CM Punk’s Future in Wrestling

Hello AW Universe,

With such a momentous week in wrestling, with AEW beating NXT in the Wednesday night ratings after their first debut episode of “Dynamite,” and SmackDown moving back to Friday for its debut on FOX tonight, a lot of speculation remains in the air as to what might take place as this new era of professional wrestling moves forward. One name that has continued to remain in the foreground and background of every wrestling fan’s minds ever since we walked away from WWE just prior to WrestleMania XXX has, of course, been CM Punk.

There has been speculation for over five years as to what his future in wrestling would be, with constant rumours swirling as to when he would make surprise returns either in WWE, iMPACT, or as recently as AEW.

But, it seems that those rumours and fantasy bookings might finally be coming to an end. It was been reported that Punk has accepted a position with FOX to co-host their backstage show with SmackDown commentator Renee Young.

Here’s what Punk has to say about how he was initially approached about the position and how he responded in his interview with Collider Live (as reported by Cage Side Seats):

“I’m open to anything, and if they come at me with, ‘Hey we want you to wrestle,’ I’m gonna be like, ‘um, I’m not interested’. But I’ve grown so much as a person, and I look back at all the stuff and – I don’t need it. I don’t need the confrontation, and I don’t need the drama. But I’m a businessman, you know? But I also put my morals and my integrity above business deals… If you want me to do anything, well OK, then talk to me. But don’t waste my time…

What’s notable here is that it emphatically has Phil Brooks accepting the position with FOX and is not affiliated directly with WWE:

“I’m not dealing with anybody in WWE… They explained to me what it was and I love Renee Young. Renee Young is a great person – she’s Canadian, so obviously she’s like super over-the-top nice and friendly. It’s along the lines of what I do for CFFC [Cage Fury Fighting Championships, where Punk does color commentary]. But I prefaced it with, ‘Guys, I’m not going to come in and dump all over stuff just to dump on it. That’s old Phil. But if it’s bad, I’m not going to be able to pretend that it’s anything but bad.’”

This is interesting language that Punk chose to use. Though he isn’t dealing directly with WWE, he does appear to have walked back a lot of the vitriol he had against WWE over the last half-decade. But as he describes what he wants his approach to be with reviewing SmackDown– not “dumping on” the product just for the sake of it, but also not pulling any punches if it sucks– he’s eager be involved in the product from a purely observational and thoughtful perspective.

If his specific comments indicating that he is done with actually wrestling, and being more involved in talking about it, he was featured on the NHL focused 31 Thoughts: The Podcast with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek of Sportsnet when they were in Chicago, interviewing a number of players over the course of their “Star Series.”

Punk was in the room as they interviewed players on the Chicago Blackhawks, and was given space to ask some interview questions of his own. He was there as an amateur, getting in his reps as an interviewer and acting so in a professional manner makes you wonder if this is something that’s either been wanting to do for awhile, or views as his next career step.

To me, it’s pretty clear that CM Punk/Phil Brooks’ future is in commentary and interviewing, because that’s where his passion seems to be. Whether it’s reviewing the weekly WWE product, or deepening his involvement in hockey, he seems to be putting in the work to enter that field.

And finally, fans can close the fantasy book on CM Punk, as he’s really really really done with in-ring performing.

… or is he…

… everything is a work, right…?