In professional wrestling you’re never supposed to say never, and goodness, I said it twice in one sentence, but it does look like CM Punk’s time in AEW is over for good. His release from the company after an altercation between he and Jack Perry seems to have been the final nail on the coffin that was his AEW run.
And with rumors of him possibly joining back up with WWE—maybe at Survivor Series—circulating around online, I’ve decided to look back at some of his absolute best moments while he was in AEW.
AEW can definitely be a great place, and as many great decisions they’ve made in management—the additions of the likes of Christian Cage and Adam Copeland are obviously some examples—the company has also definitely had quite a few misses, and the way CM Punk was managed is an obvious miss.
Trouble seemed to start up the minute Cody Rhodes left the company, the mismanagement of the legendary star seemed to start right off the bat by that point, and one mistake in direction led to another and frustration for CM Punk seemed to only grow from then on.
So yeah, I’ll go on record to say that AEW mismanaged Punk and never really knew how to use him in the ways he quite obviously should have been used for the duration of his time there. Unfortunately he was also plagued with many injuries, but he was there to compete and he was there to help…and the support he got in return was mostly nonexistent, and that stood for many members of the roster, sad to say.
But in the end, we were left with some astounding moments that had the old goose flesh up and prickling and fans of CM Punk will never forget these moments, despite all the turmoil that would be unfortunately unearthed during his run with AEW.
Let’s look back on these moments as we await the next steps in his legendary career and cross our fingers at a Survivor Series debut/return in WWE, where he can have the run he deserves to ultimately end his career on, which hopefully is a long, long way off.
CM Punk’s AEW Debut
I mentioned goose bumps before, and really there are those moments in professional wrestling when time stands still, some music hits, and you’re frozen…watching the events on screen or live in stadium, unfolding and you can’t move…you’re completely immobilized.
There have been many such moments in professional wrestling. Adam Copeland fans, AEW fans, and even some smart WWE fans had one such moment at WrestleDream where Adam Copeland came out in a debut that would shatter the wrestling industry.
But one debut shook the very foundation of the industry and that was CM Punk’s debut in AEW after 7 years away from the business. It was perhaps only he at that time that could validate AEW and he did. For once the little engine that could company showed that they were there to play and play hard.
With CM Punk coming in, he legitimized the competition and AEW hasn’t looked back since. I hope before the CM Punk era chapter is closed, Tony Khan and others in the company see what CM Punk brought the company no matter how it turned out and admit it. CM Punk changed the game and that’s a fact.
Punk’s Coming Out To AFI’s “Miseria Cantare”—His Old ROH Entrance Theme
This moment too caused the goose flesh to rise and it has a lot to do with the haunting lyrics of the epically talented Davey Havok of AFI. There are front men that can capture that essence… that almost enigma-like entity whispering words and poetry into your ears, and Havok has that ability.
Something stirs inside you with a great few bars of music, and this song hits all the notes. Put this perfect song in the realm of professional wrestling where hyping up is necessary, for the performers themselves and for the fans, and you’ve got a match made in heaven.
CM Punk knew this and recognized it in this song back during his ROH days and he knew how important it would be to come in to his match at Revolution 2022. It was the perfect element and it made all the difference.
3-Man Tag Match With Sting and Darby Allin
Sometimes the planets line up perfectly, and really to see CM Punk in face paint, teaming with the past and the future of the business encompassed, it was exactly what he had come to AEW to accomplish…a nod to the past and a massive push of support to those that were coming up in the business.
If you ask me, if CM Punk had knowledge to impart on one Jack Perry, Jack Perry should have been all ears, listening and heeding the advice of the legend. Perry could have learned a thing or two from Allin, who seems to have soaked up all the knowledge imparted him from not only one epic legend but two.
Very disappointed in Mr. Jack Perry.
Defeating Hangman Adam Page For The AEW World Heavyweight Championship
This was a statement and a big one at that. To say that Adam Page had a disappointing run with the World Title would be an understatement, but in essence it showed just how the landscape of AEW had been at that point, which was a smaller company trying desperately to make it to that upper echelon where WWE was essentially holding court. And despite WWE having a much less quality product than AEW they were still trailing.
AEW didn’t reach similar numbers or vast success until CM Punk got there; this cannot be denied, and taking the belt off of an AEW original and giving it to CM Punk was the perfect example of the shift and a seemingly evident admission on Tony Khan’s part, essentially recognizing the cachet and star power that CM Punk brought in.
Unfortunately, this was also what might have further created tension amongst a particular portion of the locker room, leading to the issues that came to light as the months would pass.
The Dog Collar Match vs. MJF at Revolution (2022)
The absolute best dog collar match in history. CM Punk and MJF told an epic story on the way to this PPV and they told an epic story in the ring that night. Violent, but poetically so. Up there with Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 if you ask me.
CM Punk’s time in AEW is sadly marred in controversy and school yard bull, but in the end, he needs to be appreciated for what he brought to the table and his legacy will live on—even his time in AEW. And CM Punk’s legacy is one to be proud of.
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