Will CM Punk Return To WWE If AEW Buyout Happens? A New Rumor Suggests What His Chances Are

cm punk in the ring for aew
(Image credit: AEW)

CM Punk’s professional return for his AEW debut was one of the biggest wrestling stories of 2021, but it’s looking like the run was short-lived here in the back end of 2022. Punk hasn’t been seen within AEW since a backstage altercation with the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, and rumors are swirling around the idea that the wrestling organization is working to buy him out of his contract. As such, fans are already wondering if this means Punk is eventually heading back to the WWE, and the reported comments of someone in the know may indicate what the odds are of the athlete's return. 

The WWE has welcomed back high-profile superstars like Cody Rhodes and Bray Wyatt this year, so it seems the organization and its still relatively new boss squad are comfortable with bringing talent back after ways were parted previously for one reason or another. With that said, fans are likely aware of CM Punk’s troubled history with the company that could potentially stand in the way. But that’s not what would prevent any potential deal, at least according to an insider who spoke with PWTorch’s Wade Keller (via WrestlingNews.co). Rather, the insider pointed to the ongoing issues Punk has had with AEW, which could arguably make him more trouble than he's worth, saying:

Somebody who’s currently in WWE, and is within the sphere of influence of Paul Levesque’s decision-making would be a hard ‘No’ as of me asking this person today. A hard ‘No’ on endorsing the return of CM Punk, even if it would help business. I won’t go into exactly what was said. But when I asked, I got a long paragraph of one sentence after another of negative comments about how they feel about Punk now, compared to 8, 9, 10 years ago, based on what’s happened in AEW, in the last 13 months.

It’s hard to tell how much weight these comments are worth, as we don’t know who this person is and how close they are to the WWE’s current head of creative Triple H. It does go to show, however, that there are allegedly people within the organization who have been keeping track of CM Punk’s falling out with AEW, and who would apparently rather not welcome him back, with the risk that those problems would follow him.

While this new information is just a report, it’s understandable if anyone in the WWE might have misgivings about welcoming back CM Punk after his run in AEW. The WWE has a lot of stars positioned to take the top spot from Roman Reigns (if they can beat him), and there are a lot of positive changes happening that may not easily allow for another marquee athlete to pop back in. If there’s even a hint that something as dramatic as what occurred with Punk in AEW could happen in the WWE, it’s understandable that the organization would be likely to pass on it rather than immediately pounding out new contracts.

It’s also worth mentioning that the idea of CM Punk returning to the WWE is a big “what if” all around from his perspective as well. Even if the brand was exhaustively interested, Punk made it clear in the past that he never had any real intention of wrestling for them again. On top of that, it’s possible that AEW and Punk's potential split would involve a non-compete clause tacked onto whatever contractual buy-out would happen, which would effectively make it impossible for him to join any upcoming WWE events until after a designated amount of time. Stranger things have happened in pro wrestling, especially in 2022, so we won't really know what's happening with Punk until all is said and done. 

One way WWE fans can watch CM Punk in the WWE is by revisiting some of his greatest matches with a Peacock premium subscription. His WrestleMania 29 match versus The Undertaker is one of my favorites, but there are plenty of othersworth checking out. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

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.