Happy Memorial Day Weekend NAIborhood, I hope it’s a relaxing one full of Wrestling & Cheeseburgers. Maybe even Cheeseburger Wrestling. For those outside the States, Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to Summer here in the U.S. And Summer comes with beach days, BBQs, and this year, CM Punk speculation.
It’s been over 4 years since Punk was eliminated from the Royal Rumble, never to return. For years fans have wondered if and when the Straight Edge Superstar would make his triumphant WWE comeback, or perhaps stick it to them by working someplace else. CM Punk has been free to work in Japan, Ring of Honor, TNA, wherever he so chose. He did fight in the UFC octagon, and will again, but there have been no serious rumors or reports of CM Punk emerging in the squared circle. Then came All In, an autograph signing the day before, and oh ya, it all taking place in Chicago. For the first time, fans of the current (yet fleeting) longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era have real reason to buzz, and maybe even expect to see CM Punk in a Wrestling capacity. Will he work a match? No, I sincerely doubt it. Could he make an on screen appearance, thank the crowd, and cut the most viral Wrestling Promo of the year? Absolutely.
CM Punk, despite the chants and hype, is still a polarizing figure. There are some who never bought in, have changed their mind, or have simply moved on from the former Heavyweight Champion of the World. Attention spans are short and WWE’s roster is loaded. But this is Chicago.
No matter what you think of the man, Mr. 434 strolling into All In would be the biggest headline in years, a truly historic moment, and one that would undoubtedly be the lasting memory of the largest independent spectacular ever. As someone who wouldn’t consider himself much of a Punk fan anymore to say the least, I’m also a ticket holder, and yes – I’d love to see it. I’d love to feel the excitement from the crowd, see people who owe a lot of their fandom to Punk be rewarded, and know I was witnessing something special. I think it’s almost futile to talk about who he might square off with, or how he would fit into the show, even what he’d say really. His mere presence would electrify the crowd comparably to The Rock (hah). For what it’s worth, I believe CM Punk owes this to Pro Wrestling. If he can’t stomach coming back and working for Vince and Hunter, so be it. I understand, and maybe that ship really has sailed. But the final Pro Wrestling Moment for CM Punk should not be getting tossed from a Rumble leading to a Mania he could have Main Evented. It shouldn’t be the bitter man on podcasts and interviews speaking with emotion and not with the heart of a performer who loved the business more than life itself. And frankly, CM Punk owes this to himself. He spent half his life becoming a Wrestling Superstar. Time, energy, sacrifice, that all deserves at least one more moment, even if it is a farewell.
As we get closer and closer to September 1st and All In, the speculation will only grow and become more palpable. And to his credit, that’s real star power – to be out of the business for 4+ years, and still have people talking. 7 years after his first, 2018 may very well be, the Summer of Punk.
I’m Jason Moltov