The inevitable has happened. AEW has announced CM Punk will be returning to the company. His long-rumored return will come on June 17 in Chicago on the company's new program, AEW Collision.
Punk was AEW's biggest signing when he joined the company in August of 2021. Over the next year he helped the company grow and eventually won the AEW World Title. Last September, that all came crashing down.
Following a victorious title defense against Jon Moxley at AEW All Out, Punk tore into some fellow AEW stars in the post-PPV media scrum. He targeted The Young Bucks and "Hangman" Adam Page, while also ripping Scott Colton (Colt Cabana). Following the press conference, Punk was confronted in the locker room by The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega and it led to a brawl that also involved Ace Steel. Christopher Daniels, Michael Nakazawa and Brandon Cutler were all involved.
AEW CEO Tony Khan suspended Punk, The Young Bucks and Omega indefinitely, and fired Steel. The Young Bucks and Omega were back after a few months, but Punk remained on the shelf. Rumors circulated for months that AEW would buy him out of his contract and he might wind up back in WWE. None of that amounted to anything.
With flagging ratings, AEW needed some kind of boost. Punk's return after the massive controversy from his departure might help.