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CM Punk Rumors: Former WWE Star in Contract Talks for Return; AEW Linked

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 21, 2021

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

After more than seven years out of wrestling, CM Punk is reportedly in talks to return to pro wrestling as an in-ring performer.

According to Fightful (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Joshua Gagnon), Punk is believed to be talking with AEW officials, although no contract has been signed and nothing is set in stone regarding when or how he would return.

Fightful added AEW is seen as the "most likely landing spot" with some higher-ups in WWE believing Punk will ultimately sign with AEW.

There has been plenty of speculation about Punk returning to the ring ever since his last match, which was the 2014 Royal Rumble.

Despite that, nothing has ever come to fruition, aside from Punk trying his hand at UFC. The ill-fated endeavor lasted just two fights, and Punk has focused on acting, MMA announcing and other projects since.

One wrestling-related job Punk did get involved with was a role on FS1's WWE Backstage in 2019 and 2020.

Although the show was canceled last year, it marked Punk's biggest foray back into wrestling since his departure, as he provided his critique of the WWE product. While the show was about WWE, Punk's contract was with Fox.

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Punk has talked about the possibility of returning to wrestling in the past, and while he has never shot down the idea completely, he hasn't pushed for it, either.

Appearing on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette in December (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), Punk was asked about returning to WWE or signing with AEW, and he said he felt there were "more interesting people" for him to wrestle in AEW.

That, coupled with the fact that he didn't leave WWE on good terms, could lend some validity to the idea that AEW is his most likely landing spot if he does want to wrestle again.

Fightful noted that other wrestling companies have expressed interest in Punk as well. He has experience with both Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling, and it is conceivable he could have some interest in New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

Ultimately, WWE and AEW are the two biggest promotions in wrestling right now, and conventional wisdom suggests Punk will wind up with one of them if he does wrestle again.

The 42-year-old is a former five-time world champion in WWE and one of the biggest stars in the business over the past two decades, and signing him would likely be AEW's biggest coup to date.

Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).

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