So, according to multiple wrestling news organizations across the interwebs and the website formally known as Twitter, there are currently talks happening in an official/unofficial capacity between World Wrestling Entertainment and Mr. Phillip “Chicago Made Punk” Brooks for a return to the business of sports entertainment after a period of almost thirteen years. I have some thoughts on that. But first, let me give you some of my background when it comes to my previous fandom of Mr. Brooks.
When Mr. Brooks in his character of “CM Punk” in 2011 made his infamous “pipe bomb” promo, it set the wrestling world in a blaze it hadn’t been in quite a few years. Everyone was excited. And then the angles that followed happened and everyone else was disappointed from SummerSlam up until Survivor Series. Punk would then go on to hold the WWE Title from Survivor Series 2011 until losing to The Rock at the Royal Rumble 2013. He would then go on to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29, then have some minor feuds throughout 2013 before, the day after the Royal Rumble, storming out of WWE and subsequently fired on, what unfortunately turned out to be his wedding day. Throughout all that time, I will say, I was a “fan” of the CM Punk character when he was a babyface (I was still in high school at that time and therefore, like a good WWE sheep, cheered the faces and booed the heels as instructed). But I would never claim he was ever my favorite. Ever. In fact, I never bought a single piece of CM Punk merch in my entire wrestling fandom. I was present at the Monday Night Raw after the 2014 Royal Rumble when Phil Brooks walked out of the company (and vividly remember being the only one cheering Batista and being very confused). Of course, CM Punk wasn’t there, and I thought, “Huh, that’s weird. Oh well” and didn’t think much else of it. And then everything happened after that, as we all know, from the podcast interview with Colt Cabana, to the trial, to their friendship having a major falling out, etc. And since all that, Mr. Brooks has been quite vocal in his disapproval of the previously mentioned sports entertainment company until something happened: Brawl Out.
Brawl Out was the major turning point for many fans of Mr. Brooks. Now, let us back up just a tad to his rumored and eventual debut. Me, I was skeptical. Not really of *if* it happened, but *how* it would go. What kind of CM Punk/Phil Brooks would this be? And he told us flat out by taking an immediate shot at his former employer. This was a man who was still very much bitter and very much out for a revenge tour. From that first promo, I didn’t trust the man. And he would eventually prove me right with Brawl Out. Any and all previous shots between Punk and The Elite notwithstanding, at All Out 2022, Punk won his match and the AEW World title, although injured during the match. Punk would then go on to completely rant and run down the entire company during the media scrum, acting like a complete immature child. He should have been forcibly removed from the stage, but all Tony Khan did was sit there like a good little puppet and stay quiet. During that media scrum, he called out The Elite and pretty much told them if they had an issue, come to his locker room. Which they did, with AEW legal in tow. Now, as to “was the door broken down” (I doubt it) and “who threw the first punch” (likely Punk), I truly don’t care. When it comes to The Elite, I think Omega is okay, Adam Page is just there, and the Bucks are just assholes that I don’t care for. But the fact remains: Punk was the one who fired the shots at the media scrum and literally told The Elite to come find him. Period. Were the Elite innocent? Heck no? But did they start it after whining like a little baby? Also no. One year later, after Punk returned to AEW in May for Collision, Punk was fired following an altercation between him and Jack Perry and (allegedly) lunging at Tony Khan at Wembley Stadium during All In. Punk hadn’t learned a thing and still thought he was the shit. When he got fired, I said plainly that he did it to himself and have no sympathy whatsoever for Phil Brooks. Even when he returned, he got heavily booed. Even in Chicago, the reaction was mixed. People were fed up with his crap, and now, he was no longer AEW’s problem. But, from the sounds of it, he might be WWE’s problem again.
All rumors and reports point to Punk attempting to make some kind of amends with WWE. Now, this is apparently not the first time. During his Brawl Out suspension, Punk came to Raw in Chicago and was freely around backstage catching up with people, including Triple H, until Hunter got the word from Vince that it was, “Not gonna happen, pal” and was subsequently told to leave. Many at the time believed Punk’s showing up at Raw was twofold: one, a publicity stunt to gain eyes for his eventual return to AEW and two, to make sure he had a backup plan in case what happened did end up happening: his unemployment from All Elite Wrestling.
So, what will my reaction be if Punk returns at Survivor Series in Chicago like everyone wants. Simple: I will sit there. Because Punk needs to prove himself to me. He was still bitter about WWE when he came to AEW and that bitterness and needing to be “the man” “the veteran” that could wield his name around to get whatever he wanted to where he thought he was untouchable was ultimately his undoing. Punk needs to prove himself to me before I start supporting him, if I ever do. I’ve seen people say, “You better keep up that same energy for Punk when he comes back to WWE like you did for Edge going to AEW”. Like, no. No, I don’t have to do that. Because Edge left WWE on good terms with open arms to come back whenever he wants. Punk left WWE and AEW on the worst of terms as a bitter old man trying to burn it to the ground. So no, I don’t have to be excited for Punk coming back to WWE. Now, if you’re excited for it, cool for you. But the man has consistently proven he does not know how to grow up and get over stuff and realize that not everything is about him. Paul Levesque said to Phil Brooks on SmackDown in 2011, “You only want change if it means CM Punk is at the top”. And he meant it. Now, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve used “CM Punk/Phil Brooks” pretty interchangeably in this article. That’s because they literally are the same exact character. Phil Brooks only wants for himself to be at the top running everyone else down and saying who can be where. That isn’t gonna fly under Triple H, and Punk better know that or we’ll have another Royal Rumble exit sooner rather than later. So, this is my message to Phil “CM Punk” Brooks: Prove to me that you are genuinely contrite about your actions, willing to play ball, grow up, and listen, then we’ll see how my feelings change about you in WWE. Cause from where I stand, The Elite were right to not want to meet with him until a certain number of months without an incident. We’ll see how long that lasts if he does indeed show up at the Allstate Arena on November 25th.