CM Punk had to step down as world champion in AEW just days after winning it.
An emotional, red-eyed Punk announced on All Elite Wrestling Friday night that he is injured and will have to give up the title he won on Sunday at Double or Nothing pay-per-view. A temporary Forbidden Door champion will be crowned pay-per-view on June 26. Battle Royale ‘AEW Dynamite’ opens next week and will face winner Jon Moxley in the main event to earn a place in the match in the Forbidden door against another contender.
“The bad news is I’m injured and need surgery,” Bank said. “Two things are broken, the biggest thing is my heart because I love performing in front of all of you and I wanted to go one round.”
Punk, 43, just won the championship – his first world title since 2013 – by defeating “Hangman” Adam Page at Double or Nothing in Las Vegas. He was scheduled to face New Japan Pro Wrestling star Hiroshi Tanahashi for the AEW Championship at their first corporate show, “Forbidden Door”, at the United Center in his hometown of Chicago. But Punk sees the injury as a setback from which he will come back. Punk said he was ready to give up the title, but AEW President Tony Kahn didn’t want him.
“I told you I’m going until the wheels fall off. Still the wheels out there haven’t fallen yet,” Punk said. “It’s just that one of them broke. I felt better than I did today. But I’m here to tell you that I also felt a hell of a lot worse. This is a bump in the road. This painful. It hurts as hell. I want to fight for you now.”
In his debut as champion earlier this week on Dynamite, Punk was seen limping after his team’s FTR match against Max Caster and Gunn Club and later when he came out to face MJF in a fan video after cameras stopped rolling. Fightful reported that Punk was dealing with a foot injury.
Punk returned to professional wrestling after a seven-year absence when he made his AEW debut last August. This was supposed to be his third “Summer of Punk” career with him as champion to give AEW the best chance to raise his profile and reach a new audience against Punk’s star background. This will not happen now.
“The last thing I wanted to feel was that I left any of you frustrated,” Punk said. “The last thing I wanted to do was leave you disappointed, so I hope so far I haven’t made you feel this way. I loved every second of this ring. Every time I’m in this ring in front of you all is a gift I never thought of I will test it again.”
He tweeted at 8:15 p.m. Friday that he would be on Rampage with an important announcement regarding his AEW World Championship and asking people to tune in, which immediately sparked injury fears that proved true. Punk said he didn’t want to lift AEW with a long list of people who could be champions. He mentioned Brian Danielson and Moxley. Punk vows to return to regain his place at the top once again.
“The return would be greater than the setback,” Bank said. “I am a champion for a reason and I will show you exactly why. I will be back bigger, faster, stronger and hungrier than ever before, and fortunately, I have proven why I am the best in the world!”
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