Last night’s AEW: Dynamite featured some big matches and promos ahead of this Sunday’s Double or Nothing but it was an announcement from Tony Khan that many are buzzing about today. Following Taya Valkyrie’s decisive victory over Lady Frost, the cameras cut backstage to Khan who stood ready with a microphone. After a few nice words toward the fans, the All Elite President and GM officially announced that The United Center, in Chicago, will host the first-ever episode of AEW: Collision on June 17.
The announcement got a huge pop from the fans in attendance, and not just because they love the venue. No, it is far more likely that they leaped to their feet in excitement because the show taking place at The United Center probably means the return of CM Punk to the AEW fold, as well. The Second City Saint’s return does seem like an inevitability at this point but it was not included as part of Khan’s proclamation.
Last week, Warner Brothers Discovery held their 2023/2024 Upfront presentation, and as part of it, made the initial announcement that AEW: Collision was headed to TNT. When Punk’s name was not included in the initial rollout, speculation began to run rampant that there were issues between the former World Champion and AEW.
Graphics were reportedly made, and then not used, featuring Punk as part of the initial Collision campaign. Some light sleuthing also revealed that Punk’s name had been included in a cached version of the Collision press release. As fans and pundits began to put the pieces together, news that there were issues between Punk and AEW in regard to Ace Steel returning to work also began to bubble.
Steel was terminated by AEW following the backstage altercation he was involved in, along with Punk, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and others, following All Out. Nearly everyone else involved was given a suspension, and all but Punk have returned to AEW TV. The understanding was that Steel would return in a backstage capacity for Collision, along with Punk, but the night before the Upfront, Khan changed his mind and that’s when Punk was pulled from the original announcement.
With those issues seemingly settled, it seems like we are full speed ahead when it comes to Punk’s return to AEW. On today’s Wrestling Observer Radio, it was noted that Steel is in fact back with the company but will be working remotely when Collision begins.