and he hits a pair of clotheslines on Burke who reverses a whip and Punk slides under him, and Burke catches a kick attempt only for Punk to hit an enzurgiri for a two count and he rams the knees into Burke repeatedly. He whips Burke into the corner and hits the running knee only for Burke to counter the running bulldog by ramming Punk into the corner, and Punk avoids the Elijah Express and hoists Burke onto his shoulders only for Burke to fight out of the Go 2 Sleep and he hits the Elijah Experience for a two count. He puts Punk on the top rope and pounds on him before hitting the Elijah Express as Punk falls into the tree of woe, and the ref helps Punk out of the tree of woe and Burke gets a two count before attempting another Elijah Experience only for Punk to hoist Burke onto his shoulders and he hits the Go 2 Sleep which gets the three and he wins the match.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard and put on a solid match though it was a bit disappointing given who was involved and how much time they were given. As mentioned, it was pretty clear that Burke was seen as a potential future star and we all know how everyone felt about Punk, and they had some solid build for the feud including teasing the heel turn from Punk but for some reason it just didn’t click completely on this night. Again, they gave them plenty of time to work with as they got almost 18 minutes which is pretty good given some of the big matches that were on this card, but for some reason what could’ve been a potential show stealer of a match ended up being a very good match. It was fairly obvious that Punk was going to win as they wanted to keep him strong for something bigger and Burke could take the loss without losing much heat, and they did have decent chemistry but again it seemed like they were a bit off on this night and didn’t hit the next level that they could’ve. The crowd was into the match and popped for Punk when he won. Punk gets the win over Burke though this issue isn’t quite over yet.

Grade: ***1/4