CM Punk recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated and talked about the importance of giving back in AEW.

“This is really about the soul, the spirit, and the art of professional wrestling,” Punk said. “It reminds me of how I started. It’s why guys like me and Bryan Danielson would drive 15 hours to get to a show, and barely get gas money in return, to wrestle in front of 300 rabid fans in Philadelphia. That’s what this is, with TNT behind it.

“We’re the punk rock band that used to play at your bowling alley. It has that spirit and love of the art. It’s a place where you can make a living and learn the craft.”

Long before he signed with WWE, Punk wrestled WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero for the IWA Mid-South promotion back in 2002. While away from WWE, Guerrero would defeat Punk to win the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Title, in a January 2002 Triple Threat with Rey Mysterio, and Punk ended up winning the title the next month, and then they had another match in April of that year.

Punk vividly recalled the feeling of sharing the ring with Guerrero, and addressed the significance of his current co-workers feeling similarly about working with him in AEW.

“I’m not saying I’m Eddie Guerrero,” Punk said. “I’ll never say that, and I’ll never compare myself to him. But that spirit of wanting to give back and challenge wrestlers, that’s what he did and that’s what I want to do.”

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