CM Punk returns to WWE after nearly 10-year absence
For nearly a decade, WWE fans have clamored for the return of superstar CM Punk.
Punk, real name Phil Brooks, has always been a hot topic amongst wrestling fans. He is beloved by many, yet seemingly hated by some. There truly is no more of a controversial figure in pro wrestling than CM Punk.
After leaving WWE, he attempted to enter the UFC, and I will give him credit for getting in the octagon with fighters who had been training much longer than he had. Although he lost both fights, one of which I was cage side at in Chicago, he gained my respect for attempting something outside of his comfort zone.
While he has been considered to be a hard person to work with by a lot of the dirt sheets, I personally have been around him on two different occasions and never found him difficult to work with. In two separate interviews, Punk was cordial, friendly, and easy to talk to. I found him down to earth and to be a lover of pro wrestling. He has immense respect for the art and is what many consider to be ‘old school.’ This could be one of the problems. A lot of today’s talent isn’t near as thick-skinned as older wrestlers. Some do not take criticism well. Punk’s sometimes rough around the edges personality definitely could rub some the wrong way.
However, after being away from the WWE for nearly 10 years, after a nasty split where Punk said negative things about not just the WWE, but several individuals, including current CCO Triple H, many consider him a hypocrite for returning to a company he said he’d never go back to. But, as we all know in professional wrestling, never say never. Hard feelings can be mended when it comes to the business of making money and love him or hate him, Punk is a money maker. He’s a ratings grabber as well. I mean, AEW basically created Collision to be his show.
Speaking of AEW, I feel Punk never got a fair shake there. That company is essentially run by a fan, Tony Khan, with deep pockets. Nothing against Khan, but why let the inmates run the asylum? The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and at one time Cody Rhodes were in major leadership roles. Letting Cody walk away from the company was the single biggest mistake Khan could have made. Cody is arguably one of the biggest draws in WWE currently. Then, letting Jade Cargill, who has the makings of a major star on the women’s side, walk away, was another blunder. I’m not saying Punk didn’t do anything wrong, but when you have other talent making decisions, who may have ill will toward another talent, things can get very testy. Thrown in Jack Perry, who has a ‘small-ball mentality’ and didn’t like Punk’s criticism and things got out of hand.
Should the axe have fallen on Punk? Everyone has their opinion. Facts are this, the ratings were always up when Punk was on television. To me, that’s what is important, but I don’t know the backstage issues that were going on and I never will know. All I know is AEW’s third major loss of talent is WWE’s money-making gain, and, oh my, are they going to make the money. Punk’s new shirt is currently the top seller on WWEShop.com. What’s funny is his shirts over at AEW are currently the top selling merchandise.
While it’s clear that controversy follows CM Punk wherever he goes, so do the eyes of millions of wrestling fans. His appearance at the end of Survivor Series crushed WWE’s record for social media views at 71 million! He literally only appeared for a minute or so. That’s what I call star power.
At 45 years old, Punk is entering a WWE that is much different than when he left 10 years ago. He enters a company run by Triple H and Nick Khan. He enters a company that is hotter than it’s been in decades. He enters a company that seems to have a great backstage morale. He enters a company with many options of big money matches. As he said in his first promo back on Monday Night Raw, “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to make money.” Will Father Time allow Punk to put on the type of matches we expect from him?
Potential feuds with Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, and many more, have huge money-making potential for the Second City Saint. Punk is also one of the longest reigning champions that WWE had in the last couple decades, which definitely bodes well for a feud with current champion Roman Reigns. Throw in Punk’s former manager Paul Heyman, who is now with Reigns, and the promos alone will have millions of eyes glued to the television.
Wrestling fans do not have to embrace Punk, as I understand that many have been rubbed the wrong way by his actions in the past, but we all grow as human beings. None of us are the same people we were five or ten years ago. Has Punk’s attitude changed? That’s yet to be seen. One thing is for sure, CM Punk coming back to WWE is what’s best for business.
Punk stated in his promo on Monday night that he was home. Well, let me say this on behalf of wrestling fans worldwide, welcome home CM Punk. Now, as Punk always says, “It’s clobbering time!”