CM Punk is interested in creating moments and having fun.
On August 20, 2021, CM Punk made his AEW debut on The First Dance edition of Rampage. This was his first time in the ring since leaving WWE back in 2014.
During a post-show media scrum, Punk was asked about how hard it was to not confirm his return, laughingly calling it the worst kept secret. He continued on to say the following:
"So, again, now this kind of goes back to one of the appealing things about AEW for me, and it's a bit of a bummer of a topic; Brodie Lee passes away. Right. Come to find out that he was sick, but nobody knew. Nobody said anything to anybody, because they knew Brodie, they loved Brodie. So, seeing that I was like, I mean there's something about that, you know, like, if that was anywhere else, it'd be all over the internet. His poor wife would have to be dealing with that on top of already dealing with this tragic event.
We also don't want to beat you over the head with it and lie. You know, I didn't have them construct some fugazi pipe and drape and drive me in the United Center and hide me from everybody. I walked in here like a human being, and I was like, 'hey everybody,' meeting people walking through the hallway because I just think these people, again, nobody's back here standing on their own dick. Everybody's getting out of their own way. Just let stuff happen and having fun. Behind the camera and in front of the camera, people just having fun, and they just want to be a part of it, that's it. So nobody's trying to, you know, tweet and spoil stuff. Let's just all have fun.
So I think a lot of people back here were in on it. They knew I was going to be here but they weren't sure, and man isn't that fun? Isn't that fun? Worst kept secret designed that way for a reason. You can criticize and say well, 'they should advertise, maybe the ratings will be better.' It's about the moments. It's about the moments and making people go 'oh man, I can't miss the show I don't know what's going to happen. This is fun and I want to be a part of.'"
Fightful Select reported on July 21 that Punk was in talks for an in-ring return.
Punk famously left WWE in January 2014 following the Royal Rumble and stayed away from the ring until his return on Friday. He went on to become a UFC fighter and star in a handful of movies before joining WWE Backstage in November 2019 as a special analyst before the show was canceled as a weekly show in June 2020 due to the pandemic. Punk did make two Independent appearances during his time away from wrestling, both times under a mask.
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