This has been wrestling Ahab’s quest for seven years now. He’s the white whale, if the white whale had Residing Color taking part in wherever he went. Which in all probability would have made him means simpler to search out, and been a a lot simpler ebook to learn. However I prattle on, and we’re not right here to speak about Moby Dick or the hours all of us wasted simply so we might honestly declare we learn it. No, it’s time for CM Punk rumors!
Ever since WWE launched Punk over seven years in the past, whispers of a return have populated the darkish areas and again alleys of wrestling fandom. You hear this yearly or so, that he’s supposedly in talks with somebody, although Punk himself couldn’t be extra adamant that he’d left the enterprise behind. They’re all the time much more out of hope than expectation, however they’re all the time there.
However right this moment, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com, maybe probably the most plugged-in man within the enterprise, began shaking the wrestling world down to its studs when he broke a narrative on Punk’s ongoing talks with AEW. Sapp was at pains to level out nothing has been signed, no date confirmed, or something prefer it. Simply that “severe” talks had taken place, and that some higher-ups in WWE imagine Punk could possibly be headed to their competitors.
Even simply whispers about precise talks are one thing like breaking new floor, as Punk has by no means shied to cover how a lot he’s completed with wrestling. It’s been well-known that each WWE and AEW and everybody else below the solar would name, however that Punk would by no means reply.
No matter hidden insurgent chief you consider, that’s what Punk means to wrestling followers. He’s the title they cry when issues in WWE don’t go to their liking, he’s the one who they’re certain will are available to avoid wasting the enterprise. That’s what occurs while you’re among the best talkers within the recreation, in addition to among the best in-ring employees, and carry your self with a fan’s angle. Punk all the time talked and wrestled as if he have been just a few man who by some means acquired contained in the ropes and was going to reside out his dream the best way he needed earlier than safety realized what was occurring. That’s why he’s nonetheless one of the vital well-liked names in wrestling, regardless of not being wrestling in seven years.
If — and it’s a blimp-sized “if” — Punk have been to come back again and are available again on AEW, it will be laborious to see it as something aside from a seismic shift in wrestling. Whereas the added eyeballs would definitely push Dynamite into Monday Night time Uncooked numbers ratings-wise, maybe the larger issue could be the assertion it makes on the place wrestlers go once they simply wish to have storylines and matches they assume are cool. WWE will all the time have the ability to throw probably the most cash at wrestlers, and there’s nothing incorrect with taking that money in a enterprise that may be merciless, through which careers can finish immediately with one unhealthy spot.
However for individuals who have both made their cash or don’t care about it as a lot, Punk ending up within the insurgent firm would be the greatest signal about the place they should be. Not that Jon Moxley or Chris Jericho or Miro or just a few others leaping to the brand new firm have been non-events. However this is able to be one thing else totally.
WWE’s creative has been in the toilet for some time, as we talked about yesterday. SmackDown is miles higher, however continues to be mainly Roman Reigns-centric. When you’re not concerned in that, you’re nonetheless on the perimeter for probably the most half. AEW, at the least for the lads, has just a few totally different avenues open to common TV time and publicity, and has a brand new present on Fridays premiering in a month. And nearly everybody will get an opportunity in AEW.
It’s additionally allowed its greatest stars to do what they need, in a great way. Moxley acquired to return to his indie, rugged, downright harmful/unhinged persona. Kenny Omega and The Bucks acquired to flower out the asshole nature of The Elite on these shores as a substitute of Japan. Chris Jericho is… properly, Chris Jericho. They usually’ve gotten to feud with rotating opponents and varied kinds of matches, as a substitute of operating the identical match with one opponent for weeks in a row. The inventive prospects are simply a lot extra diverse and spring-loaded than in WWE.
There are nonetheless so some ways for it to not occur, and that is the primary one:
Whereas Punk lived out his dream, ever because it has all the time felt like wrestling wanted him greater than he wanted it. And whereas each AEW and WWE would provide him a two-flat full of money tomorrow to get him again, the concept of there being a quantity that might coax Punk again into the ring goes towards every part that made him so beloved within the first place.
Nonetheless, the considered the opening chords to “Cult of Character” blaring out at All Out, the group turning into some type of collective, raucous sludge, with Twitter exploding have been an excessive amount of of a siren track for wrestling as a complete to ever utterly dismiss. If Punk’s return have been to occur, and he went to AEW, properly then, WWE may even take discover and admit it has to alter issues.
However that would by no means occur. May it?