I am sure it will be easy for some to say, "Punk got that pop because it's his hometown," but do any of the other AEW guys gets pops like that in their respective hometowns? Nope.I just re-watched Punk's promo. Who in AEW right now can talk like that? Can get a building rocking like that?
Maybe MJF. Maybe.
Fact is, AEW needs Punk a heck of a lot more than Punk needs them. You can throw out names like Page, Bucks, Omega, Jericho, Moxley, Cassidy but are they really 'stars'? I know they can wrestle and put up decent matches, but how many people besides that 10% of 'smart' super fans really care about them and come out just to see them? Not too many judging by the Wednesday night ratings.
Maybe it was ring rust, but you can tell he grimaced a bit when he got up at the end of the match tonight (made me think his knees ached when rising to his feet). He is older and has had injury issues since returning, so AEW would be smart to not play the long game with him and get what you can out of him in the short term and just be happy for however he stays healthy.