Chicago, Illinois, was charged with energy and anticipation as the iconic CM Punk made his triumphant return to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) on June 17th during the debut episode of Collision. Following an extended hiatus since AEW's All Out, Punk delivered a riveting and heartfelt monologue before his hometown crowd.
He confronted past controversies, and unapologetically took a shot at The Young Bucks. Later, the night concluded with an intense battle in which CM Punk teamed up with FTR, composed of Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler, to outwit the formidable trio of Jay White, Juice Robinson, and Samoa Joe.
As the show drew to a close, Punk and FTR didn't retreat backstage. Instead, they lingered in the ring to address their devoted fans. Harwood opened, extolling AEW as the pinnacle of professional wrestling, and elaborated on his camaraderie with CM Punk.
"In the wrestling world, AEW stands as the beacon of true passion and skill," Harwood declared, "And for those questioning my friendship with Punk, understand that we're united under the AEW banner—it's not Dynamite versus Collision, it's AEW."
CM Punk Highlights Personal Struggles
The mic was then passed to CM Punk, who began by sharing about his friend Chad, who is battling cancer.
He emphasized that his own personal difficulties paled in comparison to Chad's struggle, demonstrating his empathetic perspective. In his continued speech, CM Punk confessed his uncertainty about the crowd's response on his return, but was genuinely thankful for the affection he received.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming back, I heard the rumors that everyone despised me,” he confessed, “But the warm reception I got tonight was genuinely touching”. He didn’t end there.
CM Punk then transitioned to a special message dedicated to the LGBTQ+ youth. He expressed his endorsement of Pretty Cool Ice Cream, a company that supports trans youth, and explained why this cause resonates deeply with him.
He recounted, "A faceless critic on the internet questioned my support for the LGBTQ+ community." Punk rebuffed this criticism by shedding light on his own past experiences, when he felt alienated due to his appearance and music preferences.
He admitted, "Supporting trans kids, trans adults, gays, lesbians—everyone, in fact—resonates with me because I remember not fitting in. But I had the privilege to rectify my situation." He concluded by advocating for acceptance, tolerance, and love, leaving an indelible mark on his audience, “Support trans kids.
Support gay and lesbian rights. Everyone should feel comfortable in their skin. Just don't cause harm to others. Thank you. I love you”. A powerful message from a wrestling icon, indeed.