CM Punk has earned iconic status in professional wrestling and that position allows him to speak his mind, even when others don’t want to hear it.
Oh, what a difference a year makes. It was just last year at Revolution that AEW perhaps put on their greatest story to date in the Dog Collar Match featuring CM Punk and MJF.
Fast forward from then to this year’s Revolution and I don’t know about you, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s like going from a meal prepared by Wolfgang Puck to having some stale pizza left over in your fridge.
The event this year disappointed in more ways than one and it underperformed for the company. Those are facts, plain and simple. On the opinion side of things, I missed CM Punk, but that’s been the case for me for months…dating back to the ill-fated media scrum following All Out 2022.
People have been talking about that for quite some time and despite some hope out there that CM Punk may be returning to AEW or even to WWE, the legend’s future is still very much in question.
But there’s that word again… LEGEND. It’s thrown around a lot in the realm of professional wrestling and it’s not always merited. When it comes to CM Punk, it is more than merited, and if you don’t agree, this is where we respectfully part company.
If you cannot recognize CM Punk as one of the greatest to ever do this, then I can’t help you. What he did in the amount of time he wrestled is unparalleled by most.
CM Punk is up there with many of the faces that belong on the Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling and as far as the modern era is concerned, he and John Cena take that spot, easy.
We cannot forget that after 2007, WWE needed to pull away from the muscle freak look that was in back then and before, and they needed to pull away from that fast. All because of steroid use allegations that came to the limelight once again due to the Chris Benoit family tragedy.
Vince McMahon needed a new poster boy to show that he ran a clean ship, and the straight-edge CM Punk was the perfect example. No drugs, no alcohol, no promiscuity…a good, clean image he had.
CM Punk ran with that opportunity and took that to one heck of a championship run. His CM Punk army of fans was with him even before that, when he started in Ring of Honor; they followed him from there to TNA to WWE and beyond.
And what came after that was a long wait…a wait that lasted seven years without him. But finally, he came to AEW, and we all know how that ended, or seemingly ended.
So am I saying that he had a right to do what he did at All Out because of his status in the business? No, not exactly, but a little kind of I am. Hear me out.
A look back to the Steve Austin WWE walkout of 2002
It was in 2002 that Steve Austin walked out of the WWE. He and Vince McMahon had a difference of opinion about creative. Back then, the dispute started because Austin was set to lose to Brock Lesnar in a match that had no build.
In retrospect, that was no way to treat the man that had singlehandedly changed the business. Vince McMahon built the entirety of the Attitude Era on Austin’s shoulders. He should have been heard on his concerns and he wasn’t. I sided with him back then and I side with him now, still, and although that’s a wee bit of old news, it is pertinent here, dear readers.
The All Out Media Scrum
This brings us to CM Punk. CM Punk is a legendary performer and athlete. He brought AEW to the realm of mainstream recognition that they had never seen before. CM Punk did that.
He obviously had issues with many within the company, but at the All Out media scum following his win over Jon Moxley for the AEW title, his particular grievances towards The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega made themselves quite known.
"“I have to sit up here because we have irresponsible people who call themselves EVPs, and couldn’t (…) manage a Target, and they spread lies and (…) and put into a media that I got somebody fired when I have (…) all to do with him, want nothing to do with him, do not care where he works, where he doesn’t work, where he eats, where he sleeps…What did I ever do in this world to deserve an empty-headed (…) Hangman Adam Page to go out on national television and (…) go into business for himself. What did I ever do? Didn’t do a (…) thing…. It’s not (Tony Khan’s) position to make it very (…) clear. There’s people who call themselves EVPs that should have (…) known better…I’m trying to run a (…) business, and when somebody who hasn’t done a damn thing in this business jeopardizes the first million dollar house that this company has ever drawn, off of my back, and goes on national television and does that, it’s a disgrace to this industry; it’s a disgrace to this company…”via wrestletalk.com (Transcription)"
I have nothing against any members of The Elite. In fact, I am a fan of Kenny Omega. But by that same token, I love Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels equally and always have, but we all know the relationship they had.
What we’re facing here is what a lot of people in the business cannot face and that’s because pride and ego are playing a massive part in how people feel—always a mistake, but inevitable in the big ego world of pro wrestling.
Is Kenny Omega one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time?
Yes. Top three if you ask me.
Has he ever drawn the numbers that CM Punk drew while with the company?
Have the Bucks?
Did CM Punk draw over $1 Million?
Would he have drawn even more, and with Britt Baker leading the woman’s division as champion, would AEW have been at a better standing at the current time?
CM Punk deserves the respect he’s earned, and that’s a lot. What he has given the fans and the industry over-exceeds the work that many have done, and that’s not to put anyone else down.
He had a right to air his grievances. Others had done so before and they didn’t get the treatment he did. It is often he who loses his temper that is looked upon as the aggressor, but that is the person that is most often reacting to a situation he doesn’t understand, and if CM Punk didn’t understand why the AEW locker room or the EVPs didn’t appreciate his being around a little more than they did, I’m with him.
CM Punk was underappreciated in his AEW run, and that is the greatest sin of all. You don’t have to take my word for it, folks. These facts are all out there, and we, the CM Punk army, lived through it all with him.
From ROH to TNA, to the WWE, the pipe bomb and his horrible exit from the WWE, who also mistreated him, to his triumphant return to AEW to his once again tragic exit. He deserves to have a run to make it right, and he deserves to do it his way.
“Love your hate
Your faith lost
You are now one of us
Love your hate
Your faith lost
You are now one of us
Nothing from nowhere, I’m no one at all
Radiate, recognize one silent call
As we all form one dark flame