Should CM Punk Return To The WWE?

10/18/2023 8:38 PM

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Should CM Punk Return To The WWE?

Should CM Punk Return To The WWE?

October 18, 2023 8:38 PM
Should CM Punk Return To The WWE?
WWE News

With the former AEW World Champion officially a free agent, should his former employer scoop him off the free market for a second chance?

2023 has been a whirlwind for CM Punk and wrestling fans. Just when it seemed that his tenure with AEW would come to an end after the infamous brawl out drama following All Out 2022, Tony Khan shocked the world when it was announced that the former AEW World Heavyweight Champion would make his return to the promotion on their new show: AEW Collision. 

For a good month or two, all sounded good in the world of All Elite Wrestling, but All In came around and unfortunately, Phil Brooks was out of a job the day before All Out. Still, there’s a buzz in the air about the possibility of the former AEW World Heavyweight Champion making his return to WWE. That noise has been amplified with Survivor Series taking place in Chicago, Illinois.

Though the latest round of gossip makes it clear that officials have decided against bringing back the former WWE Champion, this is a never-say-never business. The Ultimate Warrior, Medusa, and Bret Hart were blacklisted from the company in the past, but time heals all wounds as each of these names made a return to the company years (or even decades) later. Should WWE extend the olive branch to one of the biggest stars of the modern era?

CM Punk reminded fans why he was one of the best in the world in AEW

It’s disappointing that CM Punk’s tenure with AEW came to a screeching halt. Dream matches against names such as Kenny Omega, Will Ospreay, or Kazuchika Okada will remain dreams unfortunately. When CM Punk made his shocking (but not too surprising) return on August 20, 2021, chills went down everyone’s spine the moment Cult of Personality hit on that episode of Rampage.

CM Punk’s early run with AEW was incredible. Sure, it had a slow beginning with CM Punk working with a lot of undercard talent. But this story was an important one for Punk’s arc. The former WWE Champion hasn’t been in a wrestling ring for nearly a decade so it made sense that Tony Khan and Punk took the aged veteran approach with his arc and it produced some of the best moments in AEW’s history.

His promo battles and match with Eddie Kingston were top notch. His feud with MJF was even better. His journey before All Out 2022 wasn’t perfect, but telling a story that made the hero (CM Punk) vulnerable made for a compelling character that demanded to be seen.

More importantly, CM Punk is a draw. Whether it was cracking over a million for Rampage in his debut to being a key component in selling out arenas or merchandise, there’s no denying that fans want to see CM Punk lock horns in the squared circle. Punk quickly reminded fans why he was considered “Best in the World” at one point in his career.

CM Punk’s History of Being Difficult Got The Better Of Him

We can’t decide whether Punk was right or wrong in the recent situation that got him fired. The only basis to go on is Jack Perry seemingly taking a shot at the former AEW star during his match against Hook. It was rumored that Punk rejected a segment involving Glass and Perry for Collision. The former FTW Champion reportedly wasn’t too thrilled about the segment being turned down. There have been different reports on how the fight started, though all rumors confirm that Punk put his hands on the up-and-coming AEW star.

However, before the All In fight or Brawl Out at All Out 2022, rumors were swirling about how difficult Punk is to work with. On the flip side, there’s been no credible evidence that validates those claims except a few comments from some of his co-workers. 

The few snippets that could validate those reports are Punk going into business for himself by making Adam “Hangman” Page look like a coward in front of his hometown fans on Dynamite. The media scrum at All Out 2022 was even worse. CM Punk went out of his way to tear down Colt Cabana and The Young Bucks right in front of his boss. The tail end of Punk’s AEW run didn’t do well because he barely came across as a likable presence. This isn’t me trying to paint Punk in a bad light. I do feel that CM Punk had good intentions throughout his entire AEW run. But that Hangman Page promo seemed to bring out the worst of his character.

There’s no doubt that there’s still interest in seeing CM Punk back in a wrestling ring in 2023. But the rumors of him being difficult backstage has some truth to it. To be fair, Punk does have friends who enjoy working with the former AEW star, but does the negativity surrounding the controversial star impact the weight he has on the business?

Will CM Punk still be a draw following his most recent incident with Jack Perry? The former AEW World Champion was receiving boos at the tail end of his AEW run. Still, there’s a desire to see Punk return to WWE after being gone for nearly a decade. Plus, CM Punk won’t likely be able to pull the reported stunts that he did in AEW. Triple H, Nick Khan, and Vince McMahon are NOT Tony Khan. They won’t tolerate that sort of drama and will fire him instantly. WWE doesn’t particularly need him because they’re doing so well financially right now. 

That doesn't mean that Punk can’t bring value and eyeballs back to the product. His antics will have some detractors, but most of the WWE audience doesn’t watch AEW or even read backstage news, so there’s a strong chance that the moment Cult of Personality hits the place will come unglued with loud cheers. 

CM Punk’s Dream Matches 

There’s no denying the dream matches left to have with CM Punk. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns stick out like a sore thumb. There’s legitimate animosity between them, and if WWE can nicely blend reality with fiction then they can easily bring out a compelling story.

There are exciting matches across the board for Punk. We could finally see Punk vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin as the WWE legend had a strong performance at Wrestlemania 38. There were reported talks about the former WWE Champion fighting Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, so Austin still seems open to returning to the squared circle. Gunther, Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, and Kevin Owens are just some of the names that Punk has yet to face in a WWE ring. There are unlimited possibilities when it comes to CM Punk returning to WWE, but his AEW run was plagued with numerous injuries he sustained throughout his short time. 

He’s not a spring chicken anymore and though CM Punk can sell a lot of tickets, he’s not a long-term investment as his body isn’t what it used to be in 2014. WWE should still give him another chance, but be very cautious with his return. Simply set the record straight about not tolerating any bad behavior and give him a limited schedule like Edge or Brock Lesnar. There are still plenty of stories to tell about CM Punk and it would be foolish to not at least attempt to bring him back and see what happens. 

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