Planet Kayfabe: CM Punk and Bryan Danielson Rumors
Hello everyone and thanks again for reading Planet Kayfabe. It’s been a couple of weeks and I’m in the middle of another move, but it’s been fairly slow in the wrestling world lately, so there hasn’t been much to really sink my teeth into until now.
Sure, WWE had their Money in the Bank PPV that received good reviews. Fans are back, which is awesome. John Cena is back, which I could not possibly give any less of a flying rat’s fuck about. Also, there are the usual rumors buzzing around the wrestling world which involve CM Punk and Bryan Danielson going to AEW. That’s what I’ll be giving my thoughts on today.
Danielson is said to be a lock for AEW and he will also be able to work New Japan dates as well. This is very good news for AEW, but the bigger news seems to be around CM Punk. I get it. He’s CM Punk. He’s been a star, a subject of controversy in bother wrestling and MMA and pretty much any headline bearing his name is answered with hits on the internet. 😉
CM Punk is probably most remembered for his 2011 ‘Pipebomb’ promo that kicked off the “Summer of Punk” which saw him beat John Cena for the WWE Championship in his hometown of Chicago at Money in the Bank in one of the best WWE PPV’s of all time and perhaps the most memorable PPV moment in WWE of the 2010s…. and then he lost the belt to Alberto Del Rio a month later and was pretty much used as a body to heat up Kevin Nash’s final retirement feud with Triple H.
However, CM Punk is also very well known for his OTHER WWE title run that lasted 434 days. At least he got that after WWE really did drop of the ball on the Summer of Punk. That’s not a retrospective opinion either. That’s how I and many others felt back then and how I still feel today. CM Punk’s last match in WWE was the 2014 Royal Rumble, so it has been 7 and a half years since he has wrestled and the “Pipebomb” celebrated its 10 year anniversary at the start of this summer.
CM Punk’s last involvement in wrestling was on the WWE “Backstage” show where he was a co-host who promised to “break the internet”. Well, he barely dented the internet because the ratings were still shit and he didn’t have one hot or controversial take on that show that got anyone talking. So, what’s the deal? Why wasn’t Punk a big deal on Backstage? Either fans have long since moved on or fans don’t want to see him in a suit sitting behind a desk on FS1 talking about a worked sport as if its real.
Of these two names, I feel they’re both big for AEW for different reasons. Danielson is 40, but he’s in good shape. He’s seen as a current guy. He’s a star of the 2010s and not an Attitude or Ruthless Aggression guy AEW plucked off the unemployment line. He is still very popular and still one of the best American workers in the ring. Along with have some star power left and an over-as-fuck chant that he can take with him, he’ll be a great fit in AEW. Not just as a worker, but also as a personality.
CM Punk I feel will be the better headline grabber. I think that much is obvious. CM Punk signing to a wrestling company after 7 and a half years away from WWE is big news. His exit from WWE was very public and Punk was very vocal after he left. There have been shoots. There’s been legal battles. WWE fired him on his wedding day. Even to this day, he’s not shy about taking shots at WWE on Twitter. His departure was a public mess. The announcement of Punk signing with AEW would be huge for the company and quite bluntly, I feel its now or never for CM Punk. He’s going to be 43 this fall. We are a decade removed from the Pipebomb and he hasn’t worked since 2014.
Another reason why these two are big signings is that AEW needs a new Chris Jericho. Yeah, Chris is still good. He still has a name. However, he’s 50 and slowing down his in-ring career. Chris Jericho got this company on TV and got them an extended deal just by being there. However, we’ve seen it all from him. He’s been a heel. He’s been a babyface. He’s been world champion. AEW needs someone new, someone established and someone younger to get them over that next mainstream hump. I love Christian Cage, but it isn’t going to be him. Chris Jericho made his splash and AEW reaped the rewards of it. Now it’s time for someone new to make a splash. Jericho once compared his move to AEW like Hogan going to WCW. If I go with that analogy, WCW needed more than Hogan. They needed Hall and Nash and one hell of a hot angle to pass WWF and keep the train going. I’m not saying the arrival of Punk and Bryan will cause history to repeat itself, I’m just saying these two are coming at the perfect time because the old name guy they used to establish the company has done his job. It’s time for a new hot name to come in and get AEW over the next hurdle into mainstream visibility.
The one negative I see with Punk is that he isn’t afraid to be vocal when he feels things aren’t working for him. I mean, that’s good for us fans and us writers and podcasters, but AEW prides itself on having a very harmonious locker room all focused on the same goal of furthering this company. Do I think CM Punk really cares about furthering AEW? Not really. If he did, he would have signed back when Tony and crew first contacted him back when this whole thing started. Instead, Punk declined and was even publicly critical of their ways of negotiating. Punk even mocked Khan for calling him “Phil” as if they are friends. Punk can be difficult to deal with. That “Phil” thing cracks me up because that’s how sensitive some wrestlers are about the dumbest shit. If Tony calls him “Phil” without knowing him personally, he’s overstepping his bounds. If he calls him “CM Punk” he’s a mark. You can’t win.
There have even been a lot of rumors and reports about Cody not getting along with The Bucks and Kenny Omega and despite this, they remain coy about the issue and deny all claims. If Punk has a problem with Khan or one of the EVP’s do you think he’s not going to let everyone know? They kind of need him more than he needs them and he knows it. The company is probably going to have to go out of their way to keep him happy and… it’s probably going to be well worth it. Even if working with CM Punk comes with a bunch of headaches and arguments, you can’t say it wasn’t worth it if one day we see a headline reading “AEW Dynamite passes WWE Raw in ratings” someday. I’m not going to tell you I’ve always been one of Punk’s biggest fans and supporters, but in terms of business, it always made sense for Punk to go to AEW.
There are my thoughts on the potential of Bryan Danielson and CM Punk going to AEW. I feel AEW needs both and not just one. Punk is the better headline grabber, but Bryan will be the better worker long-term for the company.
As for my remarks about John Cena when I opened this column… I’ve never been a fan and I don’t see the appeal of a rusty old John Cena coming in, taking a top spot at SummerSlam just to do a job to a guy he already put over and then disappear to Hollywood the next day. It’s just more of the same-old of what WWE has been doing since 2010. The current guys are all just cogs in the wheel, as Punk once said, and the old guys are the “real” stars.
I know it became a joke, but I have “Cena’nuff” of John Cena. If you’re 21 and cashing in on your nostalgia of him, fine. Enjoy it. I however saw his debut. I saw his rapper gimmick. I saw his first world title run. All cool moments. I also saw him dominate TV and go over the entire WWE roster for a decade and month after month he remained in the main event spot even when he wasn’t champion. Remember CM Punk’s 434-day long world title run? John Cena was main eventing every PPV during that entire run. I grew tired of the act a long time ago. I grew tired of the bad jokes, the same matches, the ridiculous no-selling both in the ring and when others cut promos on him. I’m just done with the guy and I 100% am being honest when I say I have not missed him once since he retired as a full-time worker. Yeah, Raw sucks, but it’s not like it would be any better if it opened every day with a 44-year-old John Cena coming out in the same outfit, talking about the same bullshit, and doing the same feud that always ended with the same result. I just can’t bring myself to give the slightest shit about his return. I’ve seen Cena’s best work with guys like Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, and CM Punk. Guess what, that shit ain’t happening ever again. WWE recently said Cena’s best rival was Randy Orton. They used to try saying this 10 years ago. At one time they tried getting it over as “The Rivalry”. Instead, fans at the time moaned every time those two were paired together because 95% of the time it was boring. Their styles didn’t mesh well and WWE went to the well too many times with them two and fans would eventually chant “boring” and “you both suck” when they were in the ring together. Wooo! Some rivalry! It’s more baffling to me when I see fans around my age marking out for the guy when they’re the same exact fans who spent a decade complaining about how he’s boring, over-exposed, stale, overrated, how he buries everyone and no one ever comes out the other end better after feuding with Cena. Nostalgia goggles sure are a hell of a drug.
Again, if you’re younger, fine. I get it. Have fun cashing in on your nostalgia the same way I did when The Rock came back in 2010. I also had to see The Rock wasn’t the same Rock I remembered from 1999 and 2000 when he shared a ring with CM Punk and suddenly came off as dated and old for the first time in my life after being the embodiment of everything cool in the early 2000s. Luckily, Cena won’t be around that long so give him and the company all your money while you can and buy those goofy looking green shirts to match the Peter Pan complex that come with it.
Thanks again for reading, everyone. For NoDQ. I’m Paul Matthews. Take care and see you in Washington. God bless.