CM Punk made his long awaited return to professional wrestling — it’s actually been over seven whole years, it’s almost hard to fathom how much time has actually passed since he was last in a ring in front of fans — during tonight’s (Fri., Aug. 20, 2021) episode of Rampage on TNT in Chicago, Illinois. When his music hit, his hometown crowd absolutely lost their ever loving mind.
Punk himself came out, took it in, and cried.
So did this guy:
You know what? We are all that guy.
As curmudgeonly as we can all be about the pro wrestling industry after all these years of covering it, you couldn’t help but be swept up in everything this moment represented, everything it was, and everything it meant to the man who made it. Hell, everything it meant to all those who never stopped chanting for him, even all these years later.
He acknowledged those folks too (check out his promo here), making sure they understand that he understood where they were coming from. But also we needed to understand where he was coming from too, that he just needed to get himself out of that awful place he was in and there just never really was an opportunity to come back to everything he once loved and that’s really the only reason he stayed away.
Because that opportunity exists now. He doesn’t have to dance with the devil just to go to the ball anymore. AEW, and, in reality, all the fans of it allowing it to flourish into what it’s so quickly become, has allowed him to do what he so obviously always wanted to and simply couldn’t.
Maybe that’s why that guy was crying, and why the rest of us were doing the same, in our own ways. This felt like a reunion, seven long years in the making, of the guy who never wanted to leave but felt he had to and the folks who missed him dearly and only ever wanted him to come back home.
This feels good.
It feels right.
Welcome back, Punk.