Though he hasn’t wrestled a match since late August and may not even be technically allowed to wrestle for another promotion moving forward, as he may or may not have a non-compete contract with AEW that runs through November, there’s still one question that stubbornly remains in the front of fans minds around the professional wrestling world: What’s next for CM Punk?
Will he go to TNA, a suggestion that the promotion soon-to-be formerly known as Impact appears to be all for moving forward? Or maybe he’ll sidestep wrestling entirely to try something new, be that comic books, podcasting, Chicago Blackhawks super fandom, or even more expansive acting opportunities like playing Mike Ness in a Social Distortion biopic?
… or will he just go back to WWE, a suggestion that ranges from “is definitely happening” to “is off the table,” depending on who you ask? Fortunately, the fine folks over at 670 The Score decided to do the professional wrestling gods’ work and as the “Best in the World” if he plans to show up at Survivor Series in November, to which he had a very entertaining response.
“They’re asking if I’m going to be there?” CM Punk asked via Fightful. “I think it’s sold out. I think tickets are hard to get.”
Setting the jokes aside, Punk explained that, at this point in his career, he simply isn’t this gungho upstart looking to jump on indie shows and prove that he’s the man like, say, Ronda Rousey – crazy, right? – but instead, he is enjoying his time at home with his wife and dog.
“I don’t want to burst anybody’s bubble. I’m kind of just sitting at home and enjoying this beautiful Chicago weather,” Punk noted. “I have an injury in the family. My dog [Larry] blew his dog ACL. I’m literally just spending my time with him. I know that sounds crazy, but he is my son, and I take care of him and treat him as such. Everything has kind of stopped. I’m fortunate to take time off from everything. I’ve canceled things I have coming up. Traveling is hard. It’s tough to leave him here with my wife April [AJ Lee]. If there are two of us here taking care of him, it’s easier.”
Now granted, to appear at Survivor Series, which reportedly won’t be featuring Roman Reigns, Punk wouldn’t have to travel far, as the show is booked at his hometown arena, but once that magic moment occurred, he’d be forced to leave home eventually, be that to wrestle on RAW or SmackDown as one of the new faces at the top of WWE’s pecking order. If that sort of schedule isn’t in the card for Punk at this stage of the game, then WWE probably isn’t for him anymore… assuming the option was ever on the table.
CM Punk reveals why there may never be a pro wrestling union.
Elsewhere in his conversation with 670 The Score, CM Punk discussed the current actors’ strike and whether or not professional wrestling could eventually see a similar move to bargain together collectively for better wages and benefits.
While Punk would be happy to see that day eventually come, he fears that there just isn’t the solidarity needed to make it happens, as wrestling is very much a tale of the haves and the have-nots.
“For professional wrestling, yeah, wrestlers should 100% have a union. I’ll always say this, and I mean it in the most loving way; wrestlers will never unionize because wrestlers are stupid and selfish. That’s just the way it is. There is always going to be somebody else around the corner that wants what you have or possibly doesn’t want you to have what you have, and they will do whatever the promoter wants you to do for less money. That’s unfortunate. The boys never stick together,” CM Punk said via Fightful.
“I think it’s a lack of places to work. It’s really a wage gap disparity, it’s a class war. When your boss is a billionaire, and you don’t want to rock the boat – this isn’t in wrestling, this applies to anything. More often than not, people will want to keep their heads down, not get in trouble, and just go about their day. For better or worse, people have mouths to feed. There are people with kids, families, taking care of other people, and they can’t afford to lose their job. Fortunately, for me, I’ve never been that guy. I’m always like, ‘I don’t need the money. This is wrong, and I get to tell people it’s wrong.’ I don’t think the platform I have is worth anything if I don’t speak from the heart about issues that I feel are important.”
So what would it take for wrestlers to actually unionize? Well, in Punk’s opinion, it simply comes down to sticking together, as that solidarity is what really makes the workers powerful.
“I have researched. Probably not as extensively as I should if I was going to act on this,” Punk said. “I’m just me. There is strength in numbers. If it were to ever happen, just like it happened any other time people have risen up and created a union or strived for better working conditions for workers, it has to be a group of people. People have to stick together, and wrestlers are just never going to stick together. It’s sad.”
Will the day eventually come when professional wrestlers unionize and get what they deserve, like health insurance and actual employment agreements instead of being independent contractors? Maybe, maybe not; but for that to happen, someone of Punk’s status would have to play an instrumental part in leading the charge.