By Jim Biringer
You can never say never in the world of professional wrestling, as we saw Saturday night at the Survivor Series. After nearly a decade away from WWE, CM Punk returned to the company he swore he would never go back to live in Chicago his hometown.
That’s been the motto of Vince McMahon, the former chairman, CEO and head of creative at WWE. Triple H is now the head of creative at WWE. Nick Khan is running things on the business side along with Endeavor as the parent company, which bought WWE. If Vince McMahon is still running things in WWE, CM Punk is not here. But it is a new era. It’s a new time. It’s a new year, and who would have thought CM Punk would have been back in WWE in 2023?
It is just remarkable because of what goes on in the world of professional wrestling. We saw Bret Hart leave and come back. And let me tell you this, as somebody who’s watched professional wrestling over the years, the Montreal Screwjob and what happened to Bret Hart that night over the WWF Championship with Shawn Michaels was irreparable.
There was a lot of bad blood. Bret Hart spit in Vince McMahon’s face. That was the day that the Mr. McMahon character was born. Bret left along with the British Bulldog and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Owen Hart was the only member remaining with the company in 1997. Rest in peace Owen Hart after what happened in 1999.
The years went by. Bret Hart buried the hatchet with Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon. We saw over the years, especially when Punk was in AEW or when he was suspended by AEW, he was trying to make amends with guys in WWE.
And look is CM Punk the most likable guy out there? No. He’s probably more disliked than he is like, but he means money. And if he can help WWE make money which he already has by his merch and the views on social media and all that stuff. He’s good for business. And as Triple H said in his press conference Saturday night, Endeavor is allowing Triple H and Nick Khan to do what’s best for business.
They’re not overseeing things. They’re letting the guys who were in charge run the show because they have belief in their ability or else they wouldn’t be there. Remember Vince McMahon controlled everything. If he didn’t like something he was going to change it to fit his vision. Now it’s the vision of the company and Triple H has always said we do what’s best for business.
Bringing CM Punk back is what’s best for business. AAEW dropped the ball. Yes, the beef with Tony Kahn and with Jack Perry after what happened at All-In. And we will truly never know what happened at All In. That stuff could have been worked out the stuff with the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. If money was going to be made, you can work things out.
As we saw, WWE decided that it was the best time to pull the trigger on a CM Punk return at the Survivor Series. Working in this business and seeing this business, once Punk was let go by AEW, he was coming back at the Survivor Series. It made too much sense not for him to return there. Punk is from Chicago. The Chicago fans were deprived of CM Punk in September, so everything aligned perfectly for a return.
With the reaction he got and the look on his face, Punk knew he was back home. He tried to put that WWE locker room inside AEW. But after what happened after Brawl Out aka All Out 2022, and then what happened at All In you knew it was going to happen. Tony Khan took sides with the guys who started the company,
You see here Cody’s here. Jade is here. CM Punk is now here. If there is a will there is a way for someone to return back to the company after having a falling out. Just look at how many times Ultimate Warrior came back to WWE after his problems. Then there was Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Superstar Billy Graham, Scott Steiner, Jeff Jarrett, Bruno Sammartino, and of course Bret Hart. Throw in even Stone Cold Steve Austin after he walked out on the company back in 2002 only to return in 2003.
It doesn’t matter what a superstar’s past is. If things can be worked out and there is money to be made, guys will come back. That’s why you never say never in pro wrestling.