During the AEW post-show media scrum, AEW President Tony Khan would reveal details surrounding CM Punk and his AEW contract including his roster status and how long discussions had been going on.
The worst kept secret in all of professional wrestling was finally revealed as CM Punk made his debut appearance on AEW Rampage – The First Dance.
Not only that, Punk announced that he’s coming for Darby Allin at AEW All Out on September 5th!
For several weeks, since it was first reported by Fightful, Punk has been the talk of the wrestling world as it looked increasingly likely that he was set for a return to the ring.
The expectations of a return to wrestling for the former WWE Champion were escalated when AEW announced that they’d be running the second edition of their new Friday night Rampage show from the United Center in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Tickets for the event sold out in minutes after going on general release as the consensus seemed to be something historic was set to happen at the event.
That something came when CM Punk made his entrance to the deafening roar of the Chicago crowd with Cult Of Personality ringing around the jam-packed arena.
The hometown hero came home. CM Punk is All Elite.
Following AEW Rampage, CM Punk and Tony Khan were met by international media outlets to discuss a range of topics surrounding Punk’s AEW signing including his status on the roster.
During the call, AEW President Tony Khan revealed that CM Punk is in AEW for a long term and full time “type of thing”, Punk initially started his response by stating:
“I don’t really know if you want to know how the sausage is made. I think one of the biggest appeals of AEW is everybody here looks like they show up to have a good time. You don’t want to know details of my contract, just know that I’m here. It’s not a part-time thing short-term thing and I’m here to have fun and help if anybody wants help.”
Although Khan did not want to disclose details of Punk’s AEW contract he added:
“This isn’t a short-term thing or a part-time thing. This is a ‘full-time and we’re very excited’ type of thing.”
The Voice of the Voiceless continued revealing that himself and Khan had been in discussions for around a year and a half as part of a process in which Punk desired to learn more about the AEW President and how he operates as an individual and promoter.
“I’ll go ahead and spoil it—I’ve been talking to Tony for probably a year and a half about this. Some girls are easy to get into bed and I am not, I need to be wined and dined. And that’s not a ‘Oh, I need more money and less dates’ and need ‘that’. It was literally just talking to Tony and getting to know him, and the more people that he employed that I knew who, I’d ask them questions and they’d tell me things.”
The former WWE Champion would conclude discussions by stating that there were a lot of “happy accidents” that occurred along the way to him signing with AEW adding that “timing is everything”.
“I always say timing is everything and there were a lot of ‘happy accidents’ along the way that made this possible.”
Punk’s last wrestling appearance came at the 2014 Royal Rumble, he famously walked out of WWE the next day after growing ever more disillusioned with the company.
A spell in UFC beckoned but CM Punk was unsuccessful in both his pro MMA fights – the second of which was retroactively declared a no-contest after Punk’s opponent failed a drug test.
A brief return to the world of WWE of sorts then followed for Punk when he became a contributor on the WWE Backstage show. Punk was recruited by broadcaster FOX rather than WWE for that short-lived role.
AEW President Tony Khan had earlier given his biggest hint as to Punk’s appearance on Rampage, saying that a new era for AEW is about to begin. After CM Punk’s appearance in Chicago, it looks likely the third Summer Of Punk could be on the horizon as well.