Even if many wrestling fans all over the world wouldn’t want anything more but for CM Punk to return to the squared circle, it appears that he’s determined to stay retired from wrestling and distance himself from the industry that first made him famous. That includes not appearing in front of the hometown crowd at the upcoming All In independent wrestling show, which will take place in the Chicago area on September 1. However, that isn’t to say that All In’s organizers, indy wrestling standouts Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks, didn’t try to invite the 39-year-old former WWE Champion to the event.
In an interview with Wrestling Inc. President Raj Giri, Rhodes touched on how CM Punk won’t be appearing at All In despite the huge demand for his return to pro wrestling. According to Rhodes, it seems that Punk is decided on focusing on mixed martial arts, where he’s had two losing efforts in the UFC thus far. He added that he and Young Bucks member Matt Jackson both talked to Punk, with the latter even making a “real offer” for his services.
“One of the reasons we didn’t first come out and say, ‘here’s who we want you to wrestle,’ because I think we just wanted him to be a part of the event for a lot of fans, he’s captured their imagination even with the amount of time he’s been gone. He has a mythical presence to them. I thought it would be good for him to connect with them, but that’s me, you know?”
— Pro Wrestling Sheet (@WrestlingSheet) August 20, 2018
Commenting further on CM Punk’s refusal to appear at All In, Cody Rhodes said that he’s fully supportive of Punk’s commitment to mixed martial arts, and that the focus of his event isn’t on “cheap pops” for returning heroes, but rather about the “present and the future” of the wrestling industry. Rhodes also put Punk over as one of the wrestlers who was nice to him when they were both working for WWE’s developmental promotion at the time, Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Although there were various reports suggesting that CM Punk would be at All In, especially since he was confirmed in May for a Chicago meet-and-greet on the day before the event, those rumors were shot down ahead of Punk’s UFC 225 fight against Mike Jackson. According to Bleacher Report, Punk told TSN‘s Aaron Bronsteter in June that he’s “done, done, done with professional wrestling,” seemingly dousing cold water on any and all rumors of a wrestling comeback.