With the most likely scenario being AEW buying out CM Punk’s contract, this is the perfect time to remember CM Punk’s run in AEW, but most importantly, the impact he had with the promotion during his time there.
His debut was booked to perfection, from start to finish. AEW built to CM Punk’s return with well-prepared teases and easy reference to Punk. The biggest confirmation of them all, was Darby Allin’s promo saying the words Best In The World; after that if was more than obvious that CM Punk’s return to pro-wrestling was happening.
The United Center was packed, and the crowd received CM Punk with one of the biggest pops in modern wrestling history. The energy inside the arena for CM Punk’s return was amazing; Punk cut a great promo addressing everything, and putting over a few wrestlers like Darby Allin and Britt Baker. A great start to CM Punk’s return to pro-wrestling and the start of CM Punk’s run with AEW.
While his programs with Eddie Kingston and MJF were the best of his run with AEW, and are topics worth discussion a lot on their own, we have to talk about is if he was a draw for AEW; In a short answer is yes, Punk was a draw on every metric you can think of, from PPV buys to merch sold with his name. The lovely guys at Wrestlenomics go more into details regarding this topic, and you can check on that below.
CM Punk also served as bridge for WWE fans to check out AEW for the first time, in the same way Chris Jericho or Jon Moxley did as well. If he created new fans of the AEW product depends on who you ask, but looking at the metrics like ratings and merch, we can say he did create new fans for the AEW product and made AEW a lot of money too.
With the possibility of AEW buying out CM Punk’s contract, the speculation of CM Punk returning to WWE has returned but there are several factors like Punk’s disliking of Triple H as one of the main reasons that makes a potential return to WWE impossible; at least for now, there’s still the possibility of Punk staying with AEW but that option feels impossible.
Overall, CM Punk’s run in AEW was pretty good, especially if you look at it in terms of business for AEW. Punk was also part of good programs in AEW with MJF and Eddie Kingston, but it’s a shame his run was short and plague with injuries. Only time will tell regarding the future of CM Punk.