What a sad, dramatic mess this all turned out to be.
I always say Punk is my second-favorite ever (after that also-problematic, but in a different way, guy in my avatar) but this was exhausting.
Punk provided he still had it in him... he could still wrestle and entertain. But things went south and sour and the drama overshadowed it all over the past year.
He might've gone out with an entertaining match vs. one of his oldest rivals at one of the largest wrestling shows of all time. Leave the memories alone. Go home to your cool wife and weird dog and watch some hockey and please just relax and try to be in a better place. I thought he was when he came back two years ago... but I guess maybe not...
There has been a part of me for months that just hoped this was a work - that AEW found a way to really bring back kayfabe using social media and dirt sheets. Punk's return-Collision promo added to that hope for me. He was angry - and entitled. But that has always been Punk at his best. His "super happy to be back" mode from his initial AEW run went on way too long and was boring, and that return to form was really refreshing.
It's sad, and it puts a lot of things in perspective from his time at WWE. It doesn't make everything he ever said wrong that he turned out to be who he is - but it is a good reminder that sometimes "bad" people can be right about something. Maybe it's harsh to say Punk is a bad person, but if reports of his bullying behavior are accurate, I think it's fair to classify him as "bad" in that context.
Punk is just the old man who doesn't understand why you can't have a three martini lunch at work anymore. He's thinking "what would Harley Race do" when what Harley Race would do on any given day would get anyone fired from any job in 2023. I'm sure his behavior was correct in the context of a 1979 Mid-South wrestling card, or maybe even a 1996 ECW card, but the time for that kind of behavior is just long gone. Star power will let you get away with this for a while, but not forever.