CM Punk remains arguably the most alluring name out there when it comes to a WWE in-ring return, but as we have learned over the last few weeks, it seems no closer to happening now than it did several years ago. Despite Punk returning to the wrestling world in sorts by joining the crew of WWE Backstage on FS1, WWE is reportedly not as open to the idea of Punk returning to the ring for them as Punk himself appears to be. A new report notes the biggest reason for that: Vince McMahon himself.
According to this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, McMahon has labeled Punk the one star who he just cannot work with. This is reportedly well known among the top decision makers in the company, and the reports notes that nobody has really tried to change his mind on this front. That includes Paul Heyman, who has a long history of working with and advocating for Punk.
This might make readers wonder why Punk returned to the wrestling world with a co-hosting gig on WWE Backstage. As previously noted, that show is through FOX so Punk doesn't officially work for WWE. The belief is that WWE may not have been keen with Punk being hired for the show, but they didn't want to ruffle any feathers with FOX by telling them that due to their working relationship being so new. FOX was adamant that they wanted Punk on the show.
Some at WWE reportedly felt that a Punk appearance at WrestleMania would be a strong story, but others felt that Punk devalued his leverage there when his return on WWE Backstage did not result in much of a ratings increase.
Punk has recently said he would be willing to listen to offers as it relates to a WWE in-ring return if he felt the creative direction was good. He specifically mentioned Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan, and John Cena as names he would return to the ring with.