In 2005, CM Punk surprised everyone when he not only signed with WWE, but he won the ROH World Title.
Punk would tease taking the title to WWE and was talked into defending the belt on his way out by Mick Foley.
Speaking to Sam Roberts on the Not Sam Wrestling podcast, Punk reflected on the famous summer.
"I remember talking to Gabe [Sapolsky] and he was like, 'You're going to sign, you're gone.' I said, 'I don't know, we'll see what happens.' Then, I was doing dark matches and there was this listlessness that I had that summer where I felt like I did everything and I felt like I helped build a good place in Ring of Honor where guys could not only come and learn to work, but fucking making good money doing it. I'm always that guy who is looking for the next sunrise while still being present and enjoying what I'm doing, knowing eventually that shit is going to get old for me and I need to move on. That's the best thing about territory wrestling back in the day. Guys could go to other places and be fresh and it was constant. I had already done everything in Ring of Honor and didn't know what else I was going to do," he said.
In the middle of the story, Punk recalled his famous trilogy against Samoa Joe, "It was how I felt we were handed the Joe-Punk trilogy. I got Joe drunk and was like, 'We're going to do a 60-minute draw.' That was simply because there was nowhere else for us to go. Joe had hit a wall when it came to opponents, there was no one else for him to work. I was literally wrestling Joe because I was the only guy he hadn't beat and if I didn't say, 'We're going 60,' Joe would have just beaten me. I'm a guy who looks at 'what's a different way to do something?' Instead of him just beating me, it was, 'How do we draw more out of this? Let's go 60 minutes and we can revisit it as a main event down the road.' We needed main events. Everyone loved the idea, we did it, it sort of worked, and we fell into that and it was more natural."
Joe would defeat Punk in the third bout at ROH All Star Extravaganza II.
Punk then continued his story about Summer of Punk by saying, "The same thing with Summer of Punk. I field a phone call one day, I took a job, and I told Gabe and he was like, 'What are we going to do?' Well, fortunately, it was going to leak and that's a good thing. You have to think outside the box a lot of times. Knowing it was going to leak and the way people think, what they didn't realize is I said, 'I'll sign, but I need to work the rest of my dates.' They used to be good about that, letting people finish dates. I knew I had X amount of time and I said, 'Let's do this, the people won't know when I'm gone. If I say I'm signed, they'll think this is my last show. Let's shock them.' It wasn't swerve them just to swerve them. It was swerving them because they literally didn't know what was going to happen. They'll think they know, but we could keep them on the edge of their seat and book it like it's a television show. End shows with a question mark. I'm not going to say it was easy coming up with the creative for that, but you work with what you got and that landed in our lap. It felt like the right thing to do and was a lot of fun."
While nothing has been made official, there have been plenty of teases and references to CM Punk returning to wrestling on Friday at AEW Rampage The First Dance.
Fightful will have live coverage of AEW Rampage beginning at 10 p.m. ET on Friday.
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