If there was any doubt before this week, it has been made perfectly clear – CM Punk is a heel in AEW.
The two-time AEW Champion was the most hated man in the building at Forbidden Door. The fans booed him out the building the moment the Owen Hart Cup was mentioned, as fans anticipated his entrance.
With CM Punk’s match with Satoshi Kojima at Forbidden Door, nobody really knew what to expect. Kojima is a legend in Japan, but only had a brief run in AEW.
Meanwhile, Punk got very mixed reactions since is return from injury.
In his hometown of Chicago, he was welcomed back like a king, cheered as much as ever.
However, the week later in Canada, fans showed their disdain for Punk following his bust up with The Elite after All Out 2022.
Well, it was clear he’s the bad guy at Forbidden Door. Not only did the fans boo him more than anybody in AEW history, but he played his part to perfection.
CM Punk wrestled the match with Satoshi Kojima as a straight-up heel, mocking the crowd at every turn and using their boos to fuel himself in the match.
He mocked the comparisons between himself and Hulk Hogan, hitting a leg drop on Kojima (much to the ire of the Toronto crowd).
Punk didn’t cheat to win, but he did all he could to get any advantage he could. He worked slowly, methodically and with intent as he systematically took down the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion en route to victory.
CM Punk pinned Satoshi Kojima with a GTS, after mocking him by shouting “LARIAT” over and over. However, as soon as the bout ended, Punk mockingly performed push ups in the ring.
This is an infamous heel move, mocking his opponent by showing he still had a lot left in the tank, barely having to try to win the match.
He did help Kojima to his feet after the match, in a confusing show of respect. Maybe he is only a heel against certain people (The Elite), which does add some nuance to his character.
He even teased leaving down the heel tunnel after the match, showing that maybe the heel turn isn’t totally complete – but is as close as possible.
CM Punk is now a heel, and I cannot wait for his run to really get going.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.