Speculation is a permanent fixture in professional wrestling. This week saw the return of Colt Cabana on AEW Dynamite and that sent the wrestling community wild with thoughts about what is next for CM Punk. Reports continue to circulate about his time with AEW potentially being over thanks to the press conference and brawl after AEW All Out. There’s a new ripple in the conversation about if Punk would return to WWE and that raises an interesting question. Does the WWE need CM Punk?
The last two years have seen the unexpected return of CM Punk, to his fallout with AEW a year later, and now conversations about a potential return to WWE. That’s a sequence of events that sounds like a plot point in a time-traveling movie based on professional wrestling. Yet, it’s a situation that could come to fruition in the future.
But how does CM Punk fit into this iteration of WWE? His issues with Vince McMahon and Triple H are well-documented. The two groups had a tumultuous working relationship both when Punk was there and after he left the company in 2014. But 2022 saw a major change that impacted all of wrestling when Vince McMahon resigned as allegations of improper behavior came to light. Triple H took control of creative and talent relations, which has sent reverberations throughout WWE.
Punk’s issues weren’t only with McMahon, as he and Triple H didn’t have the greatest relationship either. However, one must wonder if the two could come to the table to find a way to work together from a business standpoint. Punk returning to WWE would be just that, big business, and when there’s money to be made that goes a long way in soothing past transgressions for some.
But again, that doesn’t mean WWE needs Punk. Nor does it mean Punk needs WWE. Perhaps the best option for both parties to work together would be to leverage Punk as a part-time talent, which is where he would thrive the most.
The term “part-time talent” is often thrown around with malice during storylines, but it’s a level of employment the WWE still uses. Names like Brock Lesnar and Goldberg are constantly brought back to television for one-off angles as they still drive viewers each time. Others like Edge, Beth Phoenix, John Cena, and even Steve Austin are now within this category. Punk’s return to wrestling has helped boost his drawing ability, and he could fit into the same position within WWE.
Imagine Punk coming in for a major angle against Roman Reigns. A feud between those two would grab the attention of the wrestling community. This pairing would allow Punk to return, be involved in a major story, and then exit once it is over. He wouldn’t have to remain within the company for an extended period to avoid any of the backstage issues that tend to pop up. If the two sides could find a way to make this work, it’s the type of partnership that everyone would benefit from over time.
The CM Punk story involves a lot of drama. After his big return in 2021, no one thought that conversations about a potential return to WWE in 2022 would be possible. Yet, that situation is now a talking point and it would be interesting to see the two parties find a way to make it happen.