The rumor that CM Punk will be arriving in All Elite Wrestling at this week's AEW Rampage is arguably the biggest story in all of pro wrestling right now. Punk, Tony Khan and the company's executive vice presidents have all avoided confirming whether or not the former WWE Champion is on his way, but fans have been spotting hints both on and off of AEW television over the past few weeks.
Reddit user /TurnaboutAdam took to the Squared Circle subreddit on Monday with a three-minute video breaking down all of the hints. They include:
- AEW putting AEW Rampage inside the United Center, the largest indoor venue in Punk's hometown of Chicago
- After the Rampage location was announced, AEW's camera crew immediately focused on fans chanting for Punk
- Darby Allin's promo calling out the "Best in the World"
- MJF stealing a line from Punk's Pipebomb promo while telling Christ Jericho his next opponent was Juventud Guerrera
- Kenny Omega wearing a Cookie Monster shirt (Punk once joked in an interview that the CM initials could stand for the classic Sesame Street character)
- Punk posting an Instagram story of Sirius by The Alan Parsons Project, the entrance theme for the Chicago Bulls (who play in the United Center)
- Punk wearing a pin at CFFC 99 that read "Punk XX." The Rampage episode where he is supposedly showing up is on Aug. 20.
- Punk referencing Allin's "Nothing's Over Till You're Underground" tattoo
- Punk's "05, 11, 21" Instagram post, possibly referencing each Summer of Punk
- Punk's "All Elite" line while on commentary
While Punk has never said he's joining AEW, the idea that he's interested in working for the promotion is not unfounded. He recently confirmed that he spoke with Khan back when the promotion started and told Renee Paquette last year that the Jacksonville promotion interested him more than going back to WWE.
"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."