Look in my eyes; what do you see? Speculation that CM Punk is headed back to WWE.
Ever since his termination from AEW, the rumor mill has been in overdrive regarding Punk’s next pro wrestling move. A return to WWE has always been on the table, with few taking seriously that he will leap to Impact or the NWA. Returning to the sports entertainment juggernaut, while seemingly the best choice on the surface, would likely come with some pause for the new TK Group Holdings entity. Punk notoriously took to Colt Cabana’s Art Of Wrestling podcast after his WWE release and leveled criticism against WWE Dr. Chris Amann, among other grievances. His comments resulted in a trial, which Punk and Cabana won.
Today’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that those within WWE that they have spoken with say that while no deal has been finalized, the two sides are talking. They noted that it is Punk’s intention to return, and while not confirmed, it was speculated that he could come back at Survivor Series next month in Chicago.
Shortly after Punk’s termination from AEW, Haus of Wrestling reported that WWE’s front office did not spring to life with excitement the way it did when Cody Rhodes became a free agent. However, everyone we spoke with agreed that a return would not be out of the question if good business could be done. Furthermore, those we have talked to from Punk’s came do not feel the incidents that led to his AEW release would be held against him if he wanted to return.
One possible WWE landing spot we heard rumored for Punk was NXT, which will be going head-to-head with AEW next week and outdrew Dynamite in overall viewership this week. On the media call before WWE NXT, I asked Shawn Michaels if he would welcome Punk into the NXT fold, and he gave the following comment.
“I always enjoy working with Phil,” he said. “Again, I didn’t get to do it much, but I don’t know. I’ll say this. I understood him. I think there were, whether you want to say there were similarities in us. Look, I can’t lie. He, once again, we were at TV, and he once pulled out of his wallet, right there on the spot, a little autograph that I guess I had apparently signed for him in a hotel that he still had. So, I’ve always liked him.
“And I understand he’s a different kind of cat and can sometimes be challenging to get along with people, but again, that’s probably why I like him because I suffer from the same thing. So, but still, look, obviously, that’s for people to decide, higher up on the food chain than I am. He’s a guy that does numbers and makes money. I think that would be a risk, reward ratio that I’m sure, from a company standpoint, they’d have to consider, but when it comes to, would we take him in NXT and have him on our television? Are you kidding me? Of course, I would. I just don’t think anybody would let me.”
Despite the very positive response from Michaels, we are told that Punk and the Heartbreak Kid have not been in touch, and The Second City Savior has not been brought up in regard to NXT creative. The general belief within WWE at this time is that if Punk does come back, it will be on the main roster, which Michaels seems to agree with. One WWE source told me they feel it is a “safe bet” he will be at Survivor Series.
Haus of Wrestling has partnered with Inside The Ropes to present An Afternoon With Kevin Nash And Sean Waltman on November 25 at Joe’s Live in Rosemont, IL, ten minutes from the All-State Arena. Tickets are now available at JoesLiveRosemont.com.