Why Booker T Says CM Punk's WWE Return Is A 'Huge Blow' To AEW

CM Punk's re-emergence in WWE has reignited interest among lapsed fans, considering that his return video at Survivor Series became the most-watched social moment in WWE history, and the viewership for "WWE Raw" saw a 30 percent increase on the back of his comeback. While WWE continues to benefit from Punk's return, Booker T believes AEW suffered "a huge blow" when the former WWE Champion returned to his old stomping grounds.


"This a huge blow for AEW's Chicago market," Booker said on his "Hall of Fame" podcast. "When Punk came in, AEW had plans to boost that thing to the next level. They're still trying to run Chicago ... but, now, it's gonna be so hard for that company to step back in Chicago without someone like CM Punk." 

Booker believes "the bottom fell out" for AEW when they got rid of Punk, comparing the situation to his time in WCW when "WCW Nitro" dominated "WWE Raw" in the ratings for 83 weeks until the latter turned the ship around. While AEW never beat WWE in the ratings, Booker feels Tony Khan's company squandered momentum by not capitalizing on Punk's popularity. 

He added that if the current trend continues, Khan could be forced to "pull the plug" on AEW. "Sooner or later, I feel like Tony Khan will be doing the same thing [as Ted Turner] unless he keeps his mouth shut and just runs his company."


The Hall of Famer proceeded to explain why WWE's gain is AEW's loss. "This is a bigger blow to AEW but it was also a huge win for WWE. They are both equal if it were a Road Warrior pop [laughs]. It was a huge blow [for AEW] just because of the build-up and how much they put into that thing — just for it to fall apart the way it did."