When CM Punk appeared on August 17’s edition of AEW Dynamite, it was to cheers and applause. Punk has been absent since June due to a leg injury, and he had to relinquish his belt with the intention of getting it back once he returned. Thankfully, Jon Moxley stepped up, and he’s been holding onto an interim belt in Punk’s stead ever since the Forbidden Door Pay-Per-View.
Of course the fans knew that there would be tension between CM Punk and Moxley once Punk returned, and we witnessed it on August 12th’s edition of AEW Rampage, as Punk and Moxley literally butted heads. But, I think very few fans imagined that CM Punk would not only want to challenge Moxley, but also the entire stable of babyfaces in the AEW locker room.
That’s right. It looks like CM Punk has turned heel. And, guess what? I couldn’t be happier. There’s a lot of talent in AEW, which is one of the “biggest obstacles,” that Punk thinks the company needs to get better at, but I think a CM Punk heel turn is the best thing that could happen to the company, and I have four reasons why.
Punk Can Deliver Better, More Biting Promos As A Heel
CM Punk is one of the reasons why this lapsed wrestling fan became a weekly watcher again. He’s just too good on the mic, and every time he speaks, I sit up and listen. He cut some excellent promos back when he was a babyface against Darby Allin, "Hangman” Adam Page, and of course, MJF, but you know what? His best promo might have been on August 17th’s Dynamite, when he said that he’d wrestled better Johns than Jon Moxley, and better Eddies than Eddie Kingston. In fact, Eddie Kingston got a double whammy, as Punk said he even wrestled better Kingstons than Eddie Kingston, referencing the New Day’s Kofi Kingston. I mean, damn, man. Punk was going off.
I think that's awesome, because a babyface Punk can cut some mighty fine promos, but a heel punk can cut some legendary promos. Those who disagree need to look no further than Punk’s game-changing “Pipe Bomb” promo where he eviscerated the WWE a number of years back. CM Punk as the company’s top heel can even speak against some of the practices at AEW that many fans might want changed, as Punk’s promos can be the voice of the masses. As Punk said on Dynamite, tell him when he’s telling any lies.
Punk Can Take The Place Of MJF As The Top Heel
A while ago, I wrote about how MJF was the best thing to happen to pro-wrestling in years, and I meant every word I said. But, not long after I wrote that article, MJF revealed that he had great displeasure with the company, first bailing out on an event, and then going on a scathing rant against AEW that many at the time didn’t know whether it was a work or a shoot, but now looks to be a shoot, because he hasn’t returned. His merchandise has even been pulled from AEW's website.
So, yeah, I miss MJF a lot, and I definitely want a heel who can really get beneath the audience's skin, because I feel like heels play a vital role in every wrestling promotion. But, while I don't think anybody could ever replace MJF in that regard, I do think that Punk could definitely fill in a massive hole that AEW currently has, because it doesn't have a mega heel right now (I mean, Christian Cage is great and all, but it's just not the same). Let's just hope that Punk doesn't sway the audience to his side, since he certainly could, which would potentially destroy any possible babyface's push.
Turning Punk Heel Can Create More Babyfaces In AEW
Another great thing about turning the company's top face into a heel is that it can create more opportunities to turn heels into faces. Take Bryan Danielson, for example. His heel turn basically helped create The Blackpool Combat Club, which is one of the most dominant factions in AEW right now. Danielson is now more of a mentor-type rather than a heel, though, waging war against Chris Jericho's JAS (Jericho Appreciation Society) ever since he returned. But, by turning heel, Danielson created new opportunities for other wrestlers to step up as babyfaces, like Wheeler Yuta.
And, I think Punk can do the same for other potential faces. For instance, Kenny Omega just returned after a massive hiatus, and he left as a heel. But, could you imagine a feud between CM Punk as a heel, and Kenny Omega as a newly minted face? The Young Bucks, which I think are AEW's greatest two-man tag team, already look to be heading down that route from heel to face, and the same could possibly happen to Omega, with a heel Punk being the ultimate catalyst.
A Punk Heel Turn Can Take Some Attention Away From WWE, Which Is Hot, Hot, Hot Right Now
Lastly, let's just get the elephant out of the room here: AEW might be in trouble ever since Vince McMahon stepped down at WWE, and his son-in-law, Triple H, stepped up in creative. He already made changes at Summerslam following Vince McMahon's retirement, and the proof of his success is in the pudding as Raw has been topping cable ratings ever since Hunter Hearst took the Helm(sley. Sorry. I just had to). So, how is AEW going to ever compete now that WWE is the hot, new thing…again?
Well, I'm not putting it all on CM Punk's shoulders, and I also don't think AEW is going anywhere soon, but I think a Punk heel turn could drum up excitement for AEW like no other event or wrestler. Keep in mind, Punk is likely one of, if not the, most popular wrestler in AEW, and his return from his injury spelled renewed interest anyway. But, a Punk heel turn where we don't know what's going to come out of his mouth or who he's going to beat down is just prime time television right there.
But, what do you think of a CM Punk heel turn? Do you think it could be the game-changer that I think it can be? For more news on all things AEW, make sure to swing by here often.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.