With AEW announcing all these big shows in the next few months, including trying to fill London's massive Wembley Stadium, I figured CM Punk's return was all but an inevitability. When we last spoke about Punk a few weeks ago, things took a sour turn online, but it seems the train is back on the tracks for a likely CM Punk return in the next few weeks.
Fightful, who have been quite accurate with CM Punk stories in the past, says that while nothing is quite set in stone yet, the working plan is for Punk to return before the AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door event at the end of June. AEW just announced that the final Dynamite before Forbidden Door would take place on June 21 in Chicago, so the hope is to have his return be in his hometown or a few weeks prior.
Punk has expressed interest in working with The Elite, with FTR lobbying for a potential trios match, but as it currently stands, The Elite are not interested in working with Punk. All the members of the Elite have their contracts up by the start of 2024 and are in the midst of renegotiating. Punk is trying to push for a sit down with all sides, so everything can just be settled behind closed doors. Punk also wants to sit down with Chris Jericho after Jericho privately called Punk a cancer in the locker room, and Punk threw some barbs at Jericho on social media. Jericho posted this cryptic message on social media last night:
In the last few weeks, rumors have swirled at AEW is on the precipice of launching a new weekly Saturday night show on WarnerMedia channels. Fightful includes in their report a possibility that if Punk returns, the rosters would be split (a soft split) to accommodate the issues between Punk and others and keep them separated. I would assume they would all still have to be under one roof for PPVs.
The Saturday show looks to be a two-hour prime-time block. There is only one Saturday date announced so far, in July, in Canada. With a two-hour show on Saturday nights, that would mean all future PPVs would be on Sundays. Also, they would be directly competing with WWE and UFC PPVs which take place during that time.
All of this is tentative. We'll see if Punk ends up making it back. As a fan, I would love to see Punk vs. Omega, but as a businessman, I understand why the Elite wouldn't want to work with Punk. It's a crazy time for AEW behind the scenes and we'll keep you posted on how everything plays out.
Knotfest Knitro debuts this Monday!
I am so excited to be hosting a new podcast, called KNITRO with my good buddies Colin Young and Jordan Olds aka Gwarsenio Hall. Jordan has never seen an episode of Nitro, meanwhile Colin and I are lifelong fans. We take Jordan on a journey through the peaks and valleys of WCW one episode at a time.
Come back on Monday for the first episode!
What's on TV this weekend?
Smackdown tonight has three matches announced:
- Shinsuke Nakamura returns
- Xavier Woods vs. LA Knight
- Santos Escobar vs. The Judgment Day's Damian Priest
- Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez to take part in a special Championship Celebration
AEW Rampage is on tonight at 9:30pm eastern or after the NBA game on TNT with this lineup:
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Aussie Open defend against Best Friends
- Jungle Boy vs. Shawn Spears
- Taya Valkyrie vs. Emi Sakura
- Mark Briscoe, Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal & Satnam Singh vs. TBA
- FTR speak
- Matt Menard & Angelo Parker speak
NJPW Capital Collision, Saturday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. eastern on FITE PPV
- NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team Championship: Motor City Machine Guns defend against Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi, Aussie Open in a triple threat match
- NJPW Strong Openweight Championship: KENTA defends against Eddie Edwards
- Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi vs. SANADA & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. El Desperado
- NJPW World Television Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. defends against "Filthy" Tom Lawlor
- David Finlay vs. AR Fox
- Fred Rosser vs. Juice Robinson
- Chuck Taylor, Lio Rush, Rocky Romero, Clark Connors & The DKC vs. KUSHIDA, Volador Jr., "Speedball" Mike Bailey, Gabriel Kidd & Kevin Knight
- Pre-show match: Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito vs. Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson
NJPW Collision in Philadelphia, Sunday, April 16, 5 p.m. eastern on FITE PPV
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Lio Rush & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Aussie Open & TJP
- IWGP US title number one contender's tournament: Lance Archer vs. Juice Robinson
- Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi vs. KENTA & Chase Owens
- Orange Cassidy vs. Gabriel Kidd
- Fred Rosser & Rocky Romero vs. SANADA & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- Zack Sabre Jr., Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito vs. "Filthy" Tom Lawlor, Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs
- ROH Pure Rules match: Alex Coughlin vs. Tracy Williams
- El Desperado & Volador Jr. vs. Delirious & Kevin Knight
This Sunday, streaming on FITE will be a great lucha PPV, AAA Triplemania Monterrey with the following lineup:
- AAA Mega Champion El Hijo del Vikingo defends against Swerve Strickland, Komander, and Rich Swann in a four-way match
- Guerra de Rivalidades tournament: Alberto El Patron & Pentagon Jr. vs. Sam Adonis & Psycho Clown
- Guerra de Rivalidades tournament: Rush & LA Park vs. DMT Azul & Blue Demon Jr.
- Copa Triplemania
- Lucha de Apuestas cage match: Laredo Kid vs. Parka Negra vs. Black Taurus vs. Villano III Jr. vs. Octagon Jr. vs. Argenis vs. Myzteziz Jr. vs. Aerostar vs. Antifaz del Norte vs. Abismo Negro Jr.
- The final two wrestlers left in the cage match will face off a in mask vs. mask match
WWE RAW on Monday at 8pm on USA:
- Brock Lesnar is back to address Cody Rhodes
Next Wednesday on AEW Dynamite on TBS at 8pm:
- TNT Champion Powerhouse Hobbs defends against Wardlow
- Jamie Hayter & Britt Baker vs. Ruby Soho & Toni Storm
More Wrestling News
WWE has announced their next Saudi Arabia show scheduled for May, which was originally named King and Queen of the Ring, will now be called Night of Champions. Typically, every title in WWE is on the line. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are the current tag team champions. Zayn, who is of Syrian descent, has never appeared on a Saudi show, and Owens only appeared on one. It would seem they would logistically have to lose the titles before the event.
On Ring of Honor TV this past Thursday, Eddie Kingston revealed he's dealing with a hernia injury from his match at the Supercard of Honor against Claudio Castignoli.
FTR revealed they signed a new contract with AEW for four years. They teased that once the contract is up, they would retire.
Jeff Hardy made his return to AEW, appearing on camera for the first time since his DUI arrest last year. He looked to be in good shape, but many criticized how many more chances can he get:
Konnan revealed in an interview that he had Rey Mysterio reach out to El Hijo del Vikingo to warn him to tone down his style: "Not only have I told him, I had Rey Mysterio tell him. He already needs a knee operation and Rey has had 14, so I told him to talk to Rey and Rey's giving him very good advice because I want that guy to last. He's talented and he's a good kid.” Vikingo was the MVP of WrestleMania weekend.
Kazuchika Okada, who just lost the IWGP World Title, told Sports Illustrated that his goal at the moment is to win a tag team championship.
All Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling NOAH, and New Japan Pro Wrestling announced a joint show happening June 9th at Ryogoku Sumo Hall. It will air on PPV with proceeds going to charities.