How Twitter Brought CM Punk Back to Pro Wrestling (No, It Wasn’t Your Tweets)

AEW’s “youthful exuberance,” Khan Family money, and no “s—ty corporate situation” probably didn’t hurt either

CM Punk
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First, AEW owner Tony Khan told us how he got CM Punk to finally return to professional wrestling, then Punk (real name Phil Brooks) gave us a pretty thoughtful reason for his comeback timing. With no limit to publishing space on the internet — or to wrestlings fans’ interest in CM Punk — we wanted more.

Give us more, Phil.

Like, what’s your side of this Tony Khan story, the one about Brooks keeping a close eye on the upstart All Elite Wrestling, which is the WWE legend’s new home.

“I would watch, not every show, but I would watch when I could,” Brooks told us. “I would definitely, at first, just watch people that I knew or heard about.”

But then, a social-media miracle happened.

“Online, I think Twitter helps a lot because you can read and get a sense of what is good and what is not and you can watch clips, and you can get a fundamental grasp of what to spend your time watching and stuff like that,” Brooks said. “And I saw some stuff where I was like, ‘Well, they need help with this.’ And I saw some other stuff where I was like, ‘Man, this is great.’”

“The best thing they had was a youthful exuberance,” he said of the start-up pro-wrestling company.

That wasn’t how the business was when Brooks, who referred to WWE during our conversation as a “s—ty corporate situation,” came up.

“I came up and I was surrounded by old-timers who did nothing but criticize. Always criticized. They had their way of doing things and they said it was the right way,” he recalled. “I’m more like, I don’t think there’s one right way to do anything and I’m not gonna try to crucify anybody that is actually trying hard to do something. I can give them input and advice and if they want to listen to me, awesome — but you don’t gotta live or die by it.”

Punk is reveling in his current promotion (“I work for a great company”) and to-each-their-own situation.

“I really do look at professional wrestling like it’s art,” Brooks said. “I could go to the Chicago Art Institute and I can see a weird pencil drawing in the Modern Art section that looks like a 5-year-old did it and I don’t get it. But you know what, somebody does.”

“I’m 42– I don’t know what the f—‘s cool anymore,” he continued. “A lot of the stuff is not for me, so why am I gonna sit here and pull out a pitchfork and torch for something that there’s kids that think it’s cool and enjoy it. So let them enjoy it.”

Punk takes on Daniel Garcia, a 23-year-old kid, tonight at 10 p.m. on TNT’s “AEW: Rampage.”