CM Punk had high praise for his AEW debut on the second edition of Rampage, calling it a “joyful moment” whilst comparing it to his WWE Championship at Money In The Bank 2011.
Kicking off AEW Rampage: The First Dance, CM Punk made his return to professional wrestling for the first time in over seven years. This marked his first appearance on a televised wrestling show since the January 20th 2014 edition of RAW. Later that week, he quit WWE after competing in that year’s Royal Rumble match and has not wrestled since.
Speaking during the Rampage post-show media scrum, Punk was asked how debuting in AEW compared to his iconic WWE Championship win at Money In The Bank 2011. The now-AEW star discussed how the return wasn’t overly produced, specifically noting that it “did not feel like a job” unlike his title win a decade ago:
“This felt more organic. Everything I ever did prior to being here felt like a fight, and it kinda squeezed the life out of some stuff. This was a joyful moment that was just—it didn’t need to get overproduced, it didn’t need everybody’s input, it needed a few select people’s input and just an understanding that it’s pro wrestling, you know? You don’t need to slick it up and lacquer it, shine it up too much, it needed to be real. So, to compare the two moments, this one did not feel like a job.”
Later, Punk elaborated on how the backstage atmosphere in AEW feels like everyone just wants to have fun and why the moment being the “worst kept secret” in wrestling is actually a benefit.
“We also don’t want to beat you over the head with it and lie. You know, I didn’t have them construct some fugazi pipe and drape and drive me in the United Center and hide me from everybody. I walked in here like a human being, and I was like, ‘hey everybody,’ meeting people walking through the hallway because I just think these people, again, nobody’s back here standing on their own dick. Everybody’s getting out of their own way. Just let stuff happen and having fun. Behind the camera and in front of the camera, people just having fun, and they just want to be a part of it, that’s it. So nobody’s trying to, you know, tweet and spoil stuff. Let’s just all have fun.
So I think a lot of people back here were in on it. They knew I was going to be here but they weren’t sure, and man isn’t that fun? Isn’t that fun? Worst kept secret designed that way for a reason. You can criticize and say well, ‘they should advertise, maybe the ratings will be better.’ It’s about the moments. It’s about the moments and making people go ‘oh man, I can’t miss the show I don’t know what’s going to happen. This is fun and I want to be a part of.”
Elsewhere on the media scrum, the Chicago-native revealed some of the details of his AEW contract alongside Tony Khan.
During his Rampage appearance, CM Punk laid down a challenge to Darby Allin for a match at All Out though the bout has yet to be made official.