The wrestling world is buzzing with anticipation as All-Elite Wrestling (AEW) continues to grow its roster and potential.
The brainchild of independent wrestling sensations Cody Rhodes, the Young Bucks, and others, has already been landing big names who drive rating and sell tickets. Former WWE and WCW star Chris Jericho is a lock, and there’s even rumors New Japan Pro Wrestling sensation Kenny Omega may make an appearance.
But no talent is so elusive these days as CM Punk – once the longest reigning champion of the modern era (and still if you don’t count that horrible red belt), Punk was a rare example of an independent talent who made it into the big leagues despite arguably not fitting the formula for success.
In addition to his independent background, Punk was also more of a leaner, athletic wrestler than a heavy, powerhouse wrestler. Combine that with his tattoos, and he didn’t necessarily look the part. But he had a dedicated following and stellar mic skills.
After a solid career, Punk was arguably planning to leave WWE when he launched a promo that was part shoot (real), creating a buzz and spawning “The Summer of Punk.” However, dissatisfied with the decisions of upper management and therefore disenchanted with wrestling altogether, Punk called it quits.
He tried his luck in professional MMA, which went about as well as anyone could expect given his lack of any experience. Posting a 0-2 record as of 2019, his future is questionable in the least. While he has landed MMA commentary jobs and spent some time working on comics, some wonder – what would happen if wrestling’s hottest (retired) free agent got signed by All Elite Wrestling?
Punk was contacted about the promotion’s first show, which did impressive business even without him. Punk just doesn’t seem to be interested in returning to wrestling. But there is always the conspiratorial possibility he could return.
Punk isn’t just a man who left WWE – he’s voiced his displeasure with the company and was arguably targeted as a result. Punk’s decision to walk out of the company unceremoniously could’ve been a bitter point for Punk, who officially received his termination papers on his wedding day. On Steve Austin’s podcast, company owner Vince McMahon claimed the date was simply an unfortunate accident.
But when Punk talked about the poor quality of medical care he’d received on friend Colt Cabana’s podcast, he was sued. The company got the court case scheduled the week before Punk’s second fight, a fight Punk would go on to lose by decision.
Punk would be the wrestler who would bring eyes and attention to the bustling AEW like no one else – and if he, Omega, Jericho, and Rhodes were all in one place, WWE would have its first major competitor in a long time.
It’s been confirmed and should be no surprise – but AEW has already reached out to him. Punk may have said he’s done with wrestling, but it can’t hurt to try.