In a shocking twist for the professional wrestling world, CM Punk has returned to WWE. Punk shocked the crowd at Survivor Series: WarGames when his music hit following the main event and the Chicago native made his way out to the entrance ramp to pose before celebrating with the crowd.
Punk famously split from WWE in 2014 after injuries and mounting frustrations with the promotion. He would remain retired until 2021 when he signed with All Elite Wrestling. While Punk’s time in AEW was successful in terms of in-ring action, he was involved in two physical backstage altercations at major events which led to the end of his time with the young promotion.
First, Punk brawled with Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks at the 2022 edition of All Out. Punk also suffered an injury at the event and was sidelined as a result.
After returning in June 2023, Punk again was on a solid run of matches but at August’s All In event in London, Punk and Jack Perry had an altercation which was investigated by AEW and eventually led to Punk being released by AEW “with cause.”
Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE’s Chief Creative Officer, spoke about Punk’s surprise return at the press conference following the event.
“This was one of those lightning-in-a-bottle moments that came together very quickly but we are incredibly excited about it,” Levesque said. “It’s been a long time, and in some ways, it’s been a long time coming. You can say this about CM Punk, love him, hate him, positive, negative, whatever you want to say, people talk about him all the time. He’s a magnet for that. He’s a conversation starter. It’s tough to look past that. And for me, if our fans want it, if the WWE Universe is excited to have it, then let’s go and we’ll figure out the rest of it from there.
“… A lot of time has gone by. Almost 10 years, right? If you are the same person you were 10 years ago, you messed up. Everybody grows. Everybody changes. I’m a different person. He’s a different person. This is a different company. We’re all on the same even starting ground. What’s next for CM Punk? That’ll be interesting. I’m interested to see that myself,” Levesque said.
Punk’s return to WWE would have been unfathomable before his falling out with AEW. Now, after months of speculation and roundabout denials from WWE talent and executives, he has returned to the stage where he transformed from indie darling to global superstar.