If you are looking for something to be trolled about in the wrestling world, then it is always the return of Hulk Hogan, the return of Goldberg or the return of CM Punk. The first two gain little more than a raised glass and a smile now, we have seen them return so many times but Punk? Just the idea of The Best In The World returning is making my heart beat faster. And I’ve been here every tiiiiime we think he is making a wrestling comeback, that whole WWE Backstage malarkey and the masked indie show ‘appearance’, all you need is to put a picture of Mr. Phil Brooks as your news story thumbnail and i am going to click on it. But whhhhhhhy?
CM Punk was one of WWE’s last major superstar icons. His story was told perfectly. He performed the greatest promo of all time, he went from indie darling to top mainstream icon and then as quickly as he arrived, when his heart just wasn’t in it, instead of cashing a pay check every week, he just walked out. Done and dusted.
Of course, in a world of Social Media, there is no ‘done and dusted’, we can always talk about you and write directly to you and Punk has become a master at this game too, every time the idea of him returning to the ring comes back, he trolls us like he is living under a bridge and we are the Billy Goats Gruff. He was one of Vince’s biggest stars ever, especially in the world of Emo and sulky kids, he was the voice of the voiceless and he was paid accordingly. So, I’m sure Punk could now waltz off into the sunset, continue making his acclaimed film appearances and forget he was ever in the business. Aaaaaaand then, AEW arrives.
It might seem strange now that we know AEW is an excellent place for wrestling fans of all ages, that at one point it was an unknown quantity, it could have died on its ass and be seen as a vanity project for the fanboy that is Tony Khan. BUT it is this fanboy attitude that has made AEW Dynamite the consistently best wrestling show on TV. It has everyone you want, all in one place, surprises, exciting match types, it’s a glorious touring circus of excellence. It does not need Punk, but hearing the infamous ‘CM Punk’ chants on Wednesday’s show, which I am sure Vince McMahon hears in his sleep, if he every sleeps, gave me the chills and it seems this time, we might be getting the best in the world back in the ring. So what is different this time to the *looks it up* 2,343 times we thought Punk might be doing something in the business…?
Punk has been sharing the theme from the recent Jordan documentary The Last Dance on his social medias. Then AEW copyrighted the intellectual property The First Dance and the Internet blew up. This week on Dynamite, Khan did not so much fan the flames as piss gasoline on the goddamn fire, announcing that Rampage : The First Dance would be coming from *MICFUCKINGDROP* Chicago on August 20th. Then Darby Allin, one of AEW’s top stars, but one without a feud right now, did a great promo next to Sting in which he referenced ‘The Best In The World’. This seemed like a flare on top of a fire on top of an explosion.
At this time, hell I’m a few hundred words in, writing from an English city, so I’m sure my American compadres are a few pages deep (I remember when I was working on the PlayStation magazines, I wrote eight pages on GTA : Vice City, based on no info and six screenshots, so I’ve been here before) and this would all seem that much too much of a risk on Khan’s part. To just come out in Chicago and say “Hey guys, thanks for coming!” would seem like Jim Jones coming out and saying “Yeah, I’m full of shit, don’t drink the Kool Aid” and AEW would really suffer, especially when he is trying to sell us on a second weekly show on the same night as Smackdown.
Darby Allin comes out, says that Chicago is one of his favourite places in the world but there seems to be one little thing wrong with it, one ego too big, one rotten apple. Then, ‘Cult Of Personality’ (Living Colour just added AEW on Twitter, BTW) hits and Punk comes out, says “I’m sorry little man, I’m the top banana now” and every single wrestling fan in the world feels their minds explode. TV MOMENT OF THE YEAR.