I’ve Changed: CM Punk Is Back In WWE 

I’ve Changed: CM Punk Is Back In WWE 

Sometimes, change can be a good thing. But, too much change can have the opposite effect. CM Punk made his shocking return to WWE after nearly 10 years and one of the first things he said on his return promo is “I’ve changed.” But, in what sense? Is the CM Punk that fans know and love from 10 years ago dead? Or is the voice of the voiceless back at the top of WWE?

Punk has gained a cult-like following throughout his time in professional wrestling. From the independent days, all the way up until his debut in WWE’s ECW, and then onward to the main roster of Raw and SmackDown. From there, we’ve seen many different iterations of CM Punk. Heel, face, anti-authority and straight edge society, to pipe-bomb dropping and legend stopping, CM Punk has done a lot in WWE, especially when it came to character work. Multi-time WWE champion, money in the bank winner and headliner throughout his career. Through it all, the fans stuck by his side, still loving the straight edge savior through every phase of his career. Then, in 2014, he left. But, the fans did not. 

CM Punk walked out of WWE, never to be seen again, or so we thought. Yet, after bashing the company on public platforms, taking shots at higher ups and even in legal battles, WWE and CM Punk may have not been on good terms, but the fans still stuck by his side. ‘CM Punk’ chants rang through arenas world wide for years to come. It always felt like chanting his name was sort of a “anti-establishment” chant. The fans weren’t just chanting for CM Punk because they wanted the man back, it felt like they chanted his name for change. Any time the fans were displeased with what they saw on WWE TV, CM Punk chants would fire up. Maybe it’s because they knew that the most authentic WWE television would come from Punk himself, and they desperately wanted to go back to the times where someone was on top and spoke their mind about when things were bad with a live microphone. Or, maybe some fans simply just wanted to troll WWE. I certainly believe it was a mixture of both. 

But then, he came back. But, it wasn’t in WWE. After a little over 7 years away from the pro-wrestling world, CM Punk made his debut for AEW. Now, this was change. This was anti-establishment. This was anti-PG WWE. We had CM Punk back in a place where he could speak his mind, he could wrestle and tell stories the way he wanted to, and in the best way possible, it felt like a nostalgia act. Not the type of nostalgia act that popped a rating one time on a anniversary of Raw, no, CM Punk coming into AEW felt like we went back in time to 2011 where CM Punk was on top of the world and fans were glued to their television screens. From dog collar matches with MJF to heated promos with Adam Page, we found lightning in a bottle again. But, just as quick as it came, it went away. Chaos ensued. It was Deja vu. Issues between CM Punk and his home wrestling promotion has happened once again. And just like last time, CM Punk had left. Now gone from WWE and AEW, would we ever see the self proclaimed ‘best in the world’ ever again? 

Like many forms of entertainment, there will always be rumors. Who has drama with who, which actor is playing the big movie role, which artist is dropping an album, rumors are constant in entertainment. But sometimes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. CM Punk rumored to go back to WWE? No, this can’t be true. After everything that happened, there’s no way he’d step foot into a WWE ring again. That’s blasphemy! That’d be hypocritical! That’d be.. perfect. The static scratched, living color played, and the 2023 Survivor Series crowd in Chicago was seemingly in a collective dream. Except they weren’t. CM Punk just walked out to end the WWE Premium Live Event. He’s back. This is real life, hell has frozen over. CM Punk has re-signed with World Wrestling Entertainment.

In the moments following Survivor Series, the initial fan reaction was shock, some excitement, some disappointment, and every emotion in the book. Fans were torn on CM Punk being back in the WWE, but one thing we all collectively wanted to do, was hear him speak. We hoped he was on the post-show press conference. But, he wasn’t. Triple H was though, and he answered many questions about Punk being back in WWE. The most noteworthy thing he said though, was mentioning that everyone changes in a 10 year span. Punk, himself, and the company as a whole. Evolution is a part of life and change is inevitable. Those words of Punk changing stuck. For two days we were stuck with pondering what truly changed between WWE and Punk? After all that turmoil, what changed? 

Some people called CM Punk hypocritical for going back to WWE. Including WWE’s own World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins. Seth made it obvious that he wasn’t happy with Punk being back. He was cussing, throwing up the middle finger and making sure it was known that he wasn’t fond of Punk while Survivor Series went off the air. And that trend continued. Nashville, Tennessee was the home of the first Monday Night RAW that CM Punk has been apart of for nearly ten whole years. But, before we got to hear from the man himself, we got to hear from Seth Rollins. He came out on RAW, and in usual fashion, the fans sang his song, but it lasted mere seconds before ‘CM Punk’ chants took over again. Just like old times. This time, Seth could react to them, it isn’t taboo anymore. Simply put, Seth touted that he didn’t want to hear that, he didn’t want to talk about that man, and he called him a hypocrite. Seth swiftly moved on from Punk and went about his business with other talent in the World Title scene. Seth Rollins had no further comment on the man who he believes is hypocritical. 

Now, it’s time. The end of RAW. Ten minutes left, CM Punk is making his way to the ring. Here we go, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The anticipation was at an all time high. Was he going to take a shot at AEW? Was he going to drop another infamous promo? Was he going to ‘shoot’ on Seth Rollins? No. None of the above. CM Punk said that he’s home. He said this (WWE) is where he belongs. He was.. nice? He was not the CM Punk we’ve gotten to know and love. He was kissing the ass of WWE? He was being a hypocrite. Seth Rollins was right. CM Punk is hypocritical and the promo was nothing more than a celebration lap that he was back with WWE and he was ready to get everything out of it that he could. Even mentioning that he isn’t here to make friends, he’s here to make money. CM Punk wasn’t CM Punk. He was Phil. 

He’s done it all, right? Heel, face, loved, hated and everything in between. But there’s one thing he’s never been. He’s never been hypocritical. He’s never been a corporate sellout. But now, he is. Everything he said he hated about John Cena, everything he said he hated about The Rock, he’s become. CM Punk is becoming everything we never wanted him to be, he’s no leader, he’s a follower and there’s potential that it can be the greatest creation he’s ever had. CM Punk is no longer the voice of the voiceless. He’s the mouthpiece of the corporation. Does he have your attention now?

From: Brady Alexander

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