If the hype is real and rumours are true then the wrestling world is about to come unglued by the AEW debut of the one and only CM Punk.
Tonight, Rampage emerges from the United Center in Chicago in front of the promotion’s biggest live crowd to date. Fans around the world will gather to watch one of the most eagerly awaited and highly-anticipated comebacks in wrestling history and confirmation that CM Punk is “All Elite”.
AEW and CM Punk make a perfect combination. AEW is the alternative organisation that, despite the odds, is thriving creatively and in popularity. Punk was the “voice of voiceless” and due to departure from WWE and subsequent comments about the company is a figure of rebellion against the Stamford promotion.
Punk walked out on WWE way back in February of 2014. His last match was in the Royal Rumble of that year and ever since then, his return to the ring has been one of the biggest “what ifs” in professional wrestling history. Now it appears as though that question has been answered as his AEW debut seems to be imminent.
His arrival in the promotion brings electric shock levels of excitement not only for his long-yearned appearance but his fresh faces and new matches that lay on the horizon for “the best in the world”.
Here are 5 dream opponents for CM Punk in AEW.
5. Darby Allin
First on the list, and maybe rather obvious, is Darby Allin. Allin was the first member of the AEW roster to hint at the arrival of CM Punk with his “best in the world” comments some weeks back.
Punk and Allin both have an alternative and unique aura that fans are drawn to. They both embrace the counter-culture and a straight-edge lifestyle but that is where the comparisons end. Punk is a methodical and cerebral wrestler whereas Allin attacks his opponents with reckless abandon.
Allin is white-hot in AEW and has been since day one. Punk has been absent from wrestling for nearly eight years but remained one of the most popular and relevant acts. Therefore the clash between the two both in and out of the ring would have the face vs. face dynamic, which will have the fans at an unbelievable level of excitement.
The action in the ring would be special also. Allin is still in the up-and-coming category. He is full fire and more than willing to sacrifice his body to gain the advantage of his opponents. CM Punk on the other hand is a wily and crafty veteran who is happy to exploit his opponent’s weakness and get dirty to get the job done. However, Allin is more than capable of wrestling and could give Punk, who hasn’t wrestled in years, one of his toughest challenges.
4. Eddie Kingston
Ask any wrestling fan what makes Eddie Kingston such a special talent and the first thing they’ll say would likely be about his passionate promos. Ask the same about Punk and you will more than likely get a similar answer. Therefore the prospect of possible mic battles between these two is enough to bring a tear to your eye.
They both have a long history and strong love for, and from, the indies. Punk is the indie darling that it made it big while Kingston is the wrestling journeyman finally getting his chance to shine on the big stage. The story almost writes itself but what Punk and Kingston will bring to it will be Homeric levels of storytelling.
In the ring, Kingston brings a smashmouth style mixed with elements of Japanese strong-style and MMA, which is perfect for Punk’s post-WWE and UFC career. So a meeting between these two wordsmiths and strikers would be one for the history books.
3. Jon Moxley
How could you have an AEW dream opponents list with Jon Moxley on it? His credentials have skyrocketed since his emphatic AEW debut two years ago. His arrival in the company set the precedent of talent leaving WWE but being able to thrive elsewhere.
Similar to Punk, Moxley left WWE of his own volition and has since been highly critical of how he believes the company operates and stifles individual creativity.
Punk and Moxley both possess an air of bullishness, stubbornness and live as renegades within their respective worlds. For them to clash both verbally and physically will pure magic. In AEW, Punk and Moxley are unleashed and unchained – and the result would be off the charts, my friends.
Just to have CM Punk and MJF on the same show was unfathomable months ago but now seems a very real possibility. Just imagining the promos these would cut on each other brings you out in goosebumps. Two of the best to ever pick up a microphone would create memorable and unforgettable lyrical onslaughts upon one another is a wrestling fan’s dream come true.
Personality-wise, they seem like chalk and cheese but they are not too dissimilar when you scrape the surface. Both hold themselves in very high regard, are extremely obnoxious – but can back up everything they say with actions.
Not only are Punk and MJF expert storytellers on the mic, but in the ring too. Whether Punk be a heel or a face in the feud he would excel. MJF is an old-school heel and wrestler that is the perfect antagonist Punk as a face but their exchanges as heels trying to outdo each other on the stick would be simply pure class.
1. Kenny Omega
Can there be a top AEW opponents list without Kenny Omega at the top of the list? The short answer is “no” because Omega is the most established, accomplished and exciting wrestler in the company. He is loved and lauded by the AEW faithful.
When AEW first came into fruition fans criticised the lack of Omega at the top of the company reminiscent of his NJPW run. His in-ring exploits were never in doubt, it was his position on the card and within the division that was the problem. After a successful run as the AEW World Tag Team Champions with Adam “Hangman” Page, Omega made an attitude shift and became a new and improved version of the Cleaner.
Since turning heel and winning the AEW Championship he took his rightful place at the top of the mountain and has been there ever since. Along with the rest of the Elite, they have run roughshod over the entire promotion. The arrival of CM Punk will undoubtedly create a seismic shift within AEW and send shockwaves all the way to the top and Kenny Omega.
The biggest name in wrestling right now going against the champion of the most talked-about promotion is a feud and match-up that both wrestler’s rabid fanbase will go wild for.
The Best in the World vs. the Best Bout Machine main eventing an AEW pay-per-view? Take my money. Take all of my money. Hell, take my house.