During Cage Fury Fighting Championships 125 this past Friday night, CM Punk returned to TV as one of the card’s commentators. Punk initially signed on as a commentator for the promotion in 2018 and, somewhat ironically, made his first public appearance following AEW: All Out 2022 around this time last year at CFFC 114.
Early in the program, Punk’s co-commentator John Morgan joked that The Second City Saint had returned to his duties for the promotion “with cause,” a subtle reference to his AEW termination. Later on in the show, when discussing doing possible post-shows for upcoming CFFC events, Punk was asked if he had time on his hands for something like that, to which he said he would for about the next two months.
The line about having the next two months free immediately sparked speculation that Punk could be making a big move back to WWE. In two months’ time, the sports entertainment juggernaut will return to Punk’s hometown of Chicago for their annual Survivor Series premium live event. On top of that, Fightful reported earlier this year that AEW plans to return to The Windy City the Wednesday before for their annual Thanksgiving week episode of Dynamite. With all of that in mind, it could set an appealing stage for Punk to return to the WWE fold.
Haus of Wrestling, unfortunately, has not been able to confirm whether or not Punk has a non-compete clause following his termination with AEW. While asking around about the possibility of one, however, I did learn that Punk does not have any litigation pending against Tony Khan following his termination. Considering how Khan said his life was in danger during Punk’s backstage altercation at AEW: All In London, many people asked me whether Punk could be considering action, and I am told that is not the case.
From what I gather, Punk is looking to avoid any further litigation and move on with his life. He was described to me as someone breathing a sign of relief now that he is away from the day-to-day drama that seemed to follow him at AEW.
We have not been able to gather whether any pending legal action on AEW or Tony Khan’s behalf towards Punk is pending, but things do seem quiet between the two sides.
Another question that has been looming is: Would WWE welcome CM Punk back into the fold?
I’ve done a lot of asking around about a possible WWE return since Punk’s termination, and I have yet to meet someone in WWE or with knowledge of the situation who has ruled it out. One WWE source I spoke with noted that the buzz internally about Punk as a potential free agent is not there like it was when Cody Rhodes was rumored to be on the market at the beginning of 2022. Another source told me that while there could be interest, timing is everything in the pro wrestling business, and at the moment, WWE’s product is hot and not necessarily in need of a big-name signing.
With that said, multiple sources made it clear to me that they saw WWE and Punk working together as a possibility if good business can be done. Especially with WWE and UFC merging to form TKO Group Holdings, the new publicly traded company will be looking for more ways to appease stockholders, whom it ultimately answers to. WWE President Nick Khan recently commented on Punk possibly returning and said they have nothing but respect for him.