CM Punk WWE Return? Why Post-AEW Reunion Makes Sense

Is Phil Brooks worth the trouble?


November 30, 2022

CM Punk’s future with All Elite Wrestling is murky, which has some fans wondering if the 44-year-old should return to WWE.

The two-time AEW world champion returned to pro wrestling for the first time in seven years with his appearance on the Aug. 20, 2021, episode of “Rampage: The First Dance.” Punk captivated the world and helped grow AEW, but things changed following this year’s “All Out” event.

Punk went out of character and lashed out at media in his news conference. He aired his grievances toward the company’s executive vice presidents: Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson, known as The Elite. The profanity-filled rant was rooted in how the company allegedly mishandled rumors regarding a dispute between Punk and Colt Cabana, who were both co-defendants in a lawsuit against former WWE doctor Chris Amann and later were opponents in a follow-up lawsuit over unpaid legal fees.

A fight broke out following Punk’s news conference, and after an investigation, The Elite returned at “Full Gear” on Nov. 19 and have mocked Punk since their return. AEW president Tony Khan has not publicly stated Punk’s status, but Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported the sides are working on a contract buyout with a non-compete clause being a sticking point in negotiations. The 44-year-old remained on AEW’s official roster page with November wrapping up.

If Punk’s contract is bought out, should WWE swoop in and sign its former world champion? They should at least consider it.

The way the veteran’s AEW tenure likely is to end might raise a red flag for some fans. But if you’re WWE presidents/CEOs Nick Khan and Stephanie McMahon and chief content officer Paul Levesque, also known as Triple H, it’s hard to ignore the potential business benefits.

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In Punk’s one-year run in AEW, his appearances on television increased quarter-hours, the five pay-per-views he was on were the company’s five highest-selling in history, he main evented two $1 million live gates and four of the top 10 selling items on ShopAEW and Pro Wrestling Tees were Punk’s, according to Wrestlenomics.

To put it simply, Punk is a star people want to watch, and he can only serve to boost WWE’s business even further than it already has since Vince McMahon resigned on July 22.

WWE’s “Survivor Series” last Saturday was the most-watched and highest-grossing event in the pay-per-view’s history. The 2023 “Royal Rumble” has broken the record for the largest gate in the event’s history. And “WrestleMania” in Inglewood, Calif., has a high likelihood of also breaking records, especially if Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can make an appearance.

Punk would help sustain that success and even help spark interest in lesser events throughout WWE’s calendar, as well as bring more intrigue to newer large-scale events like “Clash at the Castle.”

The big question, of course, is whether Punk would have personal issues with some of the main-event stars on WWE’s roster. Does Kevin Owens still hold a grudge toward Punk over the infamous “T-shirt incident” at Ring of Honor? Are fellow ROH alumni, like Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn, OK with having Punk around? Does Roman Reigns truly have negative feelings toward Punk? Levesque reportedly is open to Punk coming back to WWE, but potential backstage issues present a reasonable bear case for not bringing in Punk to WWE.

All told, if the company is concerned about how to continue to break its own records every year, WWE should at least consider a reunion with Punk.

Thumbnail photo via Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports Images
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