Nearly six years after his departure from the company, CM Punk returned to the WWE programming when he appeared on “WWE Backstage”, a talk show on FOX Network hosted by announcer Renee Young.
Punk left the WWE after the 2014 Royal Rumble citing creative differences and frustration and despite repeated clamours of a return, the Straight Edge Superstar stayed away from professional wrestling. But earlier this year, rumours of his return began surfacing when he auditioned for the show which Young and former wrestler Booker T host.
And on Wednesday, the wait ended when Young announced the newest member of the panel, followed by Punk’s music “Cult of Personality”. He joined Booker T, the injured Samoa Joe, Drake Maverick and Paige. “It’s a simple as this. Just when they think they got the answer, I change the culture. I’ll see you here next week,” Punk said looking at the camera.
Punk had a hot run for the WWE for eight years – his best being between 2012 and 2013 when he held the WWE Championship for 434 days, the sixth-longest in history. In December of 2014, Punk announced that he’d signed a multi-fight contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), competing in the welterweight division.
However, if and when Punk returns to the ring to wrestle is a status still in the air. Usually, a wrestler’s return to the WWE in any capacity eventually leads to an in-ring return, but considering Punk’s history with the company, the possibility of him putting on his wrestling gear is uncertain. Soon after departing from the WWE, Punk mentioned how on his wedding day, the WWE informed him of his firing which left a bitter taste in his mouth. The same year, Punk even filed a lawsuit against the WWE fir using his character in the video game WWE 2K15.
That said, over the years, WWE has been able to mend ways with talent. The likes of Hulk Hogan, late great Ultimate Warrior, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg had complained of frustrations – some even switched promotions – but eventually returned to WWE programming.
What also gives hope to Punk’s return is the fact that Triple H, the executive Vice-President of talent and a 14-time world champion, is open to the idea of his return.
“As far as, for us, one of the things this company has shown is ‘never say never.’ If the opportunity is right for everybody and it’s right for our fans, then we are willing to put the past behind us and move forward. I would say never say never, but that’s also probably a long way from coming true. That’s a little bit outside my purview,” he had said last month.