As WWE NXT vs. AEW Dynamite fever took hold, the pro wrestling world got a big update on the future of CM Punk. Following his termination from AEW and weeks of rampant speculation, word got out yesterday that Punk and WWE are not discussing a possible return. WWE Survivor Series had become the rumored homecoming spot for The Second City Savior, considering it is being held in his backyard of Chicago. However, it was made clear that Punk will not be at Survivor Series, is not under a new WWE deal, and the two sides are not talking. Haus of Wrestling has been able to confirm this, as well, independently.
On today’s Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer reported that WWE “turned him down” after discovering Punk was interested in a return. Vince McMahon, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, and Nick Khan weighed the pros and cons of Punk returning to the WWE fold and ultimately decided now was not the right time. The door was not fully closed to a Punk return, as it was noted that this is being looked at more as “a no for now.”
Meltzer discussed the history between the two sides and how there had been both positives and negatives. While not explicitly stated, the lawsuit WWE Dr. Chris Amann filed against Punk for comments he made on Colt Cabana’s Art Of Wrestling podcast alleging what amounts to medical malpractice is likely one of a few sticking points. That said, Meltzer pointed to instances in the past few years that have opened the door for Punk to return to the WWE mix.
Notably, in November 2019, Punk became a panelist on Fox Sports’ WWE Backstage program, also featuring Renee Paquette and Booker T. His inclusion on the show came at the behest of Fox executives and received some pushback from Vince McMahon. About ten months ago, Punk’s name came up again in conversations with Fox. At the time, Punk was off AEW TV following his All Out media scrum controversy, and there was interest in his availability. However, Punk was still under an AEW contract, so nothing could be done. This time around, Punk was not under an AEW contract, and they decided to pass regardless.
Haus of Wrestling spoke to a source close to the situation yesterday who also felt the door was open for Punk to return to WWE down the road. It was pointed out to me that WWE now answers to Endeavor, and if they feel he is needed, Punk could be called upon. The fact the WWE product is hot and not in need of an additional big star is something that has come up regularly in my conversations with people about the situation.
Also, for those who have asked, no, I do not foresee Punk jumping back to AEW.
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