CM Punk hasn’t stepped into a wrestling ring in more than five years, but somehow he still remains one of the most famous wrestlers in the world. Punk has claimed on numerous occasions that he would never return to a Vince McMahon led WWE but the rise of AEW has turned the former World Champion’s head and many believed that Tony Khan‘s promotion could be a way for him to return to be part of the biggest wrestling war since WWE vs WCW.
As with many stories, the plot thickened this week when CM Punk seemingly took steps towards working with WWE once again and now there looks to be a bidding war ongoing between WWE and AWE for the signature of the self-proclaimed “Best in the World.”
WWE is heading into one of the biggest weeks in their history which they are calling Premiere Week and are going all out to ensure that NXT is seen as competition against AEW’s debut on TNT on Wednesday night. In recent months CM Punk has looked most likely to be heading over to ply his trade with AEW after appearing at Starrcast III ahead of All Out last month in Chicago.
Khan went on to state that he had a “good relationship” with CM Punk but that might not be the case since the star himself had his own take on these reports.
“No. I know they like to talk about me a lot. If I text Matt Jackson, ‘Hey, have a great show tonight,’ which I did when they had their big show in Vegas, that somehow turns into Tony Khan telling people he has a great relationship with me. I’ve said in the past I’ve talked to them, but nothing ever came of anything.”
Cody Rhodes has talked about Punk a number of times since last year’s original All In show to the point where many fans believed that Punk would make an appearance at Double or Nothing, but this didn’t happen.
The relationship between Punk and AEW doesn’t look to be on the same level that it once was, with Rhodes openly all but confirming that the former WWE star wouldn’t be boosting the ranks in AEW anytime soon.
“He did kind of make us look like dumbasses, saying we sent him a text offer. I’m sure we texted him, but we also called him. Someone also met you in a coffee shop. We made genuine efforts. But in this case, 2019, it’s been quite some time away from the ring. We gotta focus on who really wants to be on board with us versus going out and finding someone who perhaps doesn’t really want to be part of this.”
While both WWE and AEW have confirmed that “the door is always open” for Punk at either promotion, at present WWE look as though they could have the advantage given the fact that they now have a working relationship with the FOX Network.
Reports suggest that CM Punk’s representative approached FOX regarding a role as co-host on WWE Backstage which is the company’s new talk show on FOX. Punk has since been and recorded test footage which has gone down well with the Network and led to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer stating that “the feeling is he’ll probably get an offer.”
It is worth stating that Punk would be working on behalf of FOX and not technically WWE and the Network may only be interested since they want SmackDown to have a real sport feel to it moving forward which is why they requested Brock Lesnar on the brand moving forward.
Punk has been away from the ring for a long time and in that time it looks as though his issues with WWE have only further soured and vice versa following his lawsuit with WWE doctor Chris Amman which went on to cost Punk a seven-figure sum in legal fees even though he came out victorious. This legal battle also caused a rift between Punk and his best friend Colt Cabana who’s podcast was the reason for the lawsuit to begin with.
Punk has now become one of the most talked-about stars ahead of the biggest week in recent wrestling history and as long as AEW and WWE keep pushing for him to sign, his fee will continue to rise. Right now Punk has no obligation to be part of either promotion, but FOX knows that he could be the key to overcoming any competition that AEW put forward in the coming months and it’s hard to imagine that Punk won’t want to be part of that.
WWE Backstage is currently set to be hosted by Renee Young and Booker T but if Fox requests Punk’s involvement and the former star is able to restrain himself regarding comments about the company, its hard to see WWE saying no to an opportunity to bring back one of the best of all time.