If I had a dollar for every time I said “you will not find a bigger CM Punk fan than me” I would be pretty darn rich. That magical moment when Punk returned to wrestling on the 20th August 2021 on Rampage was 7 long years in the making, the guy sold out the arena on a rumor! That is the popularity the voice of the voiceless had, note how I said had and not has. Punk is always going to have his detractors, he is very much a “you either love me or you hate me” kind of guy. You can’t deny the guy his flowers though, when for 7 years whenever an arena wasn’t happy with something they were watching they would chant “CM PUNK CM PUNK CM PUNK.” The people wanted to see him come back to wrestling. Fast forward to September 4th and the All Out PPV where everything has sort of gone a bit pear shaped.
THE BRAWL OUT AFTER ALL OUT!
Now I’m not going to spend much time on this as it has been talked about to death, but to give those that have been living under a rock a quick backstory, here we go. Punk won the world title back from Jon Moxley in the main event of the PPV. He then proceeded to have an epic temper tantrum at the media scrum NEXT to the owner of the company all while stuffing his face with muffins. Punk then ripped apart 3 of the founding members of AEW and the EVP’s of the company and their good friend Adam Page for being unprofessional and leaking stories to the press. He verbally eviscerated former friend turned enemy Colt Cabana, oh and he done all this without even being prompted from the media present in the room. (read that fast without breathing and try not to pass out.) Mr Punk had a total meltdown in front of everyone. After the media scrum The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega (the EVP’s) confronted Punk in his locker room where a fight broke out. Chairs were thrown, hair was pulled, a punch landed, a human bit another human and a dog was saved. a fun time was had by all. OK moving on.
THE FALL OUT FROM THE BRAWL OUT AT ALL OUT!
AEW owner Tony Kahn suspended all parties involved pending an investigation and stripped Punk and The Elite of their championships without ever mentioning their names on TV. The commentary team did not mention their names and neither did any of the wrestlers, they were persona non grata. But it was CM Punk that was the real story, as it was reported that he tore a muscle in his arm during his match with Moxley and that he would require surgery. Every wrestling “news” reporter wanted the scoop, they wanted to know what was going on and if and when these guys would be coming back to TV. Then the rumor mill began to turn again, Punk is a locker room cancer, no one wants him there, Larry the dog got injured in the scuffle, Punk is in talks of a contract buy out. Punk stole my baby. The list goes on. (Ok that last one is made up but you get my point.)
A GAME OF TIT FOR TAT
Over the last couple of months Punk has resurfaced on UFC fight pass doing commentary for a regional MMA promotion. Alongside his fellow commentators they have proceeded to mock the situation Punk has found himself in, taking jabs at starting their own wrestling company and not being welcome in the locker room. Punk even made a quip about his hand being sore, a clear wink and a nod at the report of him hitting one of the members of The Elite. So how did The Elite respond? By mocking the fragile body and in ring mistakes of Punk of course. Matt Jackson’s deliberate botch of the buckshot lariat that CM Punk attempted no less than 3 times was piss your pants funny. Kenny Omega bit one member of Death Triangle. Nick Jackson sold a foot injury and had to be taken to the back mid match. you can’t tell me that wasn’t a jab at Punk breaking his foot earlier in the year. The Banter that has been on display between these 4 men has been epic in it’s shitthousery.
LET THE TROLLING BEGIN
Since all of this has gone down, CM Punk has started posting teaser on the internet that has been getting a lot of people talking. He has posted pictures from his WWE days, igniting rumors that he may well return to the company he walked out on in 2014. Allegedly his contract buy out has hit a snag in that Tony Kahn wants a “no compete” clause in there, meaning he would be free to leave AEW but cannot show up on TV for any other wrestling promotion. So that would put a stop to any plans of going back to WWE. Then Punk posted a picture that appeared to be Himself backstage at AEW with his good friends Dax and Cash of FTR. Recently more wrestlers have come out in support of CM Punk, stating that they would love to have him back in AEW, Ricky Starks being one of them. It was on Dax Harwood’s debut edition of his new podcast that has really got the people talking about it all again (hence the reason for this article.) On the pod, Dax makes a plea for all parties involved to set aside their differences for the sake of the future of pro wrestling. Dax also goes into detail about a facetime he had with Punk Shortly after the backstage brawl. Go and listen to the FTR podcast, it’s very interesting.
A WORK OR NOT A WORK? THAT IS THE QUESTION
Part of the fun of being a pro wrestling fan is trying to work out what’s real and what’s not. Some fans are more clued in than others, while other fans live in blissful ignorance of the potential inner workings of wrestling and just watch for the pure enjoyment. I envoy those fans. What ever category you fall under though at the end of the day we all love pro wrestling. In Reality, the clued in fans may as well try and live in blissful ignorance as we really don’t know what is actually going on behind the scenes, no matter how “smart” we think we are. Dirt sheet writers get things wrong all the time. Now every blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile, but unless you actually work for a specific wrestling company then you don’t really know what’s going on. It is however very fun to speculate. It is almost like fantasy booking, we want to see our favorites in the best, most compelling storylines. When that happens we then get a head of ourselves and “book” what we think will/should happen. The CM Punk/Elite saga has fantasy booking written all over it, and parts of what has happened seem so outlandish that some of us may wish/think/know that it’s all a big, giant WORK.
MY THOUGHTS ON THE MATTER
(Kayfabe: the practice of maintaining the illusion that everything is real.)
Kayfabe is dead! we all know it. But what if it is being brought back?? hear me out. MJF knew he was becoming one of the most talked about guys in wrestling and knew that his contract situation was “known” by the dirt sheet writers. Why ignore something that is out there? Why not make a story out of it to get people talking? That is exactly what they did and it worked. Now lets look at the situation of CM Punk. It has been well documented that again, people either love him or hate him and his reputation of being difficult in the locker room will follow him everywhere, justifiably or not. At the end of All Out I believe Punk knew he was badly injured and would probably have to take an extended leave to heal up. This of course would throw a massive spanner in whatever was in the works for the rest of the year. Punk has a brilliant wrestling mind and knows that he needs to get people talking. So he stole MJF’s spotlight in regards to his return, and he pissed on The Elite’s Trios title win. Do I think everyone involved was in on it? No no at all. Do I think the brawl in the locker room actually happened? To a certain degree yes I do. My feeling is that all parties involved have spoken since and the master plan is now being put into motion.
TOO MUCH MONEY TO JUST THROW AWAY
There are 3 built in story’s for Punk if/when (fingers crossed) he returns. Obviously Punk vs The Elite. Throw in FTR into the mix and you have the making’s for an epic trios match, FTR’s issues with The Bucks has been well documented. Their real life friendship with Punk would easily allow them to slot right into the feud. To a lesser extent you could have another Adam Page vs CM Punk feud based on the comments from the media scrum. Then you have another feud with MJF. Building on from their amazing program at the start of the year, MJF vents about Punk stealing his moment after the All Out PPV and wants revenge. Lets be honest, the seeds have already been planted by all involved. MJF has used bits from Punks promo in Ring Of Honor about being the devil. Then you have the banter and the cheap shots The elite and Punk have thrown at each other over the last few months. Punk is in his mid 40’s and knows that he needs to make money fast, he also knows he needs to make stars and that is exactly what he will do. But when it is all said and done I know just about as much as you all, and that is bupkus. After all this is just fantasy booking…………………….Right???