CM Punk Remains on AEW Payroll: Will He Return?

CM Punk remains the talk of the professional wrestling world. The Second City Saint has not been seen on AEW programming since AEW All Out, where he dethroned AEW World Champion Jon Moxley but suffered a torn triceps in the process. While that injury was going to keep him away from the company regardless, Punk's uncensored tirade at the subsequent AEW All Out press conference that featured him blasting AEW Executive Vice Presidents Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks did not spell well for his future. Mix in a backstage brawl between the two parties that resulted in over a dozen suspensions to boot, and all signs have pointed in the direction that Punk's time in AEW is done.

That said, Punk is still a contracted AEW talent. As reported by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Punk is still being paid by AEW as of this weekend. The report continues that Punk is "ready and willing" to move on to his next project, and that the hold up in him being released is completely on the AEW side.

Relations between Punk and AEW were tense following the backstage fight, but things only soured even further with recent developments on AEW Dynamite. The return of Colt Cabana to AEW programming reportedly "only made things worse," and people close to Punk were said to be "not happy" with The Elite's recent references to the backstage fight in their match with Death Triangle.

Punk debuted in AEW on the August 20th, 2021 edition of AEW Rampage and went on to wrestle his first match in over seven years just weeks later at AEW All Out 2021. He feuded with the likes of Darby Allin, Team Taz, and Eddie Kingston throughout the fall before embarking on a critically-acclaimed program with Maxwell Jacob Friedman. The two first encountered one another in November 2021 and would remain adversaries until the following March, where their storyline came to a climax in a dog collar match at AEW Revolution. After defeating Friedman, Punk pursued gold, besting Hangman Page for the AEW World Title at AEW Double or Nothing earlier this year.

That momentum hit a significant roadblock when Punk broke his foot just three days later on AEW Dynamite. The self-proclaimed Best in the World would be forced to miss months of action, leading to Jon Moxley picking up the pieces and reigning as interim champion. 

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Stay tuned to ComicBook.com for updates on CM Punk's future.