Two Potential CM Punk Feuds Should He Return at Survivor Series
Ever since CM Punk was fired from AEW following the blockbuster All In show at Wembley Stadium, the talk of the wrestling world has been whether he will or won’t return to WWE. Ever since the Chicago-born star walked out of Vince McMahon’s company almost exactly a decade ago, fans have clamored for his return. His debut in AEW was a special moment for wrestling fans the world over, but his two-year stint as a performer with the same outfit didn’t truly live up to expectations.
Punk’s run in AEW saw the Second City Saint arch into the type of character he was so angry at when he left the wrestling industry – the John Cena crowd-popping babyface. Admittedly his feud with MJF was arguably worth his salary alone, but his title reign and his temper tantrums mean that neither he, Tony Khan, nor the general wrestling public will look back on the run with any kind of positivity.
His status as a free agent means only one thing to most. When – not if – will CM Punk return home? The obvious answer is Survivor Series, which takes place in the 45-year-old’s hometown. Should that come to fruition, it will without a doubt be one of the greatest moments in WWE history, but fans will start looking for some substance once the initial pop has died down.
The first hurdle to navigate is who his first feud will be with. Here are two potential candidates.
The obvious answer is Seth Rollins. The pair have plenty of previous animosity, with Rollins publicly stating on numerous occasions that he dislikes Punk and that he wants to fight him – for real. We’re not sure how wise that would be for the Visionary, especially because Punk is a legitimate former UFC fighter, albeit not a very good one.
Punk hasn’t enjoyed great odds as a result of his lack of skill in this area, as you might already know if you’re interested in the betting world. The UFC odds pinned him as the underdog for both his contests in the Octagon – namely against debutant Mickey Gall and a woeful fighter in Mike Jackson – and they were correct, with Punk losing both contests. However, he has much more real-fight training than Rollins and would surely more than hold his own.
However, in terms of a wrestling storyline, there is still plenty to work with. Rollins is the current World Heavyweight Champion and just as was the case back in 2019 when he began feuding with the Fiend, the fans have begun to turn on him. Should Punk enter a feud with Rollins, it would present the perfect opportunity for Seth to turn heel once more as the returning two-time WWE Champion would surely be beloved by the fans.
As well as that, both the commentary team and Rollins himself have been teasing a Punk return in recent weeks. During his feud with Shinsuke Nakamura, Rollins claimed on WWE TV that he was the “Best in the World,” CM Punk’s famed catchphrase. Cory Graves has also quoted the Second City Saint at the commentary booth, copying numerous things he said during his time in Ring of Honor. One certain thing is that Rollins vs Punk would do big business.
Everyone knows that Cody Rhodes’ mission to “finish the story” is still incomplete. Many expect him to become the first man since Stone Cold Steve Austin over 25 years ago to win back-to-back Royal Rumbles and headline his second straight WrestleMania against Roman Reigns. Last year, it looked as though he would indeed finish that story at WrestleMania 39 inside Los Angeles’ state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium. Ultimately though, it would not come to fruition, and the reigning and defending Undisputed WWE Universal Champion shockingly retained his title.
Ever since then, the American Nightmare has been navigating a somewhat bland road back to the show of shows. It started strongly with a three-match series against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, a series that Cody would win 2-1. Since then, though, he has been embroiled in a lukewarm feud with the Judgement Day alongside one-time rival Jey Uso, as well as perennial babyface Sami Zayn. That will culminate with a War Games match in the main event at Survivor Series, but who Rhodes will feud with between then and the Royal Rumble remains to be seen.
A two-month program with Punk could be the perfect answer, and these two also have plenty of history to delve into. When Rhodes was on his way out of AEW, he quoted CM Punk’s famous pipebomb, saying that all the things Punk said he would do when he left WWE, Rhodes had already done. That will have surely left a sour taste in Punk’s mouth; he is famed for his somewhat negative temperament.
Also, a feud with Cody would be perfect should WWE wish to bring Punk back as a heel. He does his best work as a bad guy, as demonstrated by his ill-fated run as a babyface with AEW. Fans are simply not willing to boo Cody just yet and he is arguably the biggest babyface in the company. Bringing Punk back and having him shock the audience with a betrayal or attack on Cody Rhodes would be as gob-smacking as it is money-making