wrestling / Columns

411 Fact or Fiction Wrestling: Will CM Punk Return to Wrestling in 2019?

January 6, 2019 | Posted by Larry Csonka
CM Punk’s CM Punk WWE - Batista CM Punk’s Booker

Welcome back to 411 Fact or Fiction, Wrestling Edition! Stuff happened, people loved/hated it and let everyone else know. I pick through the interesting/not so interesting tidbits and then make 411 staff members discuss them for your pleasure. Battling this week are 411’s Jake Chambers & Justin Watry.

  • Questions were sent out Tuesday.
  • Participants were told to expect wrestling-related content, as well as possible statements on quantum physics, homemade pharmaceuticals, the Turtle Total Trip Theorem, pizza and hydroponics.

    1. CM Punk will return to wrestling in 2019.

    Justin Watry: FACT – I did not predict a CM Punk return in 2014, 2015, 2016, or 2017. In 2018 however, I did say he would do *something* within the industry. I was right; he did an autograph signing right outside the ALL IN weekend event. Wasn’t officially connected but was clearly piggy banking. In 2019, I am predicting the same. Punk will do *something* within the industry. I’m not saying WWE or WrestleMania 35 or anything massive…but yeah, it’s been five years. He is not doing anything else. Come back, cash in on a few big paydays and then start a family.

    Jake Chambers: FACT – I’m going to say FACT because everybody eventually returns. I think Stone Cold and Edge will still wrestle again, so Punk in 2019 is hardly outrageous. And I’ll tell you this too, I’m not “all in” on the rewriting of history on Punk, dude was awesome in the ring, an incredible promo, and a kick-ass character. And you can’t call Punk boring, like you can most of the WWE today. So hell, I’ll do more than THINK Punk will return to the ring, I’ll BEG him to! In our current salty, sparkly, corporate era of pro-wrestling, I’d love to see a true counter-culture asshole come into a big money company and just fuck up all their nice little plans.

    2. WWE dropping automatic rematch clauses is a great idea.

    Justin Watry: FACT – Well, we are set for Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman and AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan at the 2019 Royal Rumble. Not a good start to the no rematch clause idea. In theory, I love it. New and fresh matchup every month. Reminds me of the 2002 pay-per-view main events. Seriously, look at those different matches. Every month was a fresh start. In some cases, I understand instant rematches. In this day and age, screw it! Not like logic really matters anyways.

    Jake Chambers: FICTION – C’mon, this isn’t really a thing. This is the WWE, everything is scripted, that was not a “rule”. WWE can say one thing and do another, because they’re running a fictional narrative. For instance, even though they announced “no automatic rematches” we’re still getting a Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles WWE Title match for the FOURTH time at the Royal Rumble. All they had to do was just set up a #1 contender match; easy. Since they basically did this with Styles in 2018 versus both Nakamura and Joe, what’s changed exactly? To arbitrarily just say “no more rematches” doesn’t guarantee that Tye Dillinger is somehow getting a title match in a PPV main event. WWE gonna book what they wanna book.

    3. Who is your favorite to won the Women’s Royal Rumble?

    Justin Watry: Becky Lynch – I am all for Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey main eventing WM35 in April. Adding Charlotte Flair to the mix, eh. Not s terrible idea but not what I’d do. In order to get to the promise land, Becky pretty much HAS to win the Rumble. Unless we get funky brand things in February or March, the story writes itself. Rousey dominates to Mania…and awaiting her is THE Man. The 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble winner.

    Jake Chambers: Bayley – It’s hard to really guess what WWE is ever thinking, but I’m predicting the Women’s Royal Rumble won’t be given the same weight as it was last year. If we’re looking for patterns, this is something WWE tends to do with new things, they start out hyped and over-promote it, and then it slowly fades away (think multiple brand splits, brand merges). Therefore, I don’t think the winner this year will be involved in the marquee women’s match at Wrestlemania, and will rather challenge for the second tier women’s title, like when Sheamus or Alberto Del Rio won and WWE had bigger plans for their main event. The Rousey/Charlotte/Lynch rivalry can easily play out without one of them having to win the Royal Rumble. So then who better than Bayley to jump shows and illogically challenge for Asuka’s Smackdown Title? I mean, she did get a “You Deserve It Chant” before she even wrestled one match on RAW, and we know crowds don’t just randomly chant that at anybody. The promise of Bayley has yet to be fulfilled, and I even called her to win this last year because I thought they were finally going to pull the trigger on making her into a better version of AJ Lee. So I’m just gonna try that again this year. Seriously, why not Bayley?

    4. Who is your favorite to won the Men’s Royal Rumble?

    Justin Watry: Seth Rollins – In a perfect world, Roman Reigns returns to win the Rumble and gets an epic standing ovation. This isn’t a perfect world sadly, and the next best thing is fellow Shield member Seth Rollins. He is ultra popular, can flat out go in the ring and most importantly he has been teasing a showdown with Brock for awhile now. No longer the IC Champion, there is nobody in a better position right now to challenge for the Universal Title than Rollins. Burn it down baby!

    Jake Chambers: Surprise – WWE is just nine months away from going live on a national TV network in (kind of) prime time, and they’ve got to do something to shake the headlines about their poor ratings and weak content. So I’m thinking they’re gonna be looking for a big ratings-grabbing surprise. We’ve seen them do it before around this time of year with Lawrence Taylor, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather and Ronda Rousey. I’m not sure there’s a wrestler out there who anyone in the mainstream cares about that could fill the returning legend role like a Batista, Triple H, Cena or Sting have before. I’m sure they’d love for it to be The Rock, but that seems far-fetched these days given his penchant to never turn down a script. So I don’t know if it’s Daniel Cormier or Rob Gronkowski, or an NXT invasion, or even an AEW or NJPW invasion, maybe Kenny Omega, maybe Roman Reigns? Whoever it is, I don’t think the winner is going to be a surprise entrant who wasn’t announced in advance.

    5. What is your excitement level for All Elite Wrestling?

    Justin Watry: 9 out of 10 – Believe it or not, I am fairly excited for AEW starting up, and I did not say this about any other promotion. Didn’t care about MLW, Impact, Ring Of Honor, Lucha Underground or even the mysterious Florida promotion that never existed. This feels different though. I say this as a guy who has seen zero matches featuring The Young Bucks in the past couple of years nor gave two hoots about Cody Rhodes wrestling on the independent scene after leaving WWE. Thus, take this opinion as more than your standard internet junkie amped up over AEW and all the darlings taking on the evil Vince McMahon. I’m putting my excitement level at a 9 out of 10. More will be known publicly in due time but right now, I am absolutely intrigued.

    Jake Chambers: 5 out of 10 – This is a tough one based on the fact that currently there’s no roster or information about what they’re going to be doing regularly; the promotion is just basically a brand name with a couple of “mega-indie” stars attached. I’m more excited about the return of WOW to be honest, because at least I have some frame of reference for what that will be like. For AEW there’s two things we can look to: Being the Elite on YouTube and ALL IN, and there’s some interesting prospects I guess to be found in both. Being the Elite is a little too cheesy and cutesy for me, but I can see the appeal as something different from the presentation of mainstream wrestling programming. How does that translate into a bigger budgeted, television series (if that’s even what they’re doing) and NOT end up looking like the Broken-verse? Not sure, but I’m curious to see. ALL IN was an okay show, but I don’t think it was that different from most big time “mega-indie” PPVs we see from ROH, IMPACT or NJPW. And those companies all have established talent, many of which ALL IN could use but we’re assuming AEW won’t. Opportunities for new wrestlers to do new stuff is cool though. So ultimately I’m not even sure what there is to be excited OR not excited about. The reason I’m giving it a 5 then is purely on the shoulders of Cody Rhodes. His track record since leaving the WWE has been clearly impressive, from touring the indies with a lite version of his WWE persona, to re-shaping himself into a shit-disturbing, stylin’ and profilin’, main event-er. The guy has charisma and has been able to motivate and inspire those around him, which I think is worth something in regards to the mystery of AEW. Let’s not forget, he’s the son of Dusty Rhodes and the brother of Goldust, so being brilliantly creative is kind of in his blood. Right now I’m about 50/50 on thinking Cody isn’t going to produce something that looks like everything else, which I’ll like, or he’ll just end up making ALL IN – The Series, which I think will underwhelming.