CM Punk - The Windy City Winner or Second City Sucker?
Adz is back with his opinion once again. This time he's weighing in on the CM Punk rumours!
It’s been a funny old week for wrestling, hasn’t it? We have had rumours that Braun Strowman is returning to WWE, Nick Gage and Chavo Guerrero signing and showing up on AEW, Nikki A.S.H is the new WWE RAW women’s champion, Jay White showing up on Impact! And Daniel Bryan has apparently signed with AEW. But I’m not here to talk about that, I’m here to talk about what could potentially be the biggest return in wrestling history; The rumour that CM Punk has signed with AEW.
There have been a lot of reports on this and at this point before we get into things, I want to reiterate that they are just that, reports. There is no hard, concrete evidence that Punk HAS signed, so everything about Punk being in AEW at this minute is purely speculation.
I’m a HUGE CM Punk fan. I don’t care who you are, we all look back on the “Summer of Punk”, his record breaking (at the time) WWE title run fondly, and who can forget the most memorable promo in modern wrestling, Punk’s “Pipe bomb” (hard to believe that was 10 years ago!) Hate him or not, Punk ushered in new opportunities in “The Land of The Giants”.
CM Punk was undoubtedly a polarising character. On one hand you had the WWE and the image they project, and on the other hand you had the fans firmly behind the Second City Saviour who was everything the WWE image would steer away from. Alas, they couldn’t ignore him anymore and eventually we got that run we knew he deserved. Punk was on top, Punk was the man... Until WrestleMania, where the championship match featuring CM Punk vs Chris Jericho wasn’t the main event. Instead, it was the “once in a lifetime” ‘cept it was twice, match between The Rock and John Cena.
Punk took issue with the company not fully committing to making him “The Guy”, allegedly working injured with a staph infection in his elbow. Punk walked away after the Royal Rumble in 2014, where he lasted 49 minutes and 12 seconds. That was to be his last match in pro wrestling. Punk then went on to lose 2 fights in the UFC before appearing on WWE Backstage, and he hasn’t laced up his boots for a company since (unless you include the time, he wore a mask and showed up MKE Wrestling and dropped a GTS on Derek St. Holmes.)
So, the big question is this; Will CM Punk be any good? I’d have to think yes. The guy is extremely charismatic and was one of the better craftsmen in the business before stepping away. Now, CM Punk is one of those guys who demands perfection from himself in everything he does and has always been a true student of the game according to Paul Heyman, so I can’t see CM Punk showing up after 7 years away and not putting in the work prior to his “debut”.
Let’s be honest, if Punk did return it’s going to break the wrestling world no matter the company he shows up for, but the sheer magnitude of star power he would bring to AEW is what makes this situation rather unique. AEW has made huge waves in their short life, brought in some big names and grown some of their younger guys to become genuine fan favourite talents, but bringing in a name like Punk would be monumental. Imagine the matches with Kenny Omega and Adam Page, and promos between Eddie Kingston and Punk, as a fan I can’t help but salivate at the thought.
On the other side of the wrestling world, WWE insiders have also reportedly said that they believe Punk is signing with AEW. If it does happen, WWE will need to pull out all the stops to compete with such a huge debut, and this writer doesn’t think they have anything big enough in their bag of tricks to give something this astronomical a run for its money. What are they going to do, bring back Goldberg again? Oh... wait a minute...
That’s why there is such significance in all of this, it shows WWE that AEW are a real threat and have the money and a “wrestlers come first” system to back that threat up.
As stated before, there have been a lot of reports on the matter, and Punk has only fanned the flames of this with his cryptic Instagram story, where he posted the song Sirius by Alan Parsons Project after news broke that AEW had filed for the trademark of “The Last Dance”. For those that don’t know the significance of this, Sirius is the theme song of the Chicago Bulls, who’s most famous player is Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan recently had a documentary released on Netflix in 2020 with the name, you guessed it, "The Last Dance". The fans, doing what they do best, put two and two together and came out with what they believe to be four. More credence was leant to the rumours after Living Colour, the band that performs CM Punk’s signature entrance song, Cult of Personality, followed AEW on Twitter.
So, is this all just conspiracy or is there something to it? We know that in the past AEW have reached out to Punk and opened talks. We know that Punk is very good friends with the Young Bucks and we know that All Out is in Chicago with fans in attendance, which would be the perfect time to pull the trigger on a Punk return if the ammo is there. On the flip side to this, we know that Cody has reached out to Punk in the past via text which Punk has openly said he wasn't impressed with his approach, saying that this isn’t how business should be done, so there is definitely an argument for both sides.
What is important to note though, is CM Punk is more interested in talent he can work with, stories that he can tell and creative freedom. These things are more important to Punk than money, and I believe that Tony Khan would be a boss that would allow these things. Another company that has reportedly made a play for Punk is Ring of Honor, with whom Punk has a storied history with, so it remains to be seen if there is any weight to either statement and if there is, who Punk will sign with.
Needless to say, every fan has taken notice and all fans’ eyes are peeled to see what happens in the coming weeks. I would like to point out that if you’re one of those people that is going to get butt hurt and pissed off if Punk hasn’t signed and you’ve bought into the hype, just remember that is on YOU and NOT the company, so don’t be a dick and hurl abuse their way because you didn’t get your own way. Half of the fun in wrestling is getting caught up in the hype and enjoying the ride, that hype is in the nature of the sport. Hype and heartbreak go hand in hand, but that doesn’t give any reason to blame or berate a promotion because you feel let down.
The hype created around this has purely been created by the IWC. AEW hasn’t even made a comment, they haven’t referenced it and they haven’t even acknowledged it. The hype is on us and us alone. I personally am along for the ride, my tinfoil hat perched securely on my head, looking for any and all clues that point to a Punk debut, and you know what? I love it. Will I be disappointed if it’s not Punk? Who knows? Will I still enjoy AEW without Punk? Of course!
So, will Punk debut for AEW? I hope so! There is a lot of evidence that points towards it, but as previously stated, it’s nothing concrete and it's just speculation, but man I’d f*cking love it if he did. You know what? I’m “All In” (see what I did there?) and I’m going to go out on a limb and predict he will return, but then again, I am the kind of guy that puts a quid on Punk to return at every Royal Rumble, every year...
Let me know what you guys think of a CM Punk debut in AEW. How do you think it should be booked? Who would you like to see Punk go up against? Let me know in the comments below!