Recently, the wrestling world was abuzz when CM Punk made an iconic move on AEW. Having returned to AEW in June, it was Punk's much-anticipated appearance post the controversial stripping of his AEW World Championship, following the dramatic aftermath of the All Out event in September.
During his striking return on the June 17th episode of Collision, Punk created ripples when he revealed a mysterious red bag, which fans speculated held the championship title that he never technically relinquished.
Punk's Bold Championship Claim
The suspense didn’t last long.
On July 29th's Collision, Punk proudly announced himself as the "true World Champion," pulling out the title from the bag—still stained with remnants from his intense battle against Jon Moxley at All Out. In a gesture of defiance, Punk spray-painted an ‘X’ on the belt, a nod to his straight-edge way of life.
This audacious move drew comparisons to an iconic moment from wrestling's past: Hulk Hogan’s infamous spray painting of the championship belt during the nWo era. The topic came up on the most recent edition of "Kliq This" where wrestling legend Kevin Nash was probed about his take on Punk's action.
“I didn’t see it,” Nash confessed initially, “so I don’t really have a stance on it. It definitely made waves 25 years ago. In Phil's (Punk's real name) favor, I'd argue that after a quarter-century, it’s fair game”.
However, Nash’s co-host, Sean Oliver, emphasized the monumental nature of the act, likening it to the iconic scene of King Kong atop the Empire State Building. Engaging with this, Nash mused, “They’ve reimagined that, what, four times now? I genuinely don't take issue with it.
It reminds me of when Shawn [Michaels] and Razor [Ramon] had that IC belt situation. Shawn faced suspension, the title went to Scott [Hall], leading to that iconic WrestleMania 10 duel. As for Punk’s 'X'? It’s on-brand.
It's his straight-edge trademark”. CM Punk's self-proclaimed championship tenure is under scrutiny, yet he demonstrated his championship caliber by defending his title against Ricky Starks on the August 5th episode of Collision.