In the world of professional wrestling, it’s hard to capture the crowd’s attention as well as CM Punk did during his time with WWE. However, that ride came to an abrupt end in 2014 when Punk left WWE and professional wrestling for a multitude of reasons. While fans wanted to see him return back to the squared circle, it was clear that there was too much animosity for him to ever return back to WWE.
Fortunately, something has changed since then: the introduction of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) as an alternative wrestling program. Fast forward to late July 2021 and rumors began swirling about how it was all but confirmed that CM Punk had signed with AEW. After all, the company has a handful of shows coming up in the Chicago area (Punk’s hometown) over the next several weeks, creating the perfect scenario for his debut.
Whether it’s at AEW’s “First Dance” Rampage show on Aug. 20 or the All Out pay-per-view on Sept. 5, all signs point to CM Punk joining the company. If that’s the case, BetOnline is favoring Darby Allin at +100 odds to be his first opponent.
For starters, Allin is one of the most exciting, young wrestlers in North America today. His reckless style is unique and he’s someone that CM Punk has said that he’d like to work with if he ever returned to wrestling earlier this year. There’s also the fact that Allin seemingly called Punk out in a televised promo where he said he’s ready to fight anyone in Chicago, even if they think they’re the “best in the world” — which is one of Punk’s nicknames. Considering how both men are fan favourites, a match between the two would be a great way to start Punk’s AEW tenure.
CM Punk AEW First Opponent Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Friday, August 6
- Darby Allin (+100)
- Bryan Danielson (+200)
- Christian Cage (+325)
- Orange Cassidy (+600)
- Matt Hardy (+700)
- Chris Jericho (+800)
- Cody Rhodes (+800)
- Jungle Boy (+900)
- Sting (+1000)
Will Bryan Danielson Challenge Punk?
While CM Punk is expected to debut in AEW over the next month or so, he’s not the only wrestler who’s been linked with the growing organization. Bryan Danielson (formerly known as Daniel Bryan) left WWE earlier this year and has been rumored to have signed with AEW as well. Like Punk, Danielson is easily one of the top wrestling acts of the last decade or so and would be a huge boost to an already talented roster. However, is it possible that he could face Punk in both of their debut matches?
According to BetOnline, the odds of that happening are +200. Both men have already fought each other all around the world, including a feud for the WWE Championship almost 10 years ago. Even if they’re in their 40s now, CM Punk and Bryan Danielson’s chemistry could still be there and a rabid crowd would certainly eat it up. However, AEW may also hold back on that match because one of them would have to lose and that’s not a great way to start off their time in a new company. If anything, AEW may hold back on it until both wrestlers have built themselves up more and can afford the loss.
CM Punk Odds: Christian Cage Could Be an Option
At +325 odds, Christian Cage could be the one to face CM Punk in the latter’s first AEW match. If that’s the case, there’s no doubt that the match would deliver. Cage has been in the business for over 25 years and is still great in the ring even at 47 years old. With his experience and safe style, he’d be a great pick to ease Punk back into the industry after he’s been gone for seven years. The two also have experience with each other after having fought numerous times back in WWE, so it’s not like they’re strangers.
There’s also the fact that Cage can afford a big loss. AEW isn’t building the company around him, whereas Allin is still a fresh face and Danielson — a probably main eventer — shouldn’t be losing right away. While he’s there to obviously wrestle, Cage also joined AEW to help out and put over any talent that needs it. He’ll be fine if he loses to CM Punk and it won’t hurt his momentum at all.