After around a week of contemplation, but AEW President Tony Khan finally made the hard decision to fire CM Punk after the wrestler's backstage scuffle with Jack Perry. The firing came after several past incidents with Punk and almost a year after the superstar's indefinite suspension following a backstage brawl. With Punk's AEW contract terminated, there are rumors of Punk possibly returning to the WWE. However, with Khan calling Punk's firing "the right move," does the wrestler deserve another shot in the big leagues?
CM Punk is one of wrestling's top superstars, no doubt, but there's also no denying he has a long history of legitimate BTS issues with many of his peers, as well as those at the top of the WWE food chain. There's a lot to consider regarding the idea of his return, especially in light of the recent events that led to his AEW dismissal.
Tony Khan Called Firing CM Punk "The Right Move"
Currently, there are a lot of questions regarding whether or not CM Punk can even join the WWE. The termination of his AEW contract directly indicates nothing about the terms of his release, now whether there's a non-compete clause that prohibits him from joining the rival organization. It's unclear at this time if Punk ever had a non-compete clause issued in the event of his release, and if his termination nullified it in any way.
Tony Khan was asked about the details of Punk's release at the All Out Post Show Media Scrum but dodged the question while discussing his thoughts on why it was necessary to fire him:
I don’t want to discuss the terms of the separation in that sense,.I very much want to thank CM Punk, Phil, for everything he did in AEW as a wrestler. I don’t think it was an easy decision for anybody on the discipline committee or for the outside counsel or for me to do something like that. But I do think it was the right move. As far as what’s going to happen in the future, I can’t speak to that. I’m not the attorneys who interpret all that language and stuff.
Tony Khan agreed it was a tough decision to let go of CM Punk, but ultimately a necessary one. I think there's little doubt that other wrestling organizations will attempt to sway the wrestler into joining their ranks, but will his former employers within the WWE also attempt to pull the future Hall of Famer in? The company certainly didn't hesitate to welcome back Cody Rhodes after he departed, and so far, that's proven to be one of the best decisions the company has made in some time.
There's Speculation The WWE Will Bring Back CM Punk Ahead Of Survivor Series
If CM Punk is available to join the WWE, it's excellent timing for the wrestling organization to bring him in. Survivor Series will be in Chicago on November 25th, and of course, Punk is a hometown hero in the city. Having Punk make his grand return to the WWE in his place would be an over-the-top great return for the superstar and one that would excite wrestling fans far and wide.
It is worth noting that while CM Punk's past issues with the WWE are well documented, he made an appearance backstage at Monday Night Raw earlier this year, reportedly to make amends with many wrestlers. Is it possible the bad blood is set aside, and the WWE is ready to bring "The Best In The World" back into its ranks?
Does CM Punk Deserve Another Shot In The WWE?
The world of pro wrestling can be complicated, and sometimes, the line between reality and showmanship can be blurred. While Punk did appear backstage at Monday Night Raw and allegedly make some amends, he was quickly removed from the premises after that. One can't help but think back to the words of Seth Rollins back when Punk was previously suspended from AEW following a brawl with Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, and what he had to say about the potential of Punk rejoining WWE:
A reminder of what Seth Rollins said just earlier this year about CM Punk returning to WWE. 💀💀💀pic.twitter.com/VCtvvaoPEsSeptember 2, 2023
Part of that response might've been Seth Rollins being his typical heel persona. When blended with the real-life incidents that surfaced from CM Punk's time in AEW, however, one has to wonder how truthful Rollins is actually being. CM Punk's sudden departure from the WWE in January of 2014 came after a no-show at Monday Night Raw, and then simply never returned. Rather than try to hash things out, Punk stayed away from pro wrestling for seven years, rejoining only as a wrestler in 2021 with AEW.
CM Punk believes he is a top talent in pro wrestling, and he has a strong case, given his instant popularity in AEW despite being away from pro wrestling for so long. At the same time, the WWE has quite a few top stars at the moment, and none of them have managed to dethrone the current biggest name in pro wrestling, Roman Reigns.
Reigns is all but assured the top billing at WrestleMania 40, while CM Punk famously never was the main event at WrestleMania despite his massive popularity. Bringing in Punk will inevitably bring up the question of how to book him at the event, and I think he'd make the case for being in the main event. I'll be honest: I kind of love the idea of a CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, and Roman Reigns triple threat for the Undisputed Championship, especially with Rhodes and Punk's AEW ties.
At the same time, is that a story that the WWE needs to tell, especially if there's a chance Punk will bring the same backstage issues he had with AEW? It's a valid question that is probably already being discussed behind closed doors, and we, as fans will have to wait and see what becomes of these conversations.
Monday Night Raw airs on USA Network on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET, and SmackDown is on Fox on Fridays at the same time. We shall see if any CM Punk chatter pops up on either show in the coming weeks and if the superstar will get another chance to truly show fans that he's still "The Best In The World."