Look in my eyes. What do you see? CM Punk returning to WWE. Last night, The Second City Savior shocked the pro wrestling world when he made his surprise return to WWE in the closing moments of Survivor Series. Punk’s homecoming comes shy of three months since his AEW termination, triggered by a backstage altercation with Jack Perry at AEW: All In London.
On today’s Wrestling Observer Radio, it was noted that Punk had signed a multi-year deal that began to come together about ten days ago. Haus of Wrestling can confirm that roughly two weeks ago, there was no deal in place, with seemingly none on the way. WWE President Nick Khan was the one to make the call to bring Punk back to WWE, and WWE Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque “obviously had a lot to do with it.”
Fightful adds that there was a meeting between Levesque and Punk on November 19 that lasted around an hour. During the meeting, which was described as productive, the two men were able to clear the air regarding their past issues and begin the process of bringing Punk back in. At this point, Punk began to tell a select few people around him that he was returning.
The report goes on to say that “producers, referees, staff, talent, and even head writers on the creative team” were unaware of Punk’s return until it happened on TV. Levesque took over in the Gorilla Position shortly before Punk’s on-screen return and called for copyright graphic and then Punk’s music. It was also noted that Levesque met with Bruce Prichard and Michael Hayes about a change to the main event, but it wasn’t clear whether it was Punk-related.
Some main event talent was pulled to the side before their match and told what was happening. Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre were said to look visibly angry at the news, with both acting out after Punk’s return at the show’s end. The range of emotions among the overall locker room to Punk’s return ranged from upset to excited to curious and just about every other feeling, as one would expect. One top talent told Fightful that Levesque might lose some trust with some he worked to build it with after making the decision and keeping everyone in the dark about it.
Regarding what Levesque told me last night in the post-show press conference about TKO Group Holdings executives being left in the dark about the decision, Wrestling Observer says that sounds true. TKO is charged with making business deals and money, while Levesque and Khan are being left to handle creative.