AEW star CM Punk joined Kap & J. Hood on ESPN Chicago Monday morning to talk about his AEW debut and return to wrestling this past Friday at AEW Rampage: The First Dance. With a few days to reflect on his return to pro wrestling, Punk believes the moment may have been the best thing he’s ever done in pro wrestling.
“That might have been the greatest moment, the greatest night of my career,” Punk said. “Just the entire night couldn’t have gone more perfect. The way we set it up as the worst kept secret, selling out the United Center on the rumor that I was going to be there, never announced, never advertised. It shows the connection to the fanbase that AEW has, that they get it, right? They want to be involved, they want to be entertained, they want to go up to shows and have a good time.
“So we didn’t feel the need to beat them over the head to get a TV rating. And don’t get me wrong, I know executives at TNT love their ratings. But to me pro wrestling has always been about moments and getting people to feel something. It was the perfect storm, the perfect night.”
Punk continued, comparing how he felt about the moment on a personal level to the apparent success of his return from a business perspective. Ultimately while Punk knows that’s a big deal to some people, the metrics matter less to him. What’s most important is whether his return made fans happy.
“The way I debuted, everybody being super positive backstage,” Punk said. “I met so many new people, having my family with me, I could go on and on. It was the perfect night and the perfect moment for so many reasons. And I’m just talking personally. Publicly I think it’s a smashing success.
“A lot of people love YouTube views and likes and clicks and all that stuff. That stuff doesn’t really matter to me all that much, but it’s a big deal to a lot of people. The metrics and the analytics people love that stuff. But to me it was just about making people happy. I gave people ice cream, just like Jon Lester is giving people beer when he’s leaving this city. I’m back and I want to show the fans how thankful I am that they waited for seven years.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Kap & J. Hood On ESPN Chicago and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription