Paul Heyman deep dives into CM Punk’s return to wrestling.
This past August, after being away from pro wrestling for seven years, CM Punk made his return and fast forward to present day, he is currently involved in an on-screen program with MJF that continued to unfold on the 1/26 AEW Dynamite.
Dating back to Punk’s start in WWE, it has been documented on multiple fronts that Paul Heyman was always a supporter of his and advocated for him behind the scenes. Heyman was a part of Punk’s 434-day reign as WWE Champion as well. He opened up about Punk’s return to wrestling during an appearance on ‘The Masked Man Show’.
Heyman touched on the reaction Punk received in August and what he’s doing currently, but Heyman is mainly interested in seeing where Punk takes his on-screen character in the coming years. He said this is still the honeymoon phase of the return run and the future is when Punk will have the chance to define himself as a transformative talent.
I don’t know if what he’s doing now is where he should be judged. I think what will be interesting is what happens when the novelty that he’s back wears off, both for the audience and for him. I’m sure for him, this is still like, ‘… I can’t believe I’m back. Wow, I’m about to walk into an arena. Holy –’ you know? I think it’s still very fresh for him. What happens a year from now? How’s he going to feel? How will the audience look at him and accept him in a year? If he can continue to drive himself to being a progressive, compelling, riveting character on the cutting edge that presents himself in a different manner than anybody else can present himself, herself, than he’s going to be fascinating character to watch and if he can’t, then he’s going to be someone that came back, rode a wave of nostalgia but didn’t progress into the future when he as a rebel was always looking forward in the business and never trying to live off what the business had already accomplished or what he had already accomplished in the business. So the fascinating thing for me to watch is his mindset, is his vision for that character, for that persona, for himself as a performer a year from now. We’re still in the honeymoon period. Well where do you wanna take this guy? Where does Phil Brooks want to take CM Punk? It’s the same thing, it’s the same conversation I had with Roman Reigns before we debuted in public together. It’s, again, it was taking ‘The Big Dog’ and moving him into the role of ‘The Tribal Chief.’ Everything that you’ve done only leads up to now. That was just the appetizer and now you’re going to be the main course.
I told Roman, I said, ‘You’ve had four WrestleMania main events and you have to look at that as just the audition to be The Tribal Chief. It’s just the lead up to it, because everything that you’ve done before now is just the lead up to the moment you emerge as The Tribal Chief. This is where your legacy gets crafted. This is your Hall of Fame run. This is what you will be remembered for and everything before was just getting you here, including four WrestleMania main events.’ For Phil Brooks, that’s the same thing. Everything that he accomplished and he accomplished a lot, he overcompensated in his life from the moment he broke into this industry and everything for him that led up ‘till a year from now including his return and the enormous reaction to his return is just the lead up. Where does he take the CM Punk character in 2023, 2024, 2025 and can he make that character so progressive, so revolutionary, so evolutionary, so riveting, so compelling, so different and unique than anybody that’s out there that he truly defines himself as a transformative figure, a true disruptor in the professional wrestling/sports-entertainment game? That’s the interesting part to me. What he’s doing now, no matter how hard he’s working, he’s just riding that wave of momentum. Momentum ultimately stops and then you have to create a next wave of momentum or you have to create a completely different level of interest based on how far that momentum pushed you in front of the audience and into their hearts and their souls and their spirits and their consciousness. That’s the interesting part for me to watch. We’re still a year away from it.
At the Royal Rumble event on Saturday, Heyman is set to be in the corner of Brock Lesnar for his WWE Title defense against Bobby Lashley. POST Wrestling will have live coverage of the event and a POST-show recap.
If the quote in this article is used, please credit The Masked Man Show with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcription.