CM Punk vs. Raven
Dog Collar Match
July 19, 2003
ROH Death Before Dishonor

Reviewed by Alex Wendland (VOW Author Page)

Gifted by Aaron Taube (VOW Author Page)

CM Punk blurs the lines between his character as the savior of an entire wrestling company and his real-life persona as a disingenuous, sanctimonious prick. His counterpart uses substances to dull his self-doubt and anxiety, but together they were able to create a brief streak of magic as they toed the line between fantasy and reality.
Sound familiar? All we missed in 2022 was a Tommy Dreamer run-in.

This brutal, bloody, brillant dog collar match feels like a time machine to 2022 Punk’s run in AEW. Never accused of being the cleanest or smoothest worker, CM Punk (and Raven for that matter) always brought the emotion–and violence–to big time matches. Punk even acknowledged the parallels to this match directly in his Revolution 2022 dog collar redux against MJF when he wore the white basketball shorts and entered the arena to AFI’s Miseria Cantare. And just like his AEW run, Punk and Raven popped the biggest house in ROH history at the time.

Punk’s in-character contempt for perceived human weakness drove his formative feud with Raven, but somewhere along the way, in the ensuing 20 years, Punk’s thin skin and holier-than-thou attitude bubbled to the surface in real life.

It’s almost shocking how this 20-year-old storyline feels ripped from the headlines of the recent AEW history. Punk’s crusades against moral and ethical offenders always route back to Punk’s own self-righteousness. In both storyline and real life, Punk cannot reconcile is lofty principles against those who don’t meet his standard–himself included, resulting in constant self-destruction. And maybe a beer to the face.

Regardless of where his on-screen character takes him, CM Punk is and always will be the savior in his own mind. Then, Now, Forever.

This is an ROH match, so I am required by VOW law to guess that it was gifted to me by Sean Sedor.