Booker T & Ariel Helwani On The Possibility Of A CM Punk Return To Wrestling & How His UFC Run Earned Him ‘Street Cred’

CM Punk Booker T

Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Queensbury Pictures / Dark Sky Films

Booker T had a very special guest on his latest edition of The Hall of Fame with co-host Brad Gilmore in MMA writer, Ariel Helwani. The trio’s main focus of discussion was the results of last weekend’s UFC 251 on Fight Island, but the conversation did turn to wrestling when Booker brought up CM Punk’s name. Booker talked about the recent buzz of Punk’s name floating around because of his previous talks with AEW several months back and the two riffed on the idea of Punk making a return to the squared circle for a major promotion. Booker is certainly intrigued by the idea, but does think there are some uncertainties that come with a Punk return after over six years away from the ring.

“Hopefully he’ll get back in the game but me personally, I say we don’t know what CM Punk’s got left in the tank, we don’t know what the legs are like, we don’t know what the conditioning is like, we don’t know if he’s still got that drawing power so he’s definitely going to have to go back out there and perhaps get on one of these showsI don’t know if it’s ROH I don’t know if it’s go to Japan, but he’s gonna have to prove if he still has that star power in professional wrestling. Me personally, I don’t know.”

Helwani admitted he wasn’t as in-tune with wrestling as of recent due to all the MMA news breaking, but would love to see Punk return in some capacity.

“If AEW could sign him I think that could be a huge coupe and I also think he’d be a shot in the arm for the WWE audience as well,” he said before saying that he believes Punk earned everybody’s respect by taking not one, but two shots at the UFC octagon.

“I just think he is such a great talker on the mic and obviously he’s a great pro wrestler. He’s older now, but believe it or not, I actually think he got some street cred from what he did in UFC, I know it didn’t go his way, but I think that he proved – if he only fought once and lost the way he did and never came back, I think people kind of would have laughed at him, but honestly the fact that he came back two years later after how that went the first time and went through a training camp and did everything that he did and it didn’t go his way, you know, fair play to Michael Jackson. To me, I think he earned everyone’s respect. It wasn’t just a one-off, it wasn’t about just a one and done, it wasn’t a money grab, he truly wanted to be good at it and I never understood the criticism that he received because it wasn’t like he said, ‘I’m going to the UFC or nowhere.’ It was the UFC who came calling to him and offered him the big money and why wouldn’t you take that money, right? And I don’t think he took anyone’s slot. The whole CM Punk and UFC experience to me was way overblown and people got way too upset about it and I don’t think he lost any credibility doing that so I think he would be a huge coupe for any wrestling organization.”

“I would love to see him come back even if it’s for like a short run,” he added.

(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)

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