Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Saturday, June 04, 2022

2022 Ongoing MOTY List: Punk vs. Dax

8. CM Punk vs. Dax Harwood AEW Dynamite 3/23

ER: Phil did some of his best work writing up this match for The Ringer, and Matt did a nice job covering this same match on this very site, and now I'm adding it to our 2022 MOTY List. I really liked Phil's take. I think he's the only one I read who approached the best takeaway from this match. I saw a lot of talk online about the Bret influence on the match, and I didn't prioritize the match due to my own lack of interest in seeing more tribute spots to a wrestler that I love, who still has a long list of matches that I've never seen. I love Punk, but seeing people talk about spots lifted from Bret matches just makes me want to go watch several Bret matches instead. This match was not about lifting sequences from old Bret matches, it was more about the Bret influence on modern wrestling, and how you can still show your influences on your sleeve without being derivative. All of the comparisons to Bret Hart classics do matches like this a disservice. These two connect in different ways, and have different strengths, but I guess it's always more interesting compare good wrestlers to another good wrestler, than to note broadly that "these two are influenced by good wrestling matches". This was a simply constructed match that hinted at moves early and paid them off later, and some moves hit early that lead to different results later. 

There are a couple of really big moments that happened at smart parts of the match, with a big superplex as the centerpiece. I really liked every around that moment, with Punk going up top and showboating a bit with some extended Macho Man arms and then immediately realized how he fucked up when Dax swept his legs. The superplex was really good, Dax pushing hard off the top rope with his legs, and I also like how they handled the vertical suplex reversal not long after, ending with both tumbling over the top and ricocheting off the apron. All of the Sharpshooter work was great, although I wish they had done a bit more with Dax getting kicked off and hitting his head on the bottom turnbuckle. Coming not long after a superplex, another shot to the back of the head could have taken things in a more interesting direction. That said, I do like how Dax sold the kick off and how he staggered into a very close nearfall right after. When he finally gets the Sharpshooter locked on, Harwood can proudly state that in a world where almost every person who attempts it has the worst Sharpshooter ever, his is much closer to Bret or Choshu than the rest. I would have bought that Sharpshooter as the finish, but I loved the quickness and the slyness of Punk's Anaconda Vise. There was a cold methodical killer aspect to it, but also a touch of desperation. If not desperation, than still the work of a man who knew that NOW was the time to end things if possible. 


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