The odds of CM Punk arriving in All Elite Wrestling this week just got even better. Between the multiple reports and the hints dropped on AEW programming over the last few weeks, all signs have pointed to the former WWE Champion arriving at AEW Rampage on Friday night at the United Center in his hometown of Chicago. Fightful Select, which broke the news that Punk was interested in returning to pro wrestling a month ago, returned with a new report on Wednesday stating that officials at both TNT and WarnerMedia are already preparing for his arrival.
"Fightful spoke with multiple people involved with WarnerMedia and TNT, who spoke of the excitement of bringing in CM Punk, and noted that he'll have their promotional machine behind him upon his return," Sean Ross Sapp wrote. "We weren't told what exactly that would entail, but were told that TNT and WarnerMedia were both 'very aware' of this."
AEW's first big indicator that Punk was coming was announcing Rampage would be in Chicago at the city's largest indoor venue. That announcement was immediately followed up by Darby Allin cutting a promo where he called out the "Best in the World." Punk tried to dodge that during an interview with Sunday Night's Main Event by saying Allin was likely referring to Daniel Bryan, then said he would be busy that night with a special Heels screening.
"I think I might be doing a screening, this isn't confirmed yet so I probably shouldn't blast this out everywhere, but we're talking about doing a screening of episode three of Heels at AMC in Chicago. That's one of the dates that has been proposed. I hope to see everybody there."
Punk's interest in AEW is well-documented, given comments he's made about the company in the past.
"I think the landscape currently is much different than when I left," Punk said while on Oral Sessions."You can play the game where you're like, 'Oh, AEW was an option, would you have gone right after you left WWE?' If you are going to play that game, there is no way they (WWE) would have handled it the way they handled it with suspending me for two months and nobody contacting me and the next thing I know, I got my release papers on my wedding day. That wouldn't have happened if there was an AEW. Because then they probably would have approached me and been like, 'Hey, your suspension is up. Ready to come back to work? Let's work this out.' Or handle it like any other sports organization would have handled [a] star pitcher f—ing going home. They're not just going to let him leave the team, go to a rival organization."
"What would it take? Oh gosh. Without wanting to insult anybody on either side of the fence, any WWE talent or AEW talent, it would take, above all, an interesting scenario," he said. "A story that would be fun to tell and also just the stupidest amount of money. But, they can save themselves a lot of money if they present a fun storyline. Now, what that is, I don't know. I'm a pretty picky guy, especially at this point. I think there are more interesting people on the AEW side of things for me to wrestle and that's because I've never wrestled them before. Young Bucks, Kenny Omega."