With Rumours of CM Punk being fired by AEW, many fans have begun to speculate what his next move in wrestling could be. With a torn tricep keeping him out of the ring for the next 8 months, the two time AEW Champion will have plenty of time to think about his future, whether it be in AEW, WWE or anywhere else for that matter.
Punk joined AEW in August 2021 and immediately became one of the top wrestlers in the company. This led him to challenging Adam Page for the AEW Championship. where he defeated him at Double or Nothing 2022 to win his first world title in 10 years.
However, he suffered an injury soon after. Spending months out of the ring, he returned to AEW before All Out 2022, where he would beat Jon Moxley to become the new AEW Champion for the second. Once again his reign would only last a day, as an injury and suspension for fighting backstage forced Tony Khan to vacate the title, setting up a title tournament featuring a number of former champions.
The locker room reportedly want to see CM Punk fired by AEW, although no decision has yet to be made on his future. If he is, a return to WWE for CM Punk could be a move he makes in the future, although one WWE Hall of Famer thinks it could be a bad move for all involved.
Booker T was asked about a potential return for Punk, but stated “I think it would be hard on both sides.” and didn’t think the former WWE Champion would make a comeback, especially with Vince McMahon gone and Triple H now in charge.
“CM Punk has definitely been very polarizing as far as comments about WWE ever since he’s left. So, I think it would be hard, it would be really hard for him just to swallow his pride and go back to that, that monster, that demon that created a lot of these problems that he thinks he has. I think it would be hard on both sides.”
There are many reasons why he may not even want to make a comeback in WWE. Keep reading to find one some of the reasons why a CM Punk WWE return may not be what the former AEW and WWE Champion wants, and may simply retire from the ring.
Royal Rumble 2014
Punk was last seen on WWE TV on January 26th, 2014. He entered number one in the 2014 Royal Rumble, a punishment from Triple H and the Authority, who he was feuding with at that time on Monday Night Raw. CM Punk started the match wrestling Seth Rollins, and lasted almost 50 minutes. The Chicago native was eliminated by Kane and finished 27th in the match.
After the match, Punk went backstage and squared up to Vince McMahon and Triple H. He confronted them about his booking, losing to Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and the Rock. He told them that he didn’t need to face Triple H at Wrestlemania, that Triple H needed to face HIM.
Punk walked out that night and never looked back. But will he ever return to WWE?
CM Punk WWE return
CM Punk has hinted in the past that a return to wrestling could be on the cards.
He has stated that he would, if he did return, love to face off against Will Ospreay. This is the first time he hasn’t hinted about thinking about wrestling, and outwardly stated he would like to.
Ospreay recently had to vacate the IWGP Champion due to a severe neck injury that could leave him on the shelf for the rest of the year. This would make his match with Punk very unlikely, which itself is very much so due to the fee he would command to wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling
Punk to AEW?
The Young Bucks talked in their book about Tony Khan meeting with Punk at the dawn of AEW, and that the company put in a very real offer to the man. Rumours had been floating round that no offer had been given, and that The Elite members had merely texted Punk to gauge his interest in a return.
When asked is CM Punk coming back to wrestling, Cody Rhodes, EVP of AEW, stated as such, that Punk demanded “Outrageous” amounts of money during negotiations, but with Cody stating he “was worth a great deal of money”
This could mean that Cody and the other EVP’s seriously considered Punk as an addition to their roster, and that the door was not shut for any future involvement.
Punk hasn’t stayed away from wrestling since his departure from WWE. He returned, donning a mask at an independent event in Wisconsin, run by former ROH wrestler Silas Young. A masked man ran in on the event, hit Punk’s signature GTS and ran out. This was confirmed to be CM Punk, and so far known to be his only wrestling appearance since 2014.
It may be wishful thinking for all Punk and AEW Fans out there, but AEW’s yearly show ALL OUT provokes chatter about the Best in the World’s return every year.
The event, once again held in Chicago, would be the perfect place to debut Punk. In his hometown, where his best match ever took place, would be a monumental occurrence and undoubtably one of the biggest debuts in wrestling history, were he to sign for AEW.
Is CM Punk Coming Back to WWE?
A return to WWE is unlikely. He started a new role as a presenter on WWE Backstage, providing analysis on that weeks WWE TV shows. He never got into the ring or appeared on WWE television before his departure from the show, however. If he did not wrestle for them then, it’s unlikely he would return now.
The bad blood between he and Triple H could be a barrier for Punk, although he doesn’t think so. He has said that he would listen to any offer from WWE, and that he would have a talk with anyone, including Triple H or Vince McMahon. However, he said they have not contacted him as of yet. CM Punk is unlikely to make a WWE return, although it is not impossible.
Punk vs Doctors
Punk also had issues with the WWE doctors, and did not like how they treated the wrestlers such as himself. WWE doctors refused to remove or even check out a lump on his back, that was causing the wrestler great pain. Once he left WWE, he had it checked by a non-affiliate doctor, and the result was shocking.
The doctor told Punk that he could have died due to ignoring it for such a long time. Punk had the doctor evacuate the infection, describing it as the worst pain in his life, but said that once it was treated and he was on stronger medication, he was able to sleep better than he had in months.
Wedding Day Firing
The final straw for Punk was his method of firing. WWE filed and sent his papers to confirm his firing to him in June 2014. However, despite leaving the company in January, his papers were sent to his house on the day of his wedding.
This act of spite enraged Punk, who proclaimed that he would never return to WWE and never have any engagement with them again, a claim he has softened up on over time.
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.