Report: ‘Influential’ WWE Figure Would Vote 'No' On Potential CM Punk Return
A potential road back into WWE for CM Punk may not be straight forward
After nearly two months of silence it seems we may be nearing the end of the AEW ‘brawl out’ saga, after Ace Steel’s dismissal from the company, and subsequent reports of a potential contract buy-out of CM Punk.
Nothing has been confirmed as of yet as to the future of Punk, but that hasn’t stopped rumours of a potential WWE return for the ‘Second City Saint’, with the former WWE Champion's notoriety arguably at an all-time high. However, Punk’s future in either AEW nor WWE might not be plain sailing, with PWTorch’s Wade Keller saying the following on a recent PWTorchVIP podcast:
"Quite a few people I spoke with who had become familiar with Punk over the years had predicted when he signed with AEW that his stint with AEW wouldn't go well and wouldn't last, citing his personality, and his general history of discontent,” said Keller before adding that Punk’s rumoured AEW salary was a point of discontent in the locker-room; "There was some jealousy of his rumoured salary, you know, upwards of $3 million per year, with understandably, some wrestlers thinking their spot on the card moved down a notch, and their potential push was delayed a year or two because of him. Jon Moxley has made it clear he wanted to be an alpha top guy. Cody Rhodes wanted that, he saw himself as that. Kenny Omega was initially seen as being that. Bryan Danielson was in certain ways redundant to Punk as a lead babyface…"
Keller continued "He didn't make enough of an impression on the younger wrestlers to be the de facto locker room leader he might have seen himself as. This, in itself, didn't make inevitable his growing discontent and ultimate departure, but it might have made it easier for him to imagine putting at risk his position with the rant at the Media Q and A; which felt both calculated and unhinged."
As for Punk and WWE, Keller says a return wouldn’t be so straightforward:
“As I talked about this fall, Paul Levesque is more likely to bring Punk back than Vince McMahon would have been, not less. That doesn't mean Paul Levesque was a fan of CM Punk. But Paul Levesque is in a different position than Vince McMahon. Vince McMahon never believed in CM Punk. And therefore, in the way he pushed Punk never really fully got behind him. Paul Levesque, while he thinks Punk personality wise might be more trouble than he's worth, has shown a history of recognising wrestlers who are over with today's fans that he himself might not have predicted would be over…
"Somebody who's currently in WWE, and is within the sphere of influence of Paul Levesque's decision making would be a hard 'No' as of me asking this person today. A hard 'No' on endorsing the return of CM Punk, even if it would help business. I won't go into exactly what was said, but when I asked, I got a long paragraph of one sentence after another of negative comments about how they feel about Punk now, compared to 8/9/10 years ago, based on what's happened in AEW, in the last 13 months.
“And by the way, related to this, I talked to three people of significant stature in AEW in the last couple of days… I asked how would a vote go in the AEW locker room if they were asked if they wanted Punk to return? One person said he wouldn't fare very well. Another person said he thinks he might not get a single vote. And someone else says he doesn't think he'd get many votes… I think he'd get some personally just based on conversations I've had the last six weeks with others. The three people I just talked to in the last few days are higher, prominent people of influence in that locker room. So that tells you something about his standing and why I think if Punk were to return it wouldn't necessarily go well for him in either place. And I think that's going to fall into the calculations of Tony Khan right now. And it might fall into the calculation of Paul Levesque. I still believe Levesque would be more likely to bring him in than Vince McMahon for the reasons I said, but I think there would be some pushback by people in Levesque's sphere of influence,” said Keller.