CM Punk finally made his long-awaited return to WWE television on Tuesday night. Only instead of appearing on an episode of Raw or SmackDown, the former WWE Champion arrived in the closing moments of the WWE Backstage news show on Fox Sports 1. Renee Young introduced Punk as a surprise guest, who walked his way into the middle of the set as his "Cult of Personality" theme rang throughout the studio. Punk looked straight into the camera and said, "It's as simple as this: Just when they think they've got the answers, I change the culture. I'll see you here next week."
WWE then put out a press release regarding Punk's return.
"Within minutes, the WWE on FOX Twitter account confirmed that Punk will make periodic appearances on WWE Backstage beginning next Tuesday," the release read. "Punk left an unforgettable legacy during his WWE career, including holding the WWE Championship for a remarkable 434 days. Since parting ways with WWE, Punk has gone on to author comic books for Marvel, compete in UFC and, more recently, star in the horror film "Girl on the Third Floor," released in theaters last month. Don't miss Punk's headline-making return to WWE Backstage next Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET on FS1."
In a separate release from FOX, the network confirmed that Punk would be joining the show as a special contributor and analyst, making frequent appearances alongside the likes of Paige and Christian to interact act with hosts Young and Booker T.
Tuesday's episode marked the first time Punk had appeared on any form of WWE programming since his sudden departure from the company in 2014. After reports popped up that Punk had gone through screen tests for WWE's newest show, the former world champ openly confirmed those reports in an interview on Collider Live in October.
"Yeah, I did [the audition]," Punk said. "This goes back to me being in a position in my life where I'm like, 'What do you got?' I'm very much in a position where I'm like, 'Well, talk to me.' I'm open to anything. If they come at me and they're like, 'Hey, we want you to wrestle.' I'm gonna be like, 'I'm not interested.' I've grown so much as a person and I look back at all that stuff and I don't need the confrontation and the drama. I'm a businessman. But I put my morals and integrity above business deals."