Is AEW Suddenly Teasing CM Punk’s Return?


For two months, no one spoke about what happened following AEW’s All Out pay-per-view. Why has the veil of silence surrounding CM Punk been lifted?


Over the last two and a half months, All Elite Wrestling fans have been craving more details about what happened following CM Punk’s post-All Out media scrum. His incendiary comments about The Elite, Colt Cabana, and Hangman Adam Page set fire to AEW’s core and allegedly led to a backstage altercation with Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks. Those reports got out that night, but it’s been radio silent since then. Multiple reporters, including Dave Meltzer and Ariel Helwani, expressed frustration about how tight-lipped Tony Khan and everyone else involved had been. Now the veil of silence around CM Punk has been lifted, and the timing is curious, since he’d likely be healthy enough to wrestle again by March. Which is when AEW’s next pay-per-view will likely take place.

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After weeks of deflections and quietness, Kenny Omega gave Sports Illustrated an interview and was suddenly more than happy to talk about Punk. After AEW treated his name like a four-letter word on broadcasts, The Best Bout Machine spoke openly about Punk and All Out. Granted, he was encouraging fans to “let it go,” but what transpired on the November 23 episode of Wednesday Night Dynamite was evidence that’s the last thing All Elite Wrestling wants its fans to do. The Elite took on Death Triangle in the second match of a best-of-seven series, and there were numerous references and callbacks to what reportedly happened after All Out. That all this happened in Chicago, CM Punk’s hometown isn’t inconsequential either. After all, The Elite didn’t make a single in-ring reference to Punk just a few days prior at Full Gear.

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AEW Decided To Shine The Spotlight Back On CM Punk

Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks could have simply gone out and worked another high-end match with Death Triangle like they did at the pay-per-view this past weekend. Instead, they made multiple in-ring allusions to CM Punk. Matt Jackson hit a dive to the outside before sitting down in Punk’s trademark cross-legged style on the ground. At one point, Omega bit the bicep of PAC, which is a direct callback to reports that Kenny had been bitten during the backstage confrontation following All Out. To pile it on, even more, Omega used the GTS taunt before hitting an opponent with Punk’s finishing move as Chicago booed. Following the bout, Omega took to Twitter to thank KENTA for allowing him to use the GTS in the match, stoking the fire even more. KENTA and Punk have a long and heated rivalry over who invented the GTS. KENTA is generally credited with the invention of the Go To Sleep, but Punk’s usage of the move is much more famous, and the two have heat over this. The cherry on this sundae was a rare leak from CM Punk’s camp, which stated that he was unhappy about how the six-man tag match went down. That’s a lot of somethin’ after months of nothin’.

If this was a company trying to get fans to forget about CM Punk, it certainly didn’t look like it. This was a zero-to-one hundred MPH ramp-up, one that AEW could have avoided if it wanted to. This is all either a remarkably immature way for The Elite to poke the bear while Punk is on the mend… Or this leads to a massive comeback for the Second City Saint down the line. Punk returning and allowing Khan to turn this fiasco into a storyline would be permission to print money. There could be a year-plus of television milked out of what went down at All Out. The Dynamite match also could have been Omega and The Young Bucks using their platform to thumb their nose at the guy who led them to the five most enormous pay-per-view numbers in company history. Both options seem similarly likely given the kind of year All Elite Wrestling has had and given the backstage reputation The Elite has developed in 2022.

Next: What AEW Can Learn From Core WWE Stars Like Roman Reigns & Drew McIntyre



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