Tony Khan’s announcement of the abrupt termination of CM Punk is surely one of the most controversial moments in the Jacksonville-based promotion’s history. It was probably something that was bound to happen amid the backstage issues Punk was having, but when it actually happened, no one was really expecting it.
When AEW’s CEO made the announcement on Saturday’s Collision episode, he had to face large backlash from the audience. Fans’ disappointment over the decision was also been visible in through numbers, as All Elite Wrestling lost more than 40% of its viewership. This major dip in the numbers after firing Punk has left Tony Khan in deeply troubled waters.
After Tony Khan announced that he had fired CM Punk on AEW collision, 89,000 people tuned out.— Wrestle Features (@WrestleFeatures) September 6, 2023
(WrestleNomics via PWInsider) pic.twitter.com/gD1l1OwoHp
According to Wrestle Features, the Jacksonville-based promotion had to face a major viewership loss after the former AEW star’s termination. It has been revealed that the opening quarter of the September 2 show drew about 472,000 viewers, but the viewer count took a 19% dip after the announcement.
As per the numbers, 89,000 people tuned out of Saturday’s show after the first quarter, bringing the viewership to 383,000. This continued further as the show went on, and AEW’s Collision went even below 250,000 viewers by the end of the show, which is more than 40% loss on the initial count. (Via: Wrestle Ops)
Looking at the dip in numbers All Elite Wrestling faced after revealing Punk’s termination, it’s obvious that fans aren’t too happy about this decision. But the end of AEW’s association with The Straight Edge Superstar has also sparked different speculations about Punk’s in-ring future in the pro wrestling industry.
Is CM Punk really done with AEW?
While CM Punk being publicly terminated is the most talked-about thing in the entire industry, some people still wonder if it’s just a way of seeking fans’ attention. But, looking at the situation in which this entire saga took place, it doesn’t seem like a storyline.
It was reported that Punk even had a heated moment with Tony Khan after after his backstage altercation at the All In London event. With AEW‘s CEO himself making the news of his termination public, it’s potentially true that the Best In The World is no longer with the Jacksonville-based promotion.
Now that Punk’s journey with Tony’s company has ended, it’s been reported that he could be making a WWE return. Even though his previous stint with the Stamford-based promotion ended on really horrific terms, it seems that his AEW firing may open the doors for a potential return to Triple H’s company.
There were some who were adamantly against the idea and didn’t believe it could happen but others who looked at it as a “chance to make big money.” We know of one top-tier star who was all for it, but it wouldn’t be their call.— Wrestle Ops (@WrestleOps) September 5, 2023
– PWInsider with regards to CM Punk and WWE pic.twitter.com/20OgsEdhBN
The thing that gives this speculation strong support is the fact that WWE had a meeting after Punk’s AEW exit. It’s been claimed that the Triple-H led promotion is interested in signing The Straight Edge Superstar, but currently nothing has been officially confirmed. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for the pro wrestling veteran after his exit from AEW.