CM Punk Talks Differences Between AEW and WWE, AJ Lee's Potential Return, More

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 2, 2021

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 26: Actor and wrestler Phil Brooks “CM Punk” pose for a photo during a screening episode of the Starz channel's wrestling drama "Heels" at the AMC River East Theater, on August 26, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images)
Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images

For CM Punk, the biggest difference between AEW and WWE is he believes AEW president Tony Khan cares about his well-being outside the ring. 

Punk said Thursday on WFAN Sports Radio's Moose & Maggie

“I never got any time off the entire time I was there. There was a point I was begging for time off, and here I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I feel like if I tell Tony, he’s already asked me. We were out to dinner the one night he goes, ‘Do you guys plan on going on vacation any time soon?’ I was like ‘I just got here.’ It’s much appreciated … This isn’t to harp on where I used to work, but when I do media and stuff like that, it comes up.”

Punk left WWE in 2014 over behind-the-scenes frustrations, most notably creative decisions and the company's handling of his injuries. Since returning to professional wrestling with AEW last month, Punk said his tenure with WWE forced him to fall out of love with the sport and explore other passions. He's since dabbled in MMA, acting and commentary for studio shows. 

While he might have been satisfied to walk away from wrestling for good, Punk said the emergence of AEW reignited his desire to step back in the ring:

“There’s a dozen good reasons to come back, but if you really look at the landscape of things, when I left there was no AEW. A lot of people assumed that I probably would have went straight there. Watching them make a huge splash on the scene two years ago, and grow into this company with TNT firmly behind them … watching for two years and seeing how everything developed and realizing that this place is possibly all I ever wanted in professional wrestling, so really the question is why wouldn’t I go there now.” 

Punk is married to AJ Lee, who was wildly popular during her run in WWE. Lee retired in 2015 due in large part to injuries, and Punk said he doesn't expect her to join him anytime soon in AEW:

"I don't. She's a teenie tiny person, and she's got a bad back. I think the shelf life for females in wrestling, wrestling a full schedule, is a lot smaller than men. She is so focused on what she's doing now, writing screenplays, she's working on a million different projects. ... I think she would probably be maybe receptive to the idea of coming back, but that can't even enter her vocabulary right now because she's so focused on movie scripts and TV adaptations of her book."

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