CM Punk hasn’t appeared on AEW television since September 2022, but his future remains a hot topic of conversation.
Following AEW All Out where he won the World Championship for a second time, Punk launched into a remarkable rant at the post-show media scrum. Following his verbal jabs at The Elite, Colt Cabana, and Hangman Adam Page, a brawl erupted backstage involving Punk, Ace Steel, the Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega. All involved were suspended pending an investigation and Steel ended up leaving the company altogether.
The Elite eventually returned to television leaving just Punk absent at least in part due to triceps surgery. However, it was recently reported that Punk would soon be “available” to return should AEW want to use him. But fans’ hopes were quickly dashed by a further report which stated that no fences have been mended between Punk and The Elite.
Against this backdrop, there was also speculation that the star could make a remarkable return to WWE. These rumours stated that Ace Steel had been at the Royal Rumble, seemingly in an effort to try and help broker a deal. Steel has also previously worked with the company as a producer.
Reporting in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer dismissed these claims, noting that Steel wasn’t even at the Royal Rumble, let alone negotiating for Punk.
“There were reports going around regarding Chris Guy (Ace Steel) being at the Royal Rumble and then speculating that he was there to broker a deal for C.M. Punk. However, not only is that impossible at this point because Punk is under contract to AEW, but Guy wasn’t at the Rumble to begin with so that aspect of the story was incorrect from the start. Guy worked with WWE as a producer from 2019 to April 2020 when he was furloughed due to COVID cutbacks, hired back in October 2020 before being let go at the start of 2022 where Punk got him into AEW.”
Why Did CM Punk Leave WWE?
CM Punk walked out of WWE after no-showing two television tapings he had been advertised for in January 2014. Although WWE initially claimed Punk’s absence was due to a sabbatical, it quickly became clear it was much more than that. Punk’s unhappiness stemmed from feeling that he was pressured to work while injured, and his unhappiness with his creative direction.
The fall-out from his exit was such that it was widely believed for a number of years that Punk would never wrestle again.