Since his return to pro wrestling at AEW Rampage: The First Dance nearly two weeks ago, AEW star CM Punk has been asked repeatedly why he returned. In an appearance on WFAN’s Moose & Maggie, he offered several reasons for why the time was right.
“Well, there’s a litany of reasons. There’s a dozen good reasons to come back,” Punk said. “But when you look at the landscape of things when I left, there was no AEW. A lot of people assume that I probably would have went straight there. I don’t know how true that is, but watching them kind of make this big splash on the scene two years ago and grow into this company, with TNT firmly behind them. There’s a lot of things that need to go on to be a global professional wrestling organization. You need good TV but you also need executives at that cable network that believe in the product, cause otherwise, you’re on a short leash.
“So, I was kind of just watching for two years and seeing how things developed. And realizing that this place is possibly all I ever wanted in pro wrestling. Really, the question is, ‘why wouldn’t I go there now?’ A lot of stories about the locker room being great, keeping secrets when they need to keep secrets about a family illness. We lost Brodie Lee last December, and that was a big one for me.
“There’s a lot of gossipy news, everybody wants to know how the sausage is made. It’s no different from the NBA, NFL. The behind the scenes stuff is the salacious that the fans want to see. And they sat on this story of this guy getting sick, being in the hospital, because his wife said, ‘guys, can we keep this under wraps?’ And they kept it under wraps. And I thought that was super commendable, it was honor, and that was something that was near and dear to me because Brodie was my friend. I see that and I’m like, ‘man, there’s something to that. That’s a real family.'”
Having been gone for seven years, Punk was asked how he had changed compared to how he was when he left WWE in 2014. Punk talked about continuing to devote energy to pro wrestling, but balancing it as a priority with his personal life in order to keep himself happy and healthy.
“Seven years is a long time,” Punk said. “I think I’ve learned from a lot of mistakes that I have made. Taking myself out of a bad situation, you know, you’ll hear stories about how I wasn’t fun to work with or whatever. But again, the environment I was in was designed to be that way, where you had to protect your spot and always have your guard up and all that. It really just squeezed the joy out of my life. So, I’m different now that I’ll prioritize my dog, I’ll prioritize my wife. For so long, it was just wrestling, and it’s easier to do when you’re not married and you don’t have kids. Now, I think wrestling, while it can be a priority, it doesn’t have to be the number one priority. But it can still be something I devote 100% of my energy to, but it’s not 24/7. And I think that will change a lot for me, about being healthy and happy.”
Of course no Punk interview is complete without questions about AJ Lee and a potential return to wrestling. While Punk once again stated her neck injury likely keeps her from a return, it’s something he would be over the moon to see happen.
“I would love to see it,” Punk said. “I get asked that question every single time I do an interview and I love it. I absolutely love it. I don’t (think she wants to do it), because she’s a teeny tiny person and she has a bad neck. I think the shelf life for females in wrestling, wrestling a full schedule, is a lot shorter, it’s a lot smaller then men. And I think she’s so focused on what she’s doing now, writing screenplays. She’s working on a million different projects, being pulled in so many directions. I think she would probably, maybe be receptive to the idea of coming back, but that can’t even enter her vocabulary right now. She’s so focused on the movie scripts and TV adaptation of a book she’s working on.”
You can watch the full interview below.