Despite teases, hints and a sit-down interview to promote WWE 2K13 a decade ago, CM Punk and Steve Austin never got the chance to go one-on-one inside the squared circle.
Austin’s full-time career was long over by the time Punk hit his peak in WWE, and although there has been speculation that the legend would come out of retirement to face the now-AEW star, the match never came to fruition.
While they never met in the ring, the pair remain friends and a great deal of respect exists between them. During a new interview with Alfred Konuwa of Forbes, Austin revealed that he recently spoke to the controversial star, praising him as a great promo guy and a great worker.
“Man, I just sent Punk a message last night,” Austin said. “I didn’t know he had torn his triceps. I haven’t been following anything. I don’t know what’s going on with that. Me and Phil trade messages every here and there. We rarely talk, probably once or twice a year.”
“I love the guy, and I don’t even know if I mentored him because Punk’s probably a lot smarter than I am. Great promo guy, great worker, he’s got his own thing going, and we’re just friends,”
Austin went on to recall meeting Punk in Chicago, before discussing the influence he may have had on him earlier in his career.
“I think I remember there’s a picture of myself and him from Chicago, my favorite town to work in, my favorite building,” Austin said. “I guess he had come down to where we were all hanging out. Maybe he looked up to me back in the day, but I don’t know if I so much mentored him because I think he paid his own dues. He learned it the way he did, and he got over on his own merits. The fact that maybe I could have been somewhat of an influence would be flattering if that were the case. But he’s made his own career.”
CM Punk’s AEW Return Reportedly Hangs In The Balance
It had been widely reported that CM Punk will be returning to AEW on the debut episode of Collision on June 17th. While there has been no official confirmation, it has been claimed that this will be broadcast live from the United Center in Chicago.
However, following the latest wave of controversy around the star, his return appears much less cut and dried, with AEW reportedly making contingency plans. It has also been reported that a number of top stars would be “relieved” if he never came back.