AEW Collision recently hosted an electrifying blast from the past as the iconic rivalry between Samoa Joe and CM Punk was reignited in the semifinals of the Owen Hart Cup. Their rivalry is steeped in history, with a legendary series of bouts from the mid-2000s in Ring of Honor that set a gold standard for the industry.
After two stalemates in the past, Punk managed to outmaneuver “The Samoan Submission Machine” in just over 15 minutes, avenging his past defeats. However, this didn’t come without a show of defiance from Joe, who managed to choke Punk out with his famed Coquina Clutch.
Speaking with Under The Ring, Joe reflected on this epic clash and the progress both he and Punk have made since their initial showdowns. “Just experience, a treasure trove of experience,” he said (h/t Fightful), emphasizing the growth both he and Punk have had since their Ring of Honor days. “When we first locked up, we were very new in the industry… we definitely knew a hell of a lot less back then.”
Punk advanced to the finals, where he encountered Ricky Starks. Starks controversially took the victory by securing the pin through underhanded tactics, using the ring ropes for leverage, thereby tainting the culmination of the Owen Hart Cup tournament.
The rekindling of the Samoa Joe and CM Punk rivalry is a testament to their storied careers, proving that they remain two of the most compelling performers in professional wrestling. Their unforgettable match on AEW Collision only serves to cement their legendary status.