Abdulmalik Creates a WrestleMania XL Dream Match for CM Punk

Could CM Punk vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin become a reality?

CM Punk's sudden departure from AEW earlier this month has launched speculation that the former world champion might be on his way back to WWE. While reports of WWE's interest in bringing Punk back haven't been particularly encouraging, the door will always remain open as long as Punk is a viable draw and can still physically compete in the ring. Fan artist Abdulmalik unveiled his latest creation on Sunday and played into the Punk speculation, creating a WrestleMania XL poster with Punk in a dream match against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

Austin and Punk crossed paths multiple times during Punk's first WWE run, ranging from a face-to-face confrontation on an episode of Monday Night Raw to Austin nailing Punk with a Stunner after a dark match. Austin wouldn't come out of retirement until WrestleMania 38 when he fought Kevin Owens in an impromptu No Holds Barred Match. 

Did a CM Punk vs. Steve Austin Match Almost Happen?

Punk revealed during a Starrcast panel in 2019 that he was actively pushing for a match with Austin in the early 2010s but plans never got off the ground. 

"That's when I started prying and being like, 'Let's work this match motherf—er, let's go!' I think there was a sliver of time where it was going to happen," Punk said after describing how he set up the Stunner spot in 2011. "And then the next minute it didn't."

Will Steve Austin Wrestle Another Match?

There were plenty of rumors that Austin would be back for another match at WrestleMania 39 following his impressive outing with Owens. According to Fightful, WWE even pitched a match between "The Texas Rattlesnake" and Roman Reigns, though Austin turned down the idea.

"I met with some people from WWE. We talked about the possibility of me wrestling at WrestleMania 39," Austin told Sports Illustrated after WrestleMania 39 came and went without him. "The biggest thing in my mind was the presentation and what kind of match it was going to be. Going back to 38, the way the KO thing was presented--I love KO--I turned that down three, four, five times until the creative finally came to what it ended up being. I didn't want it constructed as a real match, per se. I needed something that could turn into one, and it did, but I think that's why we got away with it. The Dallas crowd was very receptive. I hadn't been around, so the timing was right.

"But to do a proper match, I'd have to be in off-the-charts shape," he continued. "I told them, and this is the exact truth, I said, 'Guys, I'm just fixin' to go into production on this show, Stone Cold Takes on America, and until we start production, I don't know what my life looks like. I can't commit.' Sure enough, there were technical issues before we finished. I was supposed to finish a month before we did. There's no way, with the schedule I was doing — driving an RV all over God's creation, doing all I was doing--that I would be ready. I had two 30-pound dumbbells, a 45-pound sandbag, and a 25-pound kettlebell. Working 15 hours a day, then getting in a 30- or 40-minute workout, that doesn't get you ready for WrestleMania. And I was really protected at WrestleMania 38. This time, that wasn't going to be the case. That was a true statement: Until this show was over, I couldn't commit."

Could a Punk vs. Austin match actually happen now that Punk is a free agent? Tell us your predictions down in the comments!