A new set of rumors swirling around the bowl of the wrestling blogosphere claim that fan-favorite anti-establishment totems Daniel Bryan and CM Punk have both or will both sign with AEW. But are those rumors true, or wishful thinking? Greetings, comrades! It is I, your El Presidente, here to break down this hot goss.
Fightful Select reported on Wednesday that CM Punk is in negotiations for a return to the ring, claiming their sources indicate AEW is the likely place where Punk will end up. On Thursday, they also reported that Ring of Honor reached out to Punk in 2020. Punk last wrestled for WWE in 2014 before trying (and failing) at an MMA career. He's since done some indy appearances under a mask and worked as a commentator for Fox's WWE Backstage.
Daniel Bryan, who last wrestled for WWE between WrestleMania and WrestleMania Backlash, has been sitting at home since his contract expired, but despite WWE taking an all hands on deck attitude toward their return to live touring, PWInsider reported on Tuesday that there has been no discussion of Bryan returning to WWE within the company, and no moves to set up future merchandising plans for Bryan, with Mike Johnson hinting that Bryan could be headed to AEW as well. In the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer reported that Bryan's desire to wrestle in New Japan Pro Wrestling would factor into his decision of who to sign with. AEW currently has a working relationship with NJPW.
It's worth keeping in mind that none of these high-profile rumormongers have committed to a full-on report that Comrade Punk or Comrade Bryan have actually signed a contract, keeping open options that either could sign with WWE, with someone else, or no one at all. They've got all the bases covered, comrades. It's also worth reading between the lines o the reports, which seem to indicate both rumors stem from sources inside WWE, not AEW. It would be in WWE's interest to spread those rumors if there was the slightest chance either man could show up in AEW, as the rumors could either spoil the surprise or leave fans disappointed if it doesn't materialize. That's dirty warfare, comrades, a trick even the American CIA would be impressed by.
That said, it does make logical sense for Bryan to sign with AEW, which is why some ambitious lesser dirt sheet reporters and chicken websites have taken the plunge in claiming to have heard from a source that a deal is official. It's a safe bet, you look good if you're right, and no one will remember if you're wrong. There's no reward without risk in the wrestling gossip business, comrades. Haw haw haw haw!
If Bryan has or does sign with AEW, the general consensus is he'll debut at the show at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, which will be AEW's largest show to date and for which local advertisements are reportedly teasing mystery appearances. For Punk, the consensus is that All Out in Chicago would be a good place for Punk to debut, though rumors claim that will happen pretty much every time AEW has a show in Chicago.
The ultimate screwjob would be for AEW to not sign either of them, and instead use the money to sign Brock Lesnar. You know what, comrades, your El Presidente is going to plant his flag in that rumor. If Brock Lesnar shows up in AEW, remember, you heard it here first. If he doesn't… well, amigos, plans can change.
Until next time, my friends: socialism or death.