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Why CM Punk Never Actually Intended To Sign With WWE

CM Punk smiling at the AEW crowd

CM Punk's tagline is that he's the "Best in the World," and wrestling fans might certainly believe that, given the thunderous cheers he's received since joining AEW. The former WWE wrestler's return to the ring was a welcome surprise to many. Though there were some who hoped he'd return to the WWE, Punk recently made it clear that was never really an option.

In an interview with the New York Post about his upcoming debut match at AEW's All Out pay-per-view against Darby Allin, CM Punk confirmed that the WWE wasn't the organization he had in mind for his in-ring return. He explained why he never seriously considered it as a possibility:

I’m not sure it was ever really an option to go back there. There was so much history there, so much baggage.

When CM Punk walked out of WWE, there was a ton of turmoil. WWE tried to play his unexpected absence as an angle, though quickly stopped when Punk appeared on podcasts and publicly disparaged the organization for some of the incidents that occurred during his tenure. Those comments eventually landed Punk in court with a defamation suit against WWE doctor Chris Amann, which Punk eventually won.

CM Punk got a little more specific about why WWE wasn't an option in an interview with Busted Open Radio, some of which touched on his past issues with WWE's medical protocols. Punk revisited the variety of injuries he suffered while in the WWE and how that experience ultimately resulted in his return to wrestling via AEW.

I was going to die, you know what I mean? Because in my head I'm like ‘What would Harley Race do? He would keep going.’ There’s only so many times you can get hurt and keep going. I was never given time off after an elbow surgery, a knee surgery, narrowly avoided a hip surgery. It was always ‘no we need you.’ And it’s nice to be needed, but they will run you dry, you know? And I was on that path. And I watched too many friends get swallowed up by this business, and by drugs, and everything else they thought they had to do to keep going. And I was a cycle breaker, I took myself out of it. I’ve never really been proud of myself about a lot of things, but, you know, that’s just a real life thing that I was proud of myself because I took a step back and I was like ‘they’re not listening to me. I’m sick, I’m hurt. They’re not going to take care of me.’ I had to take care of myself. . .It caused a lot of drama, lots of silly baggage, but I’m alive. I woke up this morning. It sounds dramatic but it’s not bullshit. I would’ve kept going until I literally could not go anymore. And then what? Then I get posthumously inducted into a fugazi hall of fame? I don’t want that, I want to kiss my wife and walk my dog and enjoy things.

The whole thing is a brutally honest admission from CM Punk, but that's the type of candor wrestling fans have come to expect for him. Punk even added that he wished WWE had offered him the help he needed at the time, but in his viewpoint, they didn't. That past drama likely paired with all the drama that could've stirred if he walked back into that company with many of the people he took issue with still under contract, is seemingly why a return to WWE was just not really an option.

Fans can tune into CM Punk's match against Darby Allin during the All Out pay-per-view Sunday, September 5th at 8:00 p.m. ET. Get hyped for Punk's big match and possibly an official appearance by Daniel Bryan as well.

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.