5 Potential Opponents for CM Punk to Face in AEW

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2021

5 Potential Opponents for CM Punk to Face in AEW

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    Robin Marchant/Getty Images

    Seven years ago, CM Punk walked away from professional wrestling following a less-than-amicable split with WWE. 

    However, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported Wednesday the former WWE champion is in talks for a return to the ring, with All Elite Wrestling being the most likely landing spot.

    A report such as that one instantly creates intrigue and excitement for potential dream matches featuring The Straight Edge Superstar and top stars from AEW. From world champions to young stallions, there is a wealth of fresh matchups for the Chicago native to sink his teeth into.

    Which five stars would serve as the best rivals for Punk if he did resurrect his wrestling career?

MJF

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Say the name "CM Punk" to any long-time fan and the talk will inevitably turn to his promo skills. One of the most gifted talkers in the long and illustrious history of the business, he appeals to audiences because of the conviction with which he speaks.

    Whether he is touting his straight edge lifestyle while talking about the convictions of Luke Gallows and Serena Deeb, or lashing out at a toxic workplace and its reliance on sycophantic suck-ups, Punk has always captivated audiences with his ability to talk.

    Enter MJF, who is the most gifted promo in AEW and one of the brightest young stars in all of pro wrestling. His gift of the gab is remarkable given his age. At only 25 years old, the Burberry scarf-wearing elitist can hang, verbally, with seasoned veterans like Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes and Jon Moxley, and has been equally impressive in the ring.

    From a pure wrestling standpoint, there are much more intriguing options for Punk to face, but the promise of extraordinary promo work from both men on the road to a match between them would be worth it.

    Imagine MJF launching a loud, rambling promo only for Punk to nonchalantly shut him down or dish it right back. The promos would sell any pay-per-view, and MJF would benefit from sharing the ring (and mic) with someone widely considered to be one of the most well-rounded performers of his generation.

Miro

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    On the surface, Miro isn't the fanciest pick for a feud with Punk, but his natural charisma and explosiveness between the ropes create an interesting matchup.

    At SummerSlam in 2013, Punk wrestled one of his best matches against a physical specimen in Brock Lesnar. It was a five-star affair, an instant classic that still ranks as one of the best contests in modern WWE history.

    While Miro is not quite as tall as The Beast Incarnate, he is every bit as ferocious when he wants to be. If he could use his power advantage and knack for wearing opponents down with it, the potential would be there for a strong in-ring product.

    Punk, when he wants to be, is a hell of an underdog babyface. He showed in that match with Lesnar that he can generate sympathy, fight from underneath and have fans on the edges of their seat waiting for the potential upset.

    Given how dominant Miro is in AEW at this time, he could well utilize the same formula that worked with Lesnar to the benefit of the match and Miro, who is still searching for that signature win, despite being the TNT champion.

    Plus, Miro returning some of Punk's sarcasm during in-ring promos and backstage vignettes might be a lot of fun.

'Hangman' Adam Page

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    The first two scenarios had Punk emerging from retirement as a babyface, which he will be in the eyes of fans regardless of the role he is cast into.

    Imagine if he returned as a heel, though; the self-righteous Straight Edge Savior who denounces the evils of society and touts his no alcohol, no drugs lifestyle.

    Now imagine the first star he runs into in AEW is the beer-chugging, anxious millennial cowboy, "Hangman" Adam Page.

    Punk as the cerebral, conniving and egotistical bad guy against the reactionary, emotions-fueled, humble hero in Page is a feud between opposing personalities that would mesh extremely well. 

    Beyond that, Punk's immense star power would be key in helping to elevate Page to the level that AEW management clearly wants him to achieve. Yes, beating Kenny Omega to win the AEW world title will do that to an extent, but working with (and potentially beating) Punk would skyrocket his credibility.

    Page would benefit from sharing the ring with a bona fide superstar in pro wrestling, one the likes of which longtime and diehard fans place on the same pedestal alongside the greatest names.

Jon Moxley

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    CM Punk battled The Shield's Dean Ambrose on three occasions in WWE, but none were high-profile singles bouts.

    In WWE, Ambrose captured the WWE Championship; in AEW, as Jon Moxley, he has been one of the cornerstones of the company and its former world champion. 

    Unlike everyone else on this list to this point, Moxley is a made man. He is already a megastar in the industry. He has accomplished everything wrestlers set out to and even delivered a paradigm shift of sorts by popping up in AEW at Double or Nothing 2019.

    He is one of the guys in the promotion, and a match between him and Punk would be headline news.

    Their vocal, take-no-prisoners personalities have made them champions for the underdogs and stars the level of which they probably never would have achieved in a different generation.

    A match between them would draw interest, headlines and money, exactly the sort of thing a company brings Punk in for.

Kenny Omega

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Both Punk and Kenny Omega consider themselves the very best at what they do.

    By definition alone, though, the word "best" relates to one individual person operating at a higher level than everyone else. There can be only one. And therein lies the promotional concept for such a match.

    Omega has been the poster child for excellence in pro wrestling pretty much since Punk disappeared from the scene. He has earned rave reviews for his matches in Japan, Mexico and stateside, building a reputation among fans as the measuring stick in the industry.

    Punk was, at one time, believed to be the best professional wrestler on the planet.

    What better way for the Chicago-born competitor to re-enter an industry that he distanced himself from than by eyeing the one man who routinely stakes his claim to a label he once held?

    Imagine the hype and excitement for a match of that level. Try to fathom the genuine excitement for Punk vs. Omega on a mega pay-per-view event like Double or Nothing or All Out. Think of the buyrate. It is one match that would almost certainly threaten to completely and utterly steal attention away from WWE.

    Here they are, two internet wrestling icons, squaring off in a dream match the likes of which everyone thought an impossibility.

    It would be akin to Tom Brady leading a team against Joe Montana, with the two best to ever do it clashing for bragging rights and the recognition of the audience.

    Tony Khan's hype machine would certainly ensure all eyes were on it come the time.

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