samoa joe

Samoa Joe Reflects On First Time-Limit Draw With CM Punk

The Watch List takes a look at what matches you should be watching and they come recommended by today’s professional wrestling stars.

WrestleZone recently spoke with Samoa Joe, who was asked about his memories of competing in Dayton, Ohio. Joe regained the TNT Champion from Darby Allin during AEW’s recent stop in the city, but he also competed there against CM Punk in one of his most memorable matches.


“Dayton, first and foremost, is kind of really an unsung wrestling town. From the gardens to the fairgrounds,” Joe said, “To all the different venues where a lot of wrestling [took place]. But of course, the [time limit] draw with [CM] Punk. That was Dayton, Ohio. Every time we step through there, Ohio shows out. So, Dayton is a great town to get down there.”

Samoa Joe and CM Punk went to a time-limit draw at ROH World Title Classic on June 12, 2004. The two had faced off before, but this match was the first of their now-revered trilogy of matches for the ROH World Championship. Asked if there’s anything that still stands out in his mind, Joe noted how impromptu the first match actually was.

“I think there’s a lot of things that stand out. I think something that’s kind of relevant to today and maybe put some people’s mind at ease in our industry. A lot of that came together, hours before. This is something that was not this overthought think-piece, that was done out over several days. We were forced into a situation,” Joe explained. “I believe [Steve] Corino was stuck in Japan or it was something of that ilk where he had two commitments and couldn’t just make it back in time. And Dayton was a new market, I think I believe at that time, too. We needed to have a strong showing.

“Every time ROH came into a new market, we had to have a strong showing. There was no choice. If we didn’t, we were dead in that area. A hit like that at a company at that time in its infancy would have been devastating, to invest the money, to go out there and have it be like a failed venture. So, we had to deliver every time we went into a new area and keep fans coming back. So, talking with Gabe [Sapolsky] and Punk at the time just it seemed like a crazy idea. I may have been a little bit inebriated when I agreed to it,” Joe quipped, “but when I woke up in the morning, I kind of wrapped my head around it and said, ‘All right, let’s go.’”

Match List

Check out some free-to-watch full-length matches from Samoa Joe’s career, including the first time-limit draw from the Dayton show.

  • Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk — ROH World Title Classic, June 12, 2004
  • Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle — TNA Genesis, November 19, 2006
  • Samoa Joe vs. Chris Hero — Smash Kicks ALS, June 6, 2015
  • Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet — WWE Stomping Grounds, June 23, 2019