Say what you will about the absurdity of the WWE / Fox deal, but wrestling fans around the world have Fox to thank for at least one thing - the return of CM Punk!
For nearly six years after he walked out on the company that helped to make him a household name, Punk has inked a deal with Fox to be a part of the FS1 show, WWE backstage. So yes he’s back, but he is not currently contracted to WWE, just to Fox.
That leaves an interesting bunch of ideas on the table for the Straightedge Superstar moving forward. Here are 5 reasons we're excited for his return to FOX, and 5 why we aren't.
10 Excited - He’s Back On Our Screens
CM Punk walked into the 2014 Royal Rumble as number one and outlasted nearly the entire field before being dragged out by Kane. He showed up the next day battered and beaten, hurt from years of non-stop tours and took a little convalescence to heal up.
Combine all of that with what he felt was bad Creative and he walked out on the WWE and the fans. However, a humongous amount of those fans didn’t walk out on him.
CM Punk’s name is still continuously chanted throughout arenas and now he’s back to answer those chants. If he ever steps back into an arena, the eruption will certainly be one of the loudest in history.
9 Not - He Quit
He quit, and that's something some fans will find very difficult to overlook.
He walked out, plain and simple with no notice and no willingness to try and work it out that we are aware of. All the guy wanted to be was a top guy and when he finally got there, he seemingly couldn’t handle the rigors of it.
It can be perceived that he walked out on all of his fans and it’s taken him almost six years to show back up.
8 Excited - He Could Still Show Up In AEW...
Since he’s working for Fox and not WWE, CM Punk has been presented with a unique opportunity, provided his contract would allow it.
Despite the war of words on Twitter, if Tony Khan and AEW were to cough up enough cash and creative, the Cult Of Personality could really affect some of that change he was always spewing about and wind up commentating about WWE on Backstage and delivering GTS’ on Dynamite.
7 Not - ...But He Probably Won’t
As cool as that above scenario would be, certainly the “Rick Rude” of it all would have at likely spooked the WWE into at least requesting that Fox demands he not work for any competing networks or wrestling promotions.
Don’t look for any dream Punk and Omega matches any time soon.
6 Excited - The Inevitable Return To The Ring
Barring any unforeseen injury that might have forced superstars to retire over the years, the word retired really just means an extended break in wrestling. Even HBK, who retired for a very long time after WrestleMania XXVI, came back for that far Saudi stack last year.
Punk didn’t even retire, which makes a return to the ring seemingly inevitable. The man who once claimed he doesn’t even watch anymore is now firmly entrenched in a show that entails he knows what’s going on with the product. For the right Cash and Creative, it’s now more likely a when than an if we see Punk back in the ring.
5 Not - Possible Match Makes Him A Possible Hypocrite
Punk spent a lot of his time in the WWE decrying the legends who seemingly only show up around WrestleMania time to get a huge payday, taking the time and money away from a current member of the roster and then just leaving.
Someone else could have had the co-host spot on Backstage, Punk’s return sort of paints him as a hypocrite.
4 Excited - Punk Vs. Joe
CM Punk once said the only way he’d ever return to TNA would have been if he and Samoa Joe were allowed to let loose like they were allowed to when they pretty much single-handedly saved Ring Of Honor.
Now they’re both in a WWE environment. Should Punk step back into the ring at all, plenty of guys he once made amazing music with are now in the WWE. But should Punk ever decide to get back in the ring, he made the most beautiful music with the Samoan Submission Magician.
3 Not - Hype Will Always Be There
The CM Punk champs actually seemed to subside recently, but they’re certainly going to beback in full force now that the Straightedge Superstar is back.
If the desire to see him back in the ring wasn’t already at a fever pitch, it’s just going to continue to grow now that he’s back. But if he actually stays retired, the hype will never go away and WWE would need to be careful and not trying to have off-the-cuff conversations between him and other wrestlers ala The Miz and Daniel Bryan from a few years ago.
2 Excited - He’s A Great Talker
It took WWE nearly five years to realize what they had in CM Punk, but once they allowed him to deliver the Pipe Bomb, there was seldom a moment where he didn’t have a microphone in his hand.
FOX paid who knows how much to get the WWE and UFC star because Backstage is a talk show and Punk is the best talker since the guy he does his best to emulate - Roddy Piper.
1 Not - He Only Works For Fox
The ultimate downside to all of this is that it’s all conjecture. The details of Punk’s contract have not been revealed. But we all know that it is solely a FOX deal. That means that any return to an actual WWE event is still all up to him.
He has claimed in the past that it’s all up to Vince picking up a phone and offering him a big bag of money. But at this current moment in time, Punk is not an employee of WWE, he works for FOX and at no point in time does he ever have to change that arrangement.