CM Punk’s tenure with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has come to an abrupt end, and it’s a surprising turn of events considering his highly anticipated return to WWE with the company just over two years ago. Before his AEW debut, CM Punk had been absent from the world of professional wrestling for an impressive seven years.
Fightful reports that CM Punk was interested in a return to WWE and could have appeared at the 2023 Royal Rumble
“Those close to Punk claim that around December 2022, Punk was open to leaving AEW, and even encouraged the idea so he could make a WWE return. Specifically, we’ve… pic.twitter.com/ghFxPtIolv
— Wrestlelamia.co.uk (@wrestlelamia) September 4, 2023
During that period, it seemed highly improbable that he would ever make a comeback to WWE, his former wrestling home. In the aftermath of the media scrum altercation at last year’s AEW All Out event, there were reports suggesting that CM Punk had become more receptive to the idea of making a potential return to WWE. Recent developments have shed further light on this intriguing possibility.
– Those close to CM Punk claim that around December ’22, Punk was open to leaving AEW, and returning to WWE.
– Fightful have heard that Punk wanted to appear at the 2023 Royal Rumble, but there is no indication that WWE wanted Punk to return, or that AEW would have… pic.twitter.com/4MPauluSMt
— Wrestle Features (@WrestleFeatures) September 4, 2023
Following his suspension by AEW after All Out 2022 and a torn tricep injury, CM Punk found himself sidelined for a period. Interestingly, sources close to Punk have indicated that during this hiatus, he contemplated the possibility of parting ways with AEW in order to explore a potential return to WWE, as reported by Fightful Select.
In December 2022, it was rumored that CM Punk actively supported the notion of departing from AEW and expressed a desire to make a surprise appearance at the 2023 Royal Rumble in WWE.
Is CM Punk subject to a non-compete clause after his departure from AEW?
During the post-show press conference for AEW All Out, AEW President Tony Khan skillfully avoided addressing whether CM Punk’s termination entails a no-compete clause.
“There is Pro Wrestling fans and then there is Weird WWE fans”
– CM Punk(AEW media scrum 2022)
Yes Punk Karma is real.
You deserve this for insulting WWE fans.
Since you made that comment your downfall began ironically.. pic.twitter.com/nu0yel2WWU
— Unpaid Critic (@Unpaid__Critic) September 3, 2023
AEW president Tony Khan refused to disclose any details about Punk’s exit from the promotion. However, he thanked the wrestler for his contribution. “I don’t think it was an easy decision for anybody on the discipline committee or the outside counsel or for me to do something like that. I do think it was the right move. As far as what’s going to happen in the future, I can’t speak to that. I’m not the attorneys who interpret all that language,” Tony said.
In professional wrestling, contractual relationships between talents and promotions typically conclude in three common ways: contract expiration, release, or termination.
When a talent’s contract naturally expires, they gain the freedom to participate in any wrestling promotion without restrictions. In cases of a release, there is often a “no compete” clause, which typically lasts for 30 to 90 days, during which the released talent is not permitted to compete elsewhere. However, their immediate future becomes uncertain and unclear when a talent is fired.
Tony Khan’s full address on firing CM Punk: pic.twitter.com/kiVeMObtSr
— Wrestle Ops (@WrestleOps) September 3, 2023
Numerous speculations have centered around the WWE Survivor Series, which is scheduled for November and coincidentally takes place in CM Punk’s hometown of Chicago, as a potential destination for Punk’s WWE return.
However, it’s worth noting that there are 84 days remaining from the date of Punk’s departure, and a standard 90-day no-compete clause would ordinarily preclude him from participating in that event.