Wednesday 13th of November, 2019, was a historic day as, for the first time ever, The Devil had to break out his ice skates to get to work. This is because the only reason we would ever see CM Punk back in the WWE had come to pass and Hell had frozen over.
As “Oh My God!” moments go, it was a doozy and one that nobody, and I mean nobody, could’ve predicted. Oh sure, there are people on the internet who are currently claiming that they knew this was going to happen and if you’re one these idiots then you need to shut the hell up. Unless you’re CM Punk, work for either FOX or the WWE, or you’re AJ Lee you didn’t see it coming, I didn’t see it coming, no-one in the world saw it coming.
Back in 2014, CM Punk walked out of the WWE. He had grown frustrated and disillusioned with the workings of the business and decided that he didn’t want to be part of it anymore. His complaints were numerous and would be listed by the man himself of the Colt Cabana podcast, The Art Of Wrestling.
There’s too many to name here, hence the above link to the show itself for all of you who have been living in a cave for the past half-decade, but the general gist was that they felt he’d never gotten a fair shake, should’ve headlined Wrestlemania, and had been so badly treated by the WWE medical team when he got a staph infection that it could’ve, and probably should’ve, killed him.
Just like most divorces, it was a mess. Lawsuits were flying around like Macho Man Elbow Drop’s, Punk wasn’t shy in letting the world know just how pissed he was with the WWE, and even the company themselves weren’t beyond taking digs at him whenever the opportunity arose. Who can forget Stephanie McMahon, live on RAW, burying Punk’s UFC debut loss?
There seemed to be so much hostility on both sides that the chance of Punk every gracing a WWE program again was about as likely as The Undertaker being allowed to retire gracefully.
And then, out of the blue last Tuesday on WWE Backstage, Renne Young said they had a surprise for us, did a count down, and when Cult Of Personality kicked in, the wrestling world lost its collective mind.
So What Changed?
In one word? FOX. Allow me to explain. As soon as CM Punk walked through the doors and back onto WWE TV, fans worldwide started talking about how long it would be before he laced up his boots and headed back into the ring. I’ll be honest here, even your friendly neighborhood wrestling writer got caught up in the insanity surrounding his return and found himself fantasy booking matches with the likes of Ricochet and Finn Balor. But a couple of days later a “Behind The Scenes Special” would be released on YouTube that would, seemingly, put those ideas to rest.
In this video, Punk is asked what made him return to the WWE fold, and he straight up says that he was approached by FOX, who explained to him that they want him to be the Troy Aikman of WWE Backstage.
For those of you that don’t live in the USA, or have no interest in American Football, Troy Aikman is a retired Quarterback who’s now FOX’s lead analyst for their NFL coverage and that’s what they told Punk they wanted him to be.
This means that it was FOX, and not the WWE, who approached Punk about joining the WWE Backstage team and even though Titan Towers would’ve had prior knowledge that it was going to happen, there’s a very good chance that they had no say in the matter whatsoever.
The fact is that the deal they signed with FOX is worth about $200 million a year and when there’s that kind of money involved, they’re going to want to do whatever they can to keep their golden goose as happy as possible. So when it was mentioned to them that CM Punk was going to be signed as an analyst, you can bet Vince McMahon’s sweaty bottom dollar that it wasn’t up for discussion.
What Does It All Mean?
“What does it all mean?” I hear you ask. Well, good question, give yourself a cookie. In the short-term CM Punk will be the Voice Of The Voiceless but only on WWE Backstage and only for as long as it pleases him to do so.
The fact is that CM Punk doesn’t seem to suffer fools gladly and there’s always the chance that if he feels he’s getting screwed over by either FOX or the WWE, then he’ll just up and walk again. It’s what makes him such a fascinating human being and was one of the biggest reasons behind his success as a professional wrestler. People just love people who are willing to give the finger to authority and if there’s one thing that Punk isn’t afraid of, it’s pissing off the higher-ups off.
He’s a fantastic catch for FOX as well. Next week’s WWE Backstage will have the whole eyes of the wrestling world, performers and fans alike, fixed on it and it will do the kind of numbers that would make Marvel blush. This could be a marriage made in heaven as he won’t pull any punches, or tow any lines when it comes to his opinions and that will get viewers tuning in each week just to see what he has to say.
As for the long-term, will we ever see him back in a WWE ring? Honestly? No, I don’t think we will. I can’t believe with all the bad blood that has been spilled over the past five years that either CM Punk or the WWE wants to have that close of a working relationship together again. So it’s hard for me to believe that we’ll see him tape up his hands again, even for a one-off dream bout.
But never say never, right? After all, if Smackdown starts to drop off in the ratings then who’s to say that FOX won’t make the WWE an offer that they can’t refuse? It is a business at the end of the day and with the amount of cash that both these companies have to hand then there’s no reason to think that if they really, really needed to they could, just, maybe convince CM Punk to give us one.more.match.