Return of CM Punk and What That Means for Wrestling

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Makayla Kennedy, Lifestyle Editor

The best in the world has come back to the world of professional wrestling. On August 20, 2021, after 7 years and many teases and rumors later, CM Punk made his triumphant debut on AEW. 

CM Punk is a professional wrestler best known for his time in WWE and Ring of Honor where he won a multitude of championships. From World Champion to Tag Team Champion, CM Punk was a fan favorite, mostly being known for speaking his mind and delivering one of the best and most memorable promos in WWE history, the pipebomb. 

After his retirement from wrestling in 2014, Punk tried his hand in UFC and acting, starring in movies like Girl on the Third Floor, but fans dreamt of seeing him back in the squared circle once more. In 2021, those dreams came true and Punk made his debut in AEW, but that raises the question: why not WWE? 

WWE was once the most dominant wrestling promotion, swallowing up other competition like WCW and ECW. Back then if you were in the WWE, you made it. Over the years WWE has fallen short with the rise of other wrestling promotions like TNA, AEW and even their own NXT. 

“I still prefer WWE,” said Blake Simpson, an Agua Fria sophomore. “I just like how they run things.” 

Since April 2020 all the way until now, WWE has released around 120 wrestlers and backstage crew which does not help them against the battle of AEW. A lot of these releases are big name and fan favorites like Rusev, Aleister Black and Bray Wyatt.  Fundamentally, they make no sense. 

“WWE is run with the vision of its owner Vince McMahon.” said Mr Byron, a government teacher at Agua Fria. “He sees things in some people and doesn’t see things in others,” he added. 

Now the return of CM Punk doesn’t just mean great news for AEW, but it also is a turning point and a game changer for WWE. 

“If AEW keeps drawing in their fans, which it seems like that’s what they’re doing, it’s going to make WWE up their game. It’s simple competition,” Byron said. 

For AEW though, Punk is drawing in major ratings. His debut alone drew in 1.12 million viewers. “I just think since he’s been gone for so long and he’s such a good wrestler, it’s just gonna bring the energy back and get people back into watching it,” Simpson said. 

CM Punk’s debut had everyone from wrestlers to fans blowing up the internet. “Pro wrestling is wild, I love it,” tweeted WWE superstar Keith Lee during Punk’s debut. Many AEW stars tweeted pictures with Punk after the show. Even AEW superstar Sammy Guevara had him in his vlog. 

Wrestling fan or not, it’s a very heartwarming thing to see someone return and be able to do something they’re passionate about again. CM Punk is a wrestling legend and having him back to the wrestling scene is very nostalgic and exciting. Let’s see what he can bring to the table.