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Before his AEW debut, fans had been chanting for CM Punk at WWE shows ever since he walked away from the company following the 2014 Royal Rumble.
During his wrestling hiatus, Punk had always said he didn't want to return to the ring, but it appears the emergence of AEW changed his mind.
Now, in a new interview with DAZN, Punk was asked if his sabbatical from wrestling would have ended sooner if AEW had entered the wrestling landscape years ago.
"It's a great question. One I've actually thought about, but I don't think so," he said. "It happened at the right time and timing is everything.
"There's a lot of stuff that I had to heal on my own. I'm happy AEW are around now because I really don't know if I'd have gone there sooner.
"I'm not so worried about the past. I'm not so worried about the future. I'm worried about the present. That's where I'm at now," he continued.
"I'm worried about the fans in the building. If they're having a good time. If they're going to tell their friends that they had a great time and they're gonna come back next time. I want to I want to make sure they're leaving with a giant smile on their face."
Last month Punk delighted Twitter thanks to his reaction when a fan in the crowd offered him a beer during an episode of AEW Rampage.
Speaking about the funny moment earlier this month, he said: "The thing that was going through my mind in that moment was, 'Man, this guy is lucky I'm not a heel right now.'
"But it was a funny moment for me. I was just like, 'This is hilarious.' Sometimes it's not about the gift, the gesture is more important."
Catch AEW Dynamite live every Thursday at 1am in the UK and Rampage every Saturday at 3am on FITE with an AEW Plus subscription. US customers can also watch both shows on TNT, and in the UK, Dynamite repeats air on ITV4.
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