CM Punk was on a recent episode of Rasslin’ with Brandon Walker where he discussed AEW’s forward outlook. Punk received a huge pop in his return at Rampage: The First Dance, and Punk discussed what that feels like to get that kind of reaction on the level of of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
“It’s like the kids say, there’s levels to this, and you don’t know until you ascend to those levels,” Punk noted. “And one of the things I’ve always hated about the wrestling business is, there’s exceptions to the rule, some people are good about it, but there’s always been people who have gotten to a certain level, and they’re almost taught and the culture is fostered for them to believe that they need to make sure nobody else gets to that level.
“They don’t want anybody to ‘steal their spot’. You throwing my name in the hat with somebody like Steve Austin, who’s arguably biggest star the business has ever seen. A lot of this is subjective, though. You can make the argument, ‘Oh, no, well, Hulk Hogan is a bigger star than Steve Austin,’ but then you look at business periods, and eras, and box office receipts and all that other stuff. I think Hogan’s a piece of sh*t, so obviously, I’m gonna be like, ‘Steve Austin, yay.’ What it what it feels like. I don’t have the words to describe what it feels like. What I know I feel like is I want to help everybody on the AEW roster f*cking get there. That’s what I know.”
Walker commented on the many younger talents in AEW that are or can be big stars like Britt Baker, MJF and Sammy Guevara. Punk responded to that and recalled his decision to either come back to WWE or join AEW.
“As a wrestling fan, I 100% agree with you,” Punk said. “I’ll go ahead and tell everybody I had the option, and I went, well, it’s the devil you know against maybe the devil you don’t know. I know what I’m getting if I go work for Vince [McMahon]. I know who he is. I know what he is. It’s not going to change. I didn’t have fun, necessarily, last time I was there.
“I have no reason to believe it was ever going to change, but I just looked at what I would be doing. I’ve done it all. Who would I wrestle on that side of the fence? On the AEW side of things, I’m a kid at Christmas. I’ve already mentioned a couple of those names. A kid like Dante Martin, I watch him and the stuff he can do, I feel like I’m watching a 1995 Nitro where it has a different feel to it. It feels gritty.
“It feels rough around the edges, and oh by the way, here’s these two luchadores that had a layover in Tijuana and they’re there. They’re exhausted, and they go out there and they got a six-minute match, but they put on such a show and they pack so much into six minutes and have it makes sense. The stuff I see this kid Dante Martin do, I’m an artist, and I’m looking and I go, oh, I’ve never painted with that brush before. I can’t wait to get a hold of that brush.”
Punk later spoke again on younger talent. He discussed the balance of the veteran stars and up-and-coming talent.
“I say this all the time, I love this saying, we’re not in the business of standing on our own d*cks,” Punk stated. “Nobody’s trying to clip anybody’s wings and it’s gonna give birth to that next huge star.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Rasslin’ with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.