While few would argue that CM Punk’s MMA career was a rousing success, in the world of professional wrestling he proved that he still reigns supreme.
Punk returned to the business that made him a star on Sunday, wrestling in his first match since 2014 against Darby Allin at AEW’s All Out pay-per-view at NOW Arena just outside of Punk’s hometown of Chicago. The former UFC fighter worked a match that was just over 16 minutes long and he and Allin had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands from the moment they entered the arena.
Now 42, Punk wrestled a methodical style in his comeback match, using plenty of traditional pro wrestling holds to keep the match at a slow pace until later in the match when he and Allin broke out more of their signature offense. The fans roared as Punk went step-for-step with the younger AEW star while taking some of the best moves of Allin, a daredevil performer and stuntman.
The ending saw Punk victorious as he scored with this “Go 2 Sleep” finishing maneuver to set up a winning three-count pin. He then shared a moment with both Allin and pro wrestling legend Sting.
Punk later tweeted that he was pleased with his in-ring return, writing, “This s*it is fun again.”
This was Punk’s first pro wrestling match since he worked the WWE’s Royal Rumble event on Jan. 26, 2014. Following his acrimonious departure from the WWE, Punk went on to sign with the UFC where he competed twice on pay-per-view main cards, losing to Mickey Gall and Mike Jackson (the loss to Jackson was later overturned to a no contest when Jackson tested positive for marijuana). Despite not fighting since 2018, Punk’s retirement from UFC competition was not official until last year.
See more highlights from Punk’s AEW in-ring debut below: