CM Punk To Return To AEW In June As Face Of New Weekly Show

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CM Punk is set to return to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) on Saturday, June 17.

The working plan is to book the United Center in Chicago on the date to return Punk and debut a new weekly Saturday show, according to the Wrestling Observer.

AEW last booked the United Center in August of 2021, when it sold out the venue on the rumor Punk would debut with the promotion.

The Saturday program will be titled “Collision” and air 8-10 p.m. ET. Broadcast partner Warner Bros. Discovery has the option to air the show on either TNT or TBS.

Unlike “Rampage,” a pre-taped and throwaway show on Fridays, AEW will treat “Collision” on par with its flagship Wednesday “Dynamite” program.

In doing so, the promotion will implement a brand split by assigning performers to Saturdays or Wednesdays, with some wrestlers having the option to perform on either.

AEW will earmark CM Punk on “Collision,” where he’ll be the face of the program.

Thereby look for AEW to keep MJF and The Elite (more on them in a bit) on “Dynamite” to even out the drawing power.

The brand split is also a means to separate Punk from the talents who wish to not work with him, writes The Observer.

Such petty Junior High drama remains the catalyst of the Punk saga.

“The fact that I have to sit up here because we have irresponsible people who call themselves EVPs who couldn’t f–king manage a Target spread lies and bulls–t,” — CM Punk

CM Punk has not appeared on AEW since Labor Day. Sure, he tore his tricep. But the uncertainties of his future stemmed from the infamous “Brawl Out” following an AEW PPV on September 4, 2022.

Following the event, Punk took the podium to address a real-life rumor that claims he forced AEW to fire his former friend Colt Cabana.

There, Punk accused The Elite (Kenny Omega and Matt and Nick Jackson), who are both EVPs and stars of the promotion, of leaking said information about him.

Punk belittled The Elite as unqualified and unsuccessful. He referred to their pal Adam Page as an “empty-head dumb f*ck” for referencing the rumored Cabana situation on-air.

For a refresher:

Got all that?

After the presser, a non-scripted brawl ensued in which Punk punched Matt Jackson in the face, and his ally Ace Steele (who was fired for the event) bit Omega in the arm.

Again, we emphasize the presser and backstage brawl were not part of the show. It was a real-life altercation that morphed into a legal issue for the company.

Moreover, reports say The Elite and members of the locker room do not want Punk to return to the company.

And therein lies the concern with establishing Punk as a chief player in the future of the brand.

CM Punk is the biggest drawing card in AEW. Ratings, attendance, merchandising, and ticket sales rise when he is involved.

But he’s also a proven locker-room cancer. He was that in WWE before moving to AEW. Performers in WWE have not forgiven him for his antics over 8 years ago.

He’s always one tweet away from burning what bridges remain between him and management. Uncertainty defines the career of CM Punk.

And until recently, there was speculation AEW would not return Punk on account of the drama. Yet AEW owner Tony Khan somewhere along the line decided otherwise.

We certainly don’t blame Khan. According to Dave Meltzer, the TV partner wanted Punk back:

Multiple people have said that WBD wanted Punk back as the star of the new Saturday show, although others have been told differently. We do know that he was extremely important in this deal but whether the deal was incumbent on him, we’ve heard both ways. One person outside the company has seen correspondence indicating that WBD definitely wanted him back and other things that have happened in recent weeks very much behind-the-scenes have indicated to us that Punk being back is, if nothing else, very significant in everything.

The reality is from a business standpoint if AEW is getting only what WBD usually pays for first-run programming for this show, and Punk is at least a part in getting the deal, I’m not saying the Punk deal is something they had to make. But it’s a deal that every single promoter in history would have tried to make.

If AEW only makes what Discovery has been paying for first run shows as a general rule ($500,000 per hour in general is what Discovery pays for first-run programming), that’s $52 million per year and that’s a game changing financial deal for AEW. The reality is that for all the shows except sports, AEW Dynamite is generally the highest rated cable show on all of the WBD channels except for 90 Day Fiancé on TLC. AEW is paid no more than most of the lower rating original programming. So if anything, a new show should get more.


Tony Khan established AEW as a premiere property in sports and entertainment.

Any broadcast company not in business with WWE ought to inquire about bidding for AEW rights: ESPN, Netflix, Amazon, Paramount, AppleTV, and DAZN.

But as WBD knows, the brand is worth more when Punk stars.

Thus, Punk is either going to burn down the walls and chase marquee talents out of the company, or he’s going to anchor the brand into its most crucial period in company history.

In addition to the new Saturday show, AEW will begin to renegotiate its broadcast rights later this year.

In August, AEW will host its first event at Wembley Stadium in England — a night that could propel AEW into a class with UFC and WWE.

Each milestone is easier to achieve with CM Punk on board.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.

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