Being one of the most controversial and polarizing figures in pro wrestling history, CM Punk is used to breaking the internet.
In the past few years, Punk has insisted on several occasions that he is not interested in returning to the wrestling ring. However, the former WWE Champion has finally decided to come out of retirement after seven years. Last night, he debuted on AEW Rampage.
Signing CM Punk will probably be a game-changer in AEW's competition with WWE. The 42-year-old has a huge fanbase and guarantees AEW much more exposure.
Punk's return has sent the internet into a frenzy. Nonetheless, it is nothing new for CM Punk, who has broken the internet a few times before.
Here are five times CM Punk did just that.
#5. CM Punk's AEW debut
As soon as CM Punk's theme song 'Cult of Personality' hit on AEW Rampage, the internet went crazy. The Best in the World went straight to the top of Twitter trends as hundreds of thousands started tweeting about his return. He is still trending up to this moment.
AEW's official Twitter account was also positively affected by the impact of Punk's debut. In just two hours, a video of Punk's return hit 2.3 million views. The same video now has over three million views.
Punk also received a massive ovation from the AEW fans in Chicago. Some even broke down in tears after seeing the former WWE Champion make his pro wrestling return.
According to AEW's CEO Toni Khan, Punk has signed a full-time contract with the company. The 42-year-old wrestler stated that he is in AEW to work with the passionate young stars.
Punk kicked off his AEW career by challenging Darby Allin to a match at AEW All Out next month, which will also take place in his hometown of Chicago. The Best in the World also mentioned Kenny Omega, Jungle Boy and The Young Bucks among the people he wants to work with in AEW.
Earlier this year, Punk stated in an interview with Sports Illustrated that he would only return to the squared circle if he finds a quality wrestling project:
"I don’t know. I like doing fun, quality projects. If there is a fun, quality wrestling project that gets sent my way, I will listen to it."
Do you think CM Punk made the right move by joining AEW? Sound off in the comments below!
#4. CM Punk's Pipe Bomb promo
Ten years ago, CM Punk broke the internet for probably the first time with what became known as the Pipe Bomb promo.
On June 27, 2011, Punk helped R-Truth defeat John Cena in a Tables match on Monday Night RAW. He then grabbed a microphone and headed back up the ramp, where he delivered an iconic pro wrestling promo.
Punk did not hold back and heavily criticized WWE management, including Vince McMahon and his family. The 42-year-old's WWE contract was about to expire a few days later, following the 2011 Money in the Bank pay-per-view, where he was going to face John Cena for the WWE Championship.
The Straight Edge Savior threatened to leave WWE with the title after he defeated Cena. He acted on his threats but later returned to WWE.
Punk's historic promo broke the fourth wall on several occasions and got the WWE Universe into a state of confusion. Fans were not sure if Punk's promo was real or scripted.
CM Punk's Pipe Bomb kicked off what became known as The Reality Era in WWE. It also turned him from a star into a megastar in the pro wrestling world.
#3. CM Punk broke the internet when he left WWE
Punk did not show up for Monday Night RAW or SmackDown following the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. WWE soon stopped advertising him for future events.
A few months later, Punk revealed in an interview that he was retired. On July 15, 2011, WWE moved his profile to the WWE Alumni section on the WWE official website. On the same day, the former World Champion thanked the WWE Universe in a message he posted on his Twitter account.
News of Punk leaving WWE broke the internet. Tens of thousands of fans took to social media to voice their opinions.
Despite the way CM Punk left WWE, he remains one of the most accomplished superstars in the company's history. During his eight-year run on the WWE main roster, Punk won many championships. He is a three-time World Heavyweight Champion and a two-time WWE Champion. The 42-year-old is also a former ECW Champion, World Tag Team Champion and Intercontinental Champion.
#2. CM Punk's interview with Colt Cabana broke the internet
In late 2014, CM Punk appeared on Colt Cabana's Podcast 'The Art of Wrestling' to practice his favorite hobby, breaking the internet. Punk's interview with Cabana was explosive. For the first time, The 42-year-old wrestler broke his silence to speak about his WWE departure:
"I don't want this to be a shoot interview. I'm sure somebody would have paid me handsomely for this story but that's not what it's about. Money is not everything, ladies and gentlemen. That will be a big theme in my story. So I'm going to talk as openly as I wish to about the circumstances of me leaving WWE," Punk said before telling his story.
Punk's introduction was followed by heavy criticism of WWE, WWE management and Vince McMahon himself. Just like in the Pipe Bomb promo, Punk did not hold back.
The current AEW star insisted that he was fired from WWE and did not quit. Punk also admitted that he failed to fulfill some of his goals in wrestling:
"Well, there's tons of people that are going to say it and I say it probably 85-percent of the time: I failed at wrestling. I failed at my goal of the main event of WrestleMania. Even though I've come to terms with it and I look back on it like that f****** match with 'Taker was better than anything on the show," Punk said.
CM Punk's fiery interview with Cabana drew unbelievable traffic. It led the show's server to crash and necessitated a move to SoundCloud.
#1. CM Punk's debut on WWE Backstage
In 2019, CM Punk returned to WWE TV for the first time in nearly five years. He made his debut on Fox Sports' weekly studio show WWE Backstage.
WWE Backstage was a studio show that aired live every Tuesday night on FS1. The show was hosted by Renee Paquette and WWE Hall of Famer Booker T. On the November 12, 2019 episode, Punk made a surprise appearance. The 42-year-old became a special contributor and analyst on the show after signing a contract with Fox.
Punk's WWE Backstage debut took the internet by storm. His debut video on WWE on Fox's official Twitter account received over 3.7 million views. However, the former superstar's return to WWE TV was cut short after Fox suspended the show in June 2020.
Punk recently revealed that joining the weekly WWE show got him hooked on wrestling again. During last night's AEW Rampage post-show media scrum, the newest AEW star stated that his return to wrestling is Paquette's "fault."
Paquette was the one who encouraged him to join WWE Backstage. A few months ago, she openly expressed her desire to see The Best in the World return to pro wrestling. The former WWE presenter finally had her wish fulfilled as CM Punk joined AEW.