CM Punk has been heavily rumored to arrive in All Elite Wrestling in the near future, and oddsmakers are already trying to guess who his first opponent will be. While Punk has stayed quiet on the issue, the idea that a) he'd finally be coming back to the world of pro wrestling and b) that he'd likely wind up on AEW's roster came back with a vengeance with Fightful Select dropped a new report back on July 21. Shortly after that AEW announced the Aug. 20 episode of AEW Rampage would take place at Chicago's United Center (Punk's hometown) and started sprinkling references of the former WWE Champion into episodes of AEW Dynamite. The biggest was a promo delivered by Darby Allin right after the Rampage announcement, where he openly challenged the "Best in the World."
Online oddsmaker BetOnline released a list of possible first opponents for Punk on Thursday afternoon. Allin sits at number one, followed by another former WWE Champion who is rumored to be arriving in AEW soon in Daniel Bryan. Ironically, AEW World Champion Kenny Omega isn't on the list.
- Darby Allin 1/1
- Daniel Bryan/Bryan Danielson 2/1
- Christian Cage 13/4
- Orange Cassidy 6/1
- Matt Hardy 7/1
- Chris Jericho 8/1
- Cody Rhodes 8/1
- Jungle Boy 9/1
- Sting 10/1
In an interview with Oral Sessions in late 2020, Punk talked about what it would take to get him back in a wrestling ring and why, of the two major companies, AEW interested him more.
think the landscape currently is much different than when I left," Punk said."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."