MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – CM Punk Signs with FOX to Do WWE Backstage – What about AEW?

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The EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING is back in your face and still exclusively LordsofPain.net. You won’t see yours truly spreading himself thin across multiple website. Bookmark us, follow me on Twitter (see above), or follow @LordsofPain on Twitter and we’ll hook you up every time… Speaking of hooking up, I had zero intentions of writing any columns this week… And then, LATE Tuesday night 11/12 arrives and a video suddenly appears on social media…

CM Punk has joined the WWE Backstage show as a “FOX employee”. That’s right, he’ll be on a WWE themed show that has WWE employees as hosts and will only be discussing WWE related topics. Oh, and the WWE gave FOX their blessing to hire Punk for the job.

Thus, he’s back in the WWE folks… If CM Punk is truly a FOX employee only, then let’s hear him analyze AEW, Impact, Ring of Honor, NWA, New Japan, etc. on this WWE Backstage show. Let’s see him really appear on other wrestling shows if he is “just a FOX employee”.

So the question is this… Did CM Punk sell out?

As the great “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase once said, everybody has a price…

But I have to express some disappointment in CM Punk in his choice…

I want to preface this as one of the main voices of support for CM Punk since I returned as a columnist during 2010. I thought that his 2011 rise was one of the best things to ever happen to pro wrestling and that CM Punk was about to seriously become the “next Stone Cold”. But then immediately, I saw the look of disdain that Triple H had for Punk during their in-ring promos following SummerSlam 2011 and predicted that doom was coming. The internet, back then, thought I was crazy and I even had fellow LoP columnists bashing my so-called conspiracy theory.

The second after Triple H pinned him at WWE Night of Champions, I wrote this infamous column on 9/18/2011 titled I TOLD YOU SO – Triple H Just Buried CM Punk at Night of Champions, one of my most read columns ever. This column prompted CM Punk to actually respond to it by saying Tito may be right, he is being “buried”. Buried in money? I’ve got a snorkel.”. Just over 3 years later, he appears on Colt Cabana‘s podcast following his WWE exit earlier in the year to vindicate what I wrote as it was happening in real time.

I have written repeatedly on how the WWE screwed CM Punk repeatedly from SummerSlam 2011 through his last in-ring appearance at Royal Rumble 2014. Many, many columns… I’m a huge fan of the man and he’s probably my favorite performer of wrestlers debuting in the WWE since the mid 2000’s.

Recently, I wrote a column on 8/29/2019 titled The Importance of CM Punk to the Pro Wrestling Industry (WWE or AEW Needs Him) which one AEW announcer and senior advisor Jim Ross actually went out of his way to Tweet for everyone to read. My argument then was that the WWE lacked starpower and that AEW instantly needed a big star to make an instant impact to the wrestling industry. Punk, in my opinion, was the ultimate rebel to the wrestling industry by walking away early from a big million dollar deal and then burning all bridges on the way out. He would have been a PERFECT addition to AEW to instantly put them on the map… But Dynamite show # 1 ended with Jack Swagger…

What made CM Punk GREAT was everything outside of the ring… He was a fantastic in-ring worker, don’t get me wrong… One of the best bumpers and sellers, in my opinion… But Punk had intangibles as a personality and with his speaking voice. CM Punk just had a swagger about him that you cannot teach. It’s a cocky confidence in his abilities and character that made him captivating as a wrestler. When unscripted on the mic, CM Punk was one of the best ever in the industry. The famous “Pipe Bomb” speech from that 2011 RAW was one of the best promos ever but he was doing amazing promo work as early as Ring of Honor. No matter how many roadblocks that the WWE put in his way, his unique abilities as a personality always kept the fans engaged and forced WWE management to change how they used him.

If this FOX/WWE relationship with CM Punk is ever going to work, Triple H needs to BE A MAN and ADMIT THAT HE WAS WRONG regarding how he assessed Punk. Jim Ross recently confirmed how much HHH always badmouthed Punk on his podcast, always mocking how Punk didn’t have a jacked up physique and called him “skinny fatass” at production meetings.

I know that all of you are enamored over Triple H due to his recent work with NXT, and I agree… But look what “Uncle Triple H” is doing. He is surrounding himself in the WWE with wrestlers that he either signed or had trained/developed in NXT. They are all “yes men” to him. Two wrestlers that John Laurinaitis signed and developed in CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, that “Uncle Triple H” wasn’t there. In fact, he went out of his own way to personally bury them with Punk during 2011 and Bryan during 2013. You can give me that Wrestlemania 30 crap all that you want but it took CM Punk WALKING OUT of the WWE following Royal Rumble 2014 and fans rejecting Orton/Batista to force real change in the WWE that year. And after Wrestlemania 30, what did Daniel Bryan do again? Oh, he got into that “hot” feud with Kane…

You can keep giving me the ol’ “Triple H helped bring back the Ultimate Warrior and Bruno Sammartino” line all that you want but the FACT remains that Triple H is not nice to wrestlers that (a) he doesn’t groom or sign himself or (b) Vince protects (like Roman Reigns or John Cena).

NOBODY can deny what Triple H did to screw with CM Punk’s career during 2011. All of the evidence is just there. I still don’t know what Kevin Nash‘s role was during that year.

Because of that broken relationship with Triple H, I’m really hoping that CM Punk just as a deal with FOX and not the WWE. I don’t want to get my hopes up as a wrestling fan only to see yet another burial occur.

And I’m sorry to say this, but Triple H’s tenure as EVP of Creative, the role that he inherited from his wife during late 2013, has largely been a failure. WWE has gone from consistently being above 4 million viewers during that time for WWE Monday Night RAW to being barely above 2 million viewers. Thus, it can be easily argued that both Stephanie McMahon and Triple H have LOST around 2 million viewers each in their tenures as Creative Team leaders. Ouch… late 2000 to late 2013 for Stephanie, late 2013 to present for Triple H.

Do we REALLY believe that Triple H can FORGIVE and FORGET what CM Punk has said above him both on screen (“doofus son-in-law”, mocking his movie career) and on podcasts/interviews (taking a piss test, 2011 stuff, not wanting to wrestle him at WM 30, etc)? Triple H is easily the biggest backstage politician ever and he has a long memory. If CM Punk ever wants to return to a WWE ring, he better hope for GOOD HEALTH from Vince McMahon… Vince is Triple H’s filter from ever taking a lawnmower to talents and backstage personnel that HHH personally dislikes.

Which, again, makes it all the more baffling why CM Punk decided to take the WWE Backstage gig over joining All Elite Wrestling (AEW).

There is no Triple H in AEW…

Unless there really is…

I have heard that Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho, and the Young Bucks are friendly with CM Punk… Tony Khan is reportedly a fan of Punk. I have heard Jim Ross speak highly of him. But what about Kenny Omega? Omega has said, in the past, that a match with Punk would be a “dream match”.

CM Punk reportedly met with Tony Khan and also has been texting with several of the EVPs (Bucks and Cody, I believe). Khan did reportedly make Punk an offer, though how much has not been released. Regarding the EVPs sending him offers via text messaging, he was sort of put off that lack of professionalism for making a serious offer to join AEW. Ultimately, what could be keeping CM Punk OUT of AEW is the control that the 4 EVPs want over the company. Guys like Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley could be argued as threats to Cody, Omega, or the Bucks but I believe those wrestlers have a good deal of creative say in their characters. That and Jericho doesn’t have too many demands as a wrestler and Jon Moxley isn’t quite the big star as CM Punk.

Because CM Punk realizes his value and is someone proven not to take crap from petty management, I could imagine that Cody, Omega, and the Bucks might feel threatened by Punk. What if signing Punk to a contract means that hey’d make more than the 4 EVPs of the company? If Punk gets paid more than the 4 EVPs, then he’d have leverage over them and would have pull directly with Tony Khan. Do Cody, Omega, and the Bucks really want that?

If I were Tony Khan, I wouldn’t have cared… The Brinks truck would drive up to Punk’s house to pay not just him, but AJ Lee to help sure up that awful Women’s Division in AEW. So far from the EVPs, I’ve only been impressed by Cody Rhodes’s work. I worry that New Japan helped mask Kenny Omega’s deficiencies and the Young Bucks can take their multiple superkicks elsewhere for me.

I also wonder if Punk TRUSTS the Fab 4 EVPs of AEW… As it was suggested on one of Jim Cornette‘s recent podcasts, Omega and especially Cody & the Young Bucks really abandoned the Ring of Honor promotion in order to form AEW. After letting the wrestlers put on their own “All In” show, they repay them to ditching ROH to form their own AEW promotion. Remember, CM Punk made his name at Ring of Honor… Might he have a distrust for guys who disrespected his old stomping grounds?

For all we know, CM Punk is DONE with pro wrestling and he’s comfortable taking FOX Sports checks just to sit in a studio every once and a while. We’re heading into 6 years since we last saw CM Punk wrestle in a ring for live television. He’s still relatively young and has healed up… Maybe he wants to start a family or maybe this WWE Backstage show is just a “foot in the door” to do more things with FOX Sports?

It’s great to have CM Punk doing SOMETHING with pro wrestling again… Whether that leads to him wrestling again in the WWE, that’s left to be seen. Punk working for FOX gets him closer to the WWE and contractually prevents him from working for other promotions.

Hopefully, WWE considers adding CM Punk to the WWE Creative Team. Punk has a lot to offer and can help teach other wrestlers how to cut effective promos to get wrestlers or storylines over.

WWE’s Creative Team is depleted of people with actual wrestling experience and individuals who were good at the non-ring essentials (surprisingly, Michael PS Hayes and Road Dogg were terrible at Creative). But again, Vince McMahon and Triple H are control freaks.

I just don’t see CM Punk and Triple H ever working together successfully in any capacity after what was said and done from 2011-2014. I figure that Wrestlemania and Crown Jewel money will be taught to resist but a successful partnership between Punk and the WWE might not happen. Triple H would have admit that he was wrong in burying Punk and actually cater to a talent that personally doesn’t like. History suggests that Triple H won’t do that.

Good luck, Punk. Great to have you back in Pro Wrestling again, even if it’s for a recap show on Fox Sports 1 that less than 500,000 people will likely watch week (if that).

In my opinion, you miss your opportunity to make a bigger long-term impact on the wrestling business by NOT signing with AEW. The WWE monopoly needs a real challenge and wrestlers need options to make better paydays.

But if FOX is willing to pay CM Punk for one day of work per week at a studio show… I can’t blame him. Tell Ryan I said “hi” and to unban me from Twitter because he’s afraid to debate me like a man over wrestling topics. 😉

So just chill… Until the next episode!

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