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By Andrew Grevas on 3/1/2023 7:57 AM

Welcome back to The Grevas Report, here on PWInsider Xtra. My latest topic is bound to be one that most people are just ready for some resolution on. It’s been talked about to death, yet there seems to be no end in sight. More rumors, more people within the industry weighing in on it, more time passed since “The Incident”. Of course, I’m talking about CM Punk and whether AEW will want to bring back the “Second City Saint” or eventually part ways with “The Voice of the Voiceless”. 

It’s been almost 6 months now since CM Punk took the post PPV media scrum hostage and the internet lost its collective mind. Half a year since 3 EVPs stormed the locker room of a wrestler and a fistfight broke out. Summer ended, fall came and went and now winter is winding down and we still have no answers as to whether CM Punk will ever return to All Elite Wrestling or not. Opinions vary on whether he should or not, amongst fans and those who work for the company. Cryptic tweets and interview clips seem to be happening more and more frequently lately, leaving us to wonder if the Khan - Punk Cold War has an end in sight. But instead of speculating, let’s discuss what we know. 

The Elite is back and in the position on the card they were always intended to have. They never lost their EVP titles either. Punk is still hurt, mostly quiet, with the exception of a random Instagram comment every once in a while. Mark Henry wants Punk back. The ratings indicate that he’s missed. Jericho has tweeted that he “always loved working with CM Punk” despite sources claiming that Jericho doesn’t want Punk back. AEW’s television home is in the middle of a public merger and all content is being reevaluated to determine its worth to the newly merged giant. Kenny Omega’s contract is rumored to be up in under a year and isn’t ruling out anything, including a tour in WWE before he retires. Are we caught up yet? Let’s break it down. 

The Elite, despite being tremendous in the ring and in leadership roles within the company, aren’t the half of the argument that brings in casual fans. AEW proudly taunted the fact that Punk was their guy in terms of bringing in eyeballs to the show. He helped secure the company’s first million dollar live gate and was part of some of the most memorable angles on television. I would go as far as to say that his feud with MJF and his promo in the go home show before reclaiming the title from Jon Moxley, were AEW at its best. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to assume that the folks at WarnerMedia/ Discovery would love to have someone with the drawing power of CM Punk back on the roster. 

But can Punk’s sins be forgiven? He did completely derail a media scrum and take his peers, his co-workers to task publicly. He had his boss sitting in a very uncomfortable position. While I am of the belief that if Tony Khan had addressed the Adam Page / CM Punk situation when it first happened we never would have been in this situation, that fact can’t be used to excuse Punk’s behavior. It wasn’t ok and it’s easy to see why some people wouldn’t want to work with him again. That being said, it’s a business and the pro wrestling business on top of that. What’s best for business is the question that should always be asked and in this situation, I’m failing to see how bringing Punk and The Elite to the table and saying “this needs to be squashed so we can go to war with WWE” isn’t the best option. 

But there are other questions that must be asked here. CM Punk’s health for starters. Can Punk go? His AEW run was hampered by injuries and let us not forget that he is in his forties now, dealing with the repercussions of a tough, physical career. Is it worth bringing him back and possibly upsetting members of the locker room if Punk is just going to keep getting injured. The answer to that is yes. Yes you do. You just use him smarter. When he’s doing something physical or working a match, it should be special. He’s at a point in his career and life where he should be treated as an attraction. Let Punk do what Punk does best - make magic happen. Nobody and I mean nobody, is more believable on the mic in 2023 than CM Punk. He can make a crowd feel things that nobody else can, with the exception of maybe Sami Zayn. 

But all of this aside, will we see Punk back in AEW? Or will the biggest acquisition in the history of a company that prides themselves on major acquisitions fade away? I don’t think anyone knows for sure, Punk and Tony Khan included. But we are hearing more and more people from within AEW talk about it lately, which likely means that it’s being discussed more internally too. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take seven more years to get an answer here.