Brock Lesnar made a stunning return to WWE at SummerSlam last night, immediately following CM Punk’s massive debut at AEW. This might not be the “Monday Night Wars” of the WCW era, but the fight is definitely on.
Lesnar and Punk are two of the biggest names in professional wrestling, but both were in the midst of long hiatuses before this weekend. Lesnar had been away from WWE for nearly two years. The last time Punk was in a professional wrestling ring was in 2014, though he always had an incredibly tumultuous relationship with WWE.
Both stars are preparing for new chapters, and they also figure to take center stage in a budding war for wrestling supremacy.
Brock Lesnar returned at WWE SummerSlam one day after CM Punk debuted on AEW
The WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view already had plenty of hype before Brock Lesnar made his stunning return.
Wrestling superstar and Hollywood mogul John Cena was making his return to the ring and bidding for a record 17th world title as he faced Universal Champion Roman Reigns in the main event. It was a tremendous back-and-forth affair, with Cena hitting a patented Attitude Adjustment from the top rope and Reigns landing numerous Superman Punches.
Cena put up a valiant effort and pushed Reigns to the limit, but Reigns emerged victorious after a vicious Spear. He celebrated over the top of Cena, but that celebration was short-lived. The Beast was back.
The Crowd erupted as Lesnar’s music came on. He marched to the ring sporting a ponytail and stared down Reigns. The two have plenty of history, with six matches and multiple title matches.
Lesnar’s WWE SummerSlam return is notable because it could reinvigorate his individual rivalry with Reigns. However, the timing was all the more significant.
CM Punk had only just made his return to professional wrestling one day prior. It was billed as one of the bigger comebacks in the sport and especially important for AEW, a company that has continued to push the boundaries of professional wrestling and challenge WWE for fans and viewership.
It hardly feels coincidental that Lesnar is back in WWE one day after Punk’s debut for AEW, especially given Punk’s history with WWE.
CM Punk took shots at WWE in his first AEW promo
CM Punk wasted little time going at his former employer in his first AEW promo.
Punk spoke about his long career arc, which even included a brief (and failed) stint in the UFC. He went on about his days at Ring of Honor in the 2000s and essentially suggested he regretted ever leaving ROH for the WWE in 2005.
“I cried because I knew I leaving a place that I love, and it was a home, and I knew where I was going. It wasn’t going to be easy for a guy like me,” Punk said. “Because I’m one of you. So I look at it like this. August 13th, 2005, I left professional wrestling. August 20, 2021, I’m back.
Punk has never been one to hold his tongue. His infamous “Pipe Bomb” promo was one of the most memorable and audacious in WWE history. The unabashed nature of that promo, in many ways, really made him into the star he is today. He is unlikely to hold his tongue whenever he has the chance to shoot on WWE.
However, WWE will not sit idly by and watch AEW try to take over the professional wrestling landscape. The company needed to answer Punk’s return, and it did so by bringing back Brock Lesnar at WWE SummerSlam.
Will Lesnar and Punk spark a new viewership war?
Brock Lesnar and CM Punk might be leading WWE and AEW into a new war of sorts.
On the one hand, it will be challenging for AEW to top the viewership of a Monday Night Raw or Friday Night Smackdown. However, AEW has already drawn more eyeballs than WWE NXT. Plus, Punk’s arrival could unlock a new segment of interested fans.
Then again, Lesnar’s comeback is sure to also give WWE a massive boost. He is a massive name and personality. One thing is for sure: the two companies figure to jostle for the attention of wrestling fans in the next several months.