This was more of a "big moment" thing than it was about the match itself. I wrote about the New York City PPV live, though, so let's share that play by play followed by some analysis.
Match Details: There is a big match feel for this match. I love it. The crowd is ridiculously hot for Punk already. There are also early chants for "ice cream bars" and "Colt Cabana," which is damn cool. The majority of the first ten minutes of the match had CM Punk taking advantage for some good nearfalls.
Del Rio was able to counter the GTS with the Backstabber for two. Punk fought back with a rollup for two, then a charge missed and Del Rio hit an enziguiri kick for two again. Nice armbreaker by Del Rio to seize control again. Punk fought back. He went to the top for a Randy Savage elbow, but Del Rio crotched him on the top rope. Del Rio continued to work on the left arm. He charged in the corner, Punk avoided it and ADR went crashing into the steel post. Now Punk goes for the top rope Savage elbow. That gets two and it also leads to another “Randy Savage” chant.
Punk goes for the GTS, ADR avoided it and he managed to put the Cross Armbreaker on Punk’s left arm. Punk was screaming in pain. He made it to the ropes. Punk went for the GTS, couldn’t lift him and ended up kicking Ricardo in the head. Then he kicked Del Rio in head. Punk went for the cover. It got two. He quickly put him in the Anaconda Vice. Del Rio tapped. Punk won the WWE Title via submission in 15 minutes.
Post match, Punk celebrated in the crowd. He jumped into the crowd twice. It was a massive pop. It was one of the loudest reactions you will ever hear for somebody winning a major title. That’s why Madison Square Garden is special. Punk seemed genuinely happy about it and the crowd loved him for that.
Analysis: It was slow for the first ten minutes, but they picked up the pace later on and put on a great finishing sequence. Punk winning with a move other than the GTS was a nice change of pace because it shows he can beat you in different ways.
They did a lot of little things in the match like when Punk had Howard Finkel, who was in tears by simply being part of the event, introduce him to the match to counter Ricardo Rodriguez' introduction of Alberto Del Rio.
The celebration of Punk also made it feel like a big deal as well. It wasn't like any other WWE Title win. It was a wrestling fan winning the ultimate prize in the "World's Most Famous Arena" and celebrating with his fans in a way that showed just how much he loves the wrestling business.
Here we are 298 days later. Punk is still WWE Champion. This win was the start of something special whether we realized it in November 2011 or not.