Skip to main content

CM Punk's Return - Perfect Timing for the Symbol of Anti-WWE

Looooooooook in my eyes, what do you see?!

The lyrics to Cult of Personality, especially that first bar,  never felt so fitting for CM Punk as it did last night. 

For the most part, everything that is CM Punk's return to wrestling last night at AEW Rampage ties directly into my latest thoughts on pro wrestling - the company is making it must-see destination television, an element desperately needed from pro wrestling. 

Last night was incredible as again, it was another moment that made wrestling feel alive - with a wild and energetic pulse. It was one of the coolest moments in pro wrestling that you knew was coming, expected, anticipated, and it was everything and more. Again, MUST-SEE television. That's hard to do. 

For me, it wasn't just Punk's return to pro wrestling, but the mere presence and voice of his inclusion in today's space. We know that Punk can deliver on the microphone - probably his best and most signature attribute. We also know that yes, he can wrestle - we've seen it before. 

However, Punk's presence is so vital not just to the current landscape of pro wrestling fandom and the changing space of "forbidden doors" and collaborations, and champions of other companies being on other television shows - pretty much, absolute chaos wrapped in freedom to the likes of the old territory days - but to AEW's continued ascension as competition (or not competition? Rivals? whatever.) to the WWE. 

Punk is more than just a return that fans have wanted. Punk represents everything that is counter-culture to the WWE in today's world. He's the guy that embraced the big machine, rose to the top behind the fan's embrace and support in that machine, then was no more - at the obvious blame of the WWE. The company that in every way (oddly besides quarterly revenue) has endured recent declining support, enthusiasm, and interest from fans. 

For some fans, the WWE, the industry leader - and typically the setter for industry culture among casuals and mainstream media outlets - is to blame for the recent disinterest in pro wrestling. Ruining something we've all been passionate about with monikers like Sports Entertainment and overall, a product that feels ungrateful at lengths. 

Punk is the shining symbol of an anti-WWE movement that has grown by disinterest, resentment, choice, disappointment, annoyance, disbelief, or choice. And now, he is back in on the hottest entity in pro wrestling since, well...probably him. Punk's disappearance from the scene mirrors the timeline for these feelings too perfectly, furthering his identity in the role. 

In his return, Punk nailed it. From the opening riffs of "Cult of Personality", the random dive into the crowd, all the way to the raw emotion blazing through his wide-opened eyes as he took it all in. All of it was perfect. His promo to come (of course!) while feeding his status as head of the anti-WWE culture, was the icing on the cake. Especially this perfect line that encompasses it all without being (too) direct:

On August 13, 2005, I left professional wrestling. On August 20, 2021, I'm back, and I'm back for you.

The WWE who often likes to leave others out of its "universe" by virtue of the un-recognition of outside accomplishments, here was Punk, the anti-WWE symbol saying to pro wrestling fans, he's not including them. Cue the excitement for those who have been frustrated by the WWE.

Will this fire burn into something even bigger? Better? Broader? 

I'm not sure. But for now, I'll take it in. It was just so damn cool to see CM Punk on my television on a live microphone talking into the rafters to an amazing young talent like Darby Allin, who had the legend Sting by his side. 

Plus, there is the wait for Brian Danielson (or will it still be Daniel Bryan?). And who knows who else is coming down the line. Or really, what Tony Khan and AEW have planned. 

The bottom line? Tony Khan and AEW nailed it. With a return that further drives a company that feels like they have seven rockets strapped to them that much further, while also grabbing the one talent remaining on the free-agent shelf that IS industry-shaking, it's a win. 

And honing in, his debut allowed the moment to breathe and "settle some scores" while establishing his next big moment on AEW television. Another win. 

And oh yeah, he delivered ice-cream bars for everyone - super awesome touch. Win. 

Win. Win. Win. 

Kudos to Punk, Tony Khan, AEW, and of course, all of us for getting THAT feeling again.

Recent Favorites

Quick Ponder: Daily Armor

Imagine, if we can see the dents and scratches, the smashes and chaos,  on the daily armor, each of us put on. Just imagine. 

2024 NBA All-Star Weekend Thoughts

There's something wrong with the All-Star Game.  Yeah, we've definitely had this conversation before. Expect to pick up this very discussion (again) in July when Major League Baseball has their version in the "Mid-Summer Classic" when it is the ONLY current topic to bounce around in the stratosphere of sports discourse.  What's wrong with the All-Star Game?!  I'm not dismissing the obvious - yes, the NBA All-Star Game is very much at an alarming point of necessary refinement and change - evaluation is needed. What we saw on Sunday night was not disappointing, but outright embarrassing. Also yes, gone are the days when the game flooded your television screen at a respectable 6:30pm on NBC, and you were wowed by the athleticism and star power of the first half of the game, and treated to what felt like the world's best players playing pickup basketball on the grandest stage.  Now? Not so much. So yeah, we got the message. The outrage - and shock TV and hot t

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Hustle (2022)

What is it about? A long-time scout, Stanley Sugarman, grinds out the life of an NBA scout and the politics of the NBA by taking a chance on a prospect he believes in to change both of their lives.  Who is in it? Adam Sandler - Stanley Sugarman Juancho Hernangomez - Bo Cruz Queen Latifah - Teresa Sugarman Favorite Scene:   Kermit and Bo line up at center court and Kermit begins the trash talk to get inside of Bo's head, eventually taking him off his game.  Favorite Quote:   "I'll say one last inspirational thing to you: they can't kill you if you're already dead." Review:  Hustle sat on "My List" on my Netflix account for quite a long time. Parked on the couch in the middle of the night with a newborn, and jonesing for some hoops, I dove in on what I read (and heard from others) was a "really good film". I'll give away the suspense, I thought Hustle was decent. It felt too cliche and had little depth, but still, a really good film.  The