Last night on AEW Rampage, CM Punk returned after a seven-year absence in front of a packed Chicago crowd at the United Center and delivered an all-time great memorable moment. As the crowd and viewers around the world marked out for the returning star, Punk cut pretty much the perfect return promo as the crowd delivered a reaction on par with any huge moment from wrestling's 1990s heyday. Here's what Punk had to say on his debut at AEW Rampage: The First Dance.
You guys really know how to make a kid feel like Britt Baker in Pittsburgh. I'm winging this. We're winging this. "We." That's a very important distinction. We'll get back to it. But I didn't plan on what I was going to say because I didn't know what to say, because I didn't know how I was going to feel, but I knew that I needed to feel it. I feel you, Chicago. And I hear you, Chicago.
*the crowd chants CM Punk*
That's what I've heard for seven years. I heard you. I heard you. And we got a lot to cover. There's good news and bad news. The bad news is we're not going to get to it all right here right now. But the good news is, is I've got the time. Wednesday, Friday, four Sunday or Saturdays a year. I got the time, and I ain't going anywhere.
Wait. One second. Possibly for me, the most important thing I'm going to say right now, and this is for everybody at home, this is for everybody who bought a ticket, this is for everybody in the back. If, at all through my journey, any of my personal choices or decisions related to my life made you feel disappointed or let down, let me just say… Let me just say… I understand, if you all try to understand that I was never gonna get healthy physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally, staying in the same place that got me sick in the first place.
Can I tell you guys a story? It's hot in here. Hang on one second.
*Punk removes his sweatshirt, revealing a white CM Punk shirt underneath, and sits pipe bomb style in the ring*
Can I tell you a story? You see, I felt before like I had to leave. I didn't want to, but I knew I couldn't stay, and that was when I used to work for a place called Ring of Honor. August 13th, 2005 was my last match in Ring of Honor, and I famously came out with tears in my eyes, and walking out here today, I now know why I was crying. And it was a lot of reasons. But what it boiled down to was, I had made a place where people could come work, get paid, learn their craft, and love professional wrestling. And I cried because I knew I was leaving a place that I love, and it was a home, and I knew where I was going, wasn't going to be easy for a guy like me. Because I'm one of you. So I look at it like this: August 13th, 2005, I left professional wrestling.
*Punk stands back up*
August 20th, 2021. I'm back. And I'm back for you. I'm not gonna lie, I'm back for me too, and I'm back because there's a hell of a lot of young talent that I wish I was surrounded by 10 years ago. So insane that I sit back and I say, well, hell, they're here now, so why aren't you? Here I am. I'm back, because I want to work with that young talent that had the same passion that I had stamped out. I'm back because there's a couple of scores to settle in that locker room. I'm back for the young guys.
*Darby Allin and Sting are watching from the rafters*
Darby Allin. I see you. You're good. I've seen you jump out of airplanes. I've seen you wrapped up in a body bag and chucked over the top rope. I've seen you kicked down a flight of stairs, and you always come back. Just like each and every person here in Chicago, you're tough. But I'm here to help, and you're the first on the list. I'm gonna help you because you're a daredevil and you like danger. Well, Darby Allin, there is nothing you can do that is more dangerous than wrestling CM Punk. Except wrestling CM Punk in Chicago. I will see you, and I'll see Sting, and I'll see all of you September 5th. At All Out, live onn pay per view. I'm back.
Oh, one more thing. Seven years is an awful long time to wait for somebody. I appreciate everybody here who has waited. So on your way out of the United Center tonight, grab yourself a free ice cream bar on me.
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