AEW: The Return of Punk & WWE:SummerSlam Weekend

This weekend marks the beginning of a massive weekend in professional wrestling. WWE is hosting the party of the summer in Las Vegas, where they take over Allegiant Stadium at Summer Slam 2021, NXT Takeover 36 features a match 3 years in the making between Kyle O’Reilly vs Adam Cole, and tonight on AEW Rampage we could see the return of CM Punk. In this article, I want to examine WWE and AEW to showcase how both companies have evolved past the covid era of wrestling, and how both companies are showcasing their rosters in new and exciting ways. This is the State of Pro Wrestling presented by Boss Rush Entertainment.

The Return of CM Punk

Wrestling fans have awaited the return of CM Punk for over 7 years; Punk was last seen in the squared circle back in February of 2014 at the Royal Rumble. Look back at any WWE event since 2014 (seriously watch any Smackdown, Raw, or Pay-Per-View available on Peacock) and you will inevitably hear the crowd chant “CM PUNK, CM PUNK, CM PUNK”. Punk is arguably the biggest draw in pro wrestling over the last decade, and yet he hasn’t wrestled in over 7 years. 

All Elite Wrestling has teased the return of Punk over the last few weeks when they announced that their newest weekly episodic show Rampage would be live from Chicago (CM Punk’s hometown) on Friday, August 20th. After AEW announced Rampage’s debut in Chicago they cut to a rising superstar Darby Allin who had this to say in a promo…

CM Punk’s return will be the single loudest “pop” (when the crowd goes absolutely nuts) in pro wrestling this year. Punk stands for defiance of authority, he stands as a beacon of hope against leaders like Vince McMahon, and he is the best in the world. Punk joining AEW leads to several possible feuds to entice fans such as matches with Kenny Omega (current AEW Champion), Jon Moxley (Punk has a history with Moxley from their time in WWE), and of course Darby Allin. I am so excited to see if Punk’s music hits and we finally witness the return of voice of the voiceless, the leader of the straight edge society, and the best in the world CM Punk.

Summer Slam 2021

Allegiant Stadium is the home of WWE Summer Slam 2021; Summer Slam is the first of the “big 4” pay-per-views for WWE as they start a new season in their calendar year. This year Summer Slam features a main event worthy of Wrestlemania, as the tribal chief Roman Reigns will defend the Universal Championship against one of the greatest wrestlers of all time — John Cena. Cena and Reigns first fought each other back at No Mercy in 2017, and while the match itself was great the build led a lot of fans to wonder if Roman Reigns would truly become a “John Cena” like figure in WWE. Fast forward to Summer Slam 2020 where Reigns would make his return from cancer treatment and capture the WWE Championship from The Fiend. 

Since his return, Roman Reigns has shown a new character within his promos as he has been teamed with WWE legend Paul Heyman and his real-life cousins The Usos. Roman is the biggest star in WWE as he has beaten everyone who has stood in his path (he hasn’t lost a singles match by pin fall in over 2 years) and made even legends like Edge think twice before crossing the head of the table. At Money in the Bank 2021 Roman defeated the Rated R Superstar Edge and after the match, the 16 times WWE Champion John Cena made his grand return to the WWE. 

Reigns vs Cena will main event Summer Slam but there is plenty of other great matches on the card; The Boss Sasha Banks will look to retake the Smackdown Women’s title as she faces Bianca Belair. Bianca and Sasha put on a historic match at Wrestlemania when they were featured as the main event of night one. Banks is back after taking time off over the summer and she fills a big gap left by the injury of Bayley. Banks vs Belair is sure to be a can’t miss match at Summer Slam. 

Goldberg has returned, and he will compete for the WWE Championship in a match vs Bobby Lashley. The Raw Tag Team Championship will be up for grabs when current champions AJ Style and Omos face off against RKBro (Randy Orton and Riddle), Nikki A.S.H. will defend her Raw Women’s Championship against Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair, plus a match 7 years in the making as Seth Rollins will finally get his hands on Edge. Summer Slam is sure to be the party of the summer Saturday in Las Vegas. 

NXT Takeover 36

NXT Takeover hits the Capital Wrestling Center this Sunday and features a pair of matches that are bound to have huge implications on the future of NXT. Adam Cole shocked the system last year when he super kicked Kyle O’Reilly thus breaking up the Undisputed Era. 

The Undisputed Era was the most dominant faction in NXT history until Cole betrayed the group, and set off on a singles run. Kyle O’Reilly has become a star in his own right since UE broke up, and each time he clashes with Adam Cole, it puts another historic match on his resume. Sunday Cole will face O’Reilly in a “Best 2 out of 3 Falls”; the first match is a regular pinfall match, the second is a street fight, and should a third match be needed it will be a steel cage match. Rumors have circulated that Adam Cole’s contract expires late next week and he has yet to publicly announce if he has signed a new WWE contract if this is the last time we see Cole in WWE it will be an incredible match. 

Karrion Kross has been a force to be reckoned with since his arrival on NXT, and this Sunday he faces off against an NXT Legend is Samoa Joe. Joe returned to NXT after spending more than a year at the commentator’s table for Monday Night Raw. Joe has struggled with health issues on and off for the last two years, but Sunday he makes his in-ring return against the current NXT Champion. 

Kross on the other hand, has been inching towards a call-up to the main roster, as he debuted a few weeks ago on Raw in a match against Jeff Hardy. Kross vs Joe has the potential to be a match of the year candidate, and I can’t wait to see this match unfold at Takeover 36. 

Thanks for reading this article from Boss Rush Entertainment, be sure to check out Rope Talk: Summer Slam Edition tomorrow on Spotify!

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