Ever since his release from AEW last summer, fans have been speculating where or if we might see CM Punk back in a pro wrestling ring. Punk’s exit from AEW was abrupt after a backstage incident took place involving Punk and Jack Perry right before AEW’s big show in London, All In.
Within the week, Tony Kahn went on national television and stated that CM Punk’s AEW contract had been terminated. Khan also added that this was the first pro-wrestling-related incident where he was actually afraid for his life.
With it being November and all, WWE is getting ready for their annual PLE, Survivor Series. For months, fans anticipated CM Punk’s arrival at Survivor Series, as the show is being held in his hometown of Chicago. Many even believed that he would be the fifth member of Cody Rhodes’ team for the men’s War Games match. However, it was revealed last Monday on Raw that Randy Orton would be returning to fill that position.
Could Punk still return this month in Chicago? Perhaps, but after all these years, is it really the smartest idea?
Punk originally quit WWE in 2014. Punk left on bad terms with the company, given his sudden departure. Punk then wasn’t heard from again in pro wrestling for years. In between his WWE and AEW runs, Punk had one official MMA fight in the UFC, an experiment that even UFC President, Dana White admitted was not a very good idea. He had abandoned the only mainstream wrestling promotion (at the time) and failed at a new opportunity.
Two years after AEW launched their promotion, CM Punk returned to compete in-ring once again. Months later, he left and didn’t appear in AEW again until the unveiling of their new show on Saturday Night’s, Collision, a show that was rumored to have been created with the sole purpose of keeping punk separated from other AEW talent over on Dynamite. Only a few months into his contract, his contract was terminated immediately following the London incident.
After years of promotion hopping, Punk still hasn’t found a place of work that he can call home. Between three combat promotions, he’s burned all his bridges. While no one can deny the star power of CM Punk, the common denominator among all his professional failures is himself. Part of growing up and maturing is realizing that in order to be professionally successful, you’ll have to work with people you don’t like and have to do things you don’t want to do. That’s just everyday life for you and me, let alone a world-famous athlete who has the capability to make millions off of his profession.
Punk has failed in numerous companies to be a mature team player. It forced him out of WWE in 2014 and it just came back to beat him again in AEW. We’ve seen this repeated pattern from punk for almost ten years now. It seems clear as day that after all these second chances, the controversial athlete appears to not be changing his character, even after all his failures.
Additionally, there are a number of wrestlers currently in WWE who do not want to see CM Punk back in the company. In particular, Seth Rollins was asked about Punk’s possible return a number of months ago. Rollins called punk a cancer to pro-wrestling and made it clear he wanted to maintain a CM Punk-free work environment.
While CM Punk will forever be a star, his professional reputation has hindered him for the last decade. Given that WWE is now owned by a whole other corporate entity, the return of Punk might scream red flags at TKO (and rightfully so.) Hiring back an individual who has been creating a toxic work environment everywhere he goes normally isn’t a recipe for smooth sailing at any company, never mind an enormous corporate entity such as TKO or Endeavor. If WWE doesn’t want to inherit the same problems that AEW just had, the same problem they had ten years ago, then they’ll look past CM Punk and instead, continue to focus on their current talent.