Controversial wrestling superstar CM Punk has returned to WWE after almost a decade, making a shocking appearance at the end of Saturday’s (November 25) Survivor Series event.
Punk, who left WWE in 2014 after a falling out with the company, surprised fans at the conclusion of Saturday’s show when he walked out at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, just northwest of his home city of Chicago. The 17,000-plus crowd went wild as the Straight Edge Superstar soaked in the atmosphere at the top of the ramp.
The return to WWE comes almost three months after Punk was fired from rival wrestling company All Elite Wrestling (AEW) over an alleged backstage altercation with fellow wrestler Jack Perry, son of the late actor Luke Perry. AEW previously suspended Punk in late 2022 after getting into a fight with wrestlers (and EVPs) Kenny Omega, Nick Jackson, and Matt Jackson.
“This was one of those lightning-in-a-bottle moments that came together very quickly, but we are incredibly excited about it,” WWE’s chief content officer Triple H said of Punk’s re-signing at the Survivor Series post-show press conference.
“It didn’t start to come to fruition until everybody stopped thinking it was going to happen, and then all of a sudden it was happening,” Triple H continued.
Punk has made no secret of his frustrations with WWE over the years. He departed the company in 2014 due to creative issues and a lack of medical care. Punk’s comments on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast in 2014 about his issues with WWE led to a lengthy legal battle with former WWE doctor Chris Amann; Punk won the lawsuit.
After leaving WWE, Punk took a long sabbatical from wrestling, instead embarking on a career in MMA. He fought briefly for the UFC, losing both of his fights.
The pro-wrestler also took on some acting roles, most notably in the 2019 horror film Girl on the Third Floor and the Starz wrestling drama Heels. He also wrote several stories for Marvel Comics, including for the ongoing Drax series.
Punk made his grand return to wrestling in August 2021, signing a multi-year deal with AEW, which airs on TNT and TBS. His brief career with AEW was filled with highs and lows, bringing compelling action to the TV product but often involving controversy behind the scenes due to various personality conflicts.
During Saturday’s press conference, Triple H addressed Punk’s attitude and suggested that people can change.
“If you are the same person you were ten years ago, ten years later, you’ve messed up,” Triple H stated. “Everybody grows, everybody changes. And I’m a different person, he’s a different person, this is a different company, and we’re all on the same even starting ground.”