The worst kept secret in all of professional wrestling was finally revealed as CM Punk made his debut appearance on AEW Rampage – The First Dance.
Not only that, Punk announced that he’s coming for Darby Allin at AEW All Out on September 5th!
For several weeks, since it was first reported by Fightful, Punk has been the talk of the wrestling world as it looked increasingly likely that he was set for a return to the ring.
The expectations of a return to wrestling for the former WWE Champion were escalated when AEW announced that they’d be running the second edition of their new Friday night Rampage show from the United Center in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Tickets for the event sold out in minutes after going on general release as the consensus seemed to be something historic was set to happen at the event.
That something came when CM Punk made his entrance to the deafening roar of the Chicago crowd with Cult Of Personality ringing around the jam-packed arena.
The home town hero came home. CM Punk is All Elite.
Punk opened maybe the most anticipated promo in recent memory by saying that the crowd sure know how to make a man feel like he’s Britt Baker in Pittsburgh. The hometown boy then thanked the fans, saying that he heard their chants for seven long years. But he said he had to leave WWE because he was “never going to get healthy in the same place that got him sick in the first place.”
Sitting cross-legged reminiscent of his legendary pipe bomb promo, Punk recalled leaving Ring Of Honor in 2005. The Chicago native said that he left ROH with tears in his eyes because on August 13th 2005, he knew he was leaving professional wrestling. However, on August 20th 2021, he’s back.
The former WWE Champion continued, saying that he was back to work with the young talent who have the same passion he had stamped out of him. At this point, Punk switched tact and turned his attention to Darby Allin and Sting watching from the rafters. He praised Allin for being tough, before saying that “there’s nothing more dangerous you can do than wrestle CM Punk. Except wrestle CM Punk in Chicago.”
The veteran laying down the challenge for All Out on September 5th.
It was later confirmed that CM Punk will make his Dynamite debut on August 25th.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) August 21, 2021
Punk’s last wrestling appearance came at the 2014 Royal Rumble, he famously walked out of WWE the next day after growing ever more disillusioned with the company.
A spell in UFC beckoned but CM Punk was unsuccessful in both his pro MMA fights – the second of which was retroactively declared a no contest after Punk’s opponent failed a drugs test.
A brief return to the world of WWE of sorts then followed for Punk when he became a contributor on the WWE Backstage show. Punk was recruited by broadcaster FOX rather than WWE for that short-lived role.
AEW President Tony Khan had earlier given his biggest hint as to Punk’s appearance on Rampage, saying that a new era for AEW is about to begin. After CM Punk’s appearance in Chicago, it looks likely the third Summer Of Punk could be on the horizon as well.