CM Punk has not wrestled since stepping away from the WWE in 2014. But now, after seven years of speculation, the former WWE Champion may finally be on his way back to the squared circle. Fightful Select's Sean Ross Sapp reported on Wednesday morning that Punk is in "ongoing talks for a return" and that All Elite Wrestling is "the most likely landing point." This matches up with what Punk said in an interview with Renee Paquette on Oral Sessions late last year.
I think the landscape currently is much different than when I left," Punk said."You can play the game where you're like, 'Oh, AEW was an option, would you have gone right after you left WWE?' If you are going to play that game, there is no way they (WWE) would have handled it the way they handled it with suspending me for two months and nobody contacting me and the next thing I know, I got my release papers on my wedding day. That wouldn't have happened if there was an AEW. Because then they probably would have approached me and been like, 'Hey, your suspension is up. Ready to come back to work? Let's work this out.' Or handle it like any other sports organization would have handled [a] star pitcher f—ing going home. They're not just going to let him leave the team, go to a rival organization."
"What would it take? Oh gosh. Without wanting to insult anybody on either side of the fence, any WWE talent or AEW talent, it would take, above all, an interesting scenario," he said. "A story that would be fun to tell and also just the stupidest amount of money. But, they can save themselves a lot of money if they present a fun storyline. Now, what that is, I don't know. I'm a pretty picky guy, especially at this point. I think there are more interesting people on the AEW side of things for me to wrestle and that's because I've never wrestled them before. Young Bucks, Kenny Omega."
Punk briefly returned to the wrestling world in late 2019 as an analyst for the Fox Sports 1 show WWE Backstage. He has since made a few comments about his frustrations with WWE's product even after the show was canceled.
"From a creative mind standpoint, stepping back and looking at the landscape of everything, there are people in WWE that I have wrestled before that maybe, in a certain situation could be interesting," Punk said in an interview with Uproxx earlier this year. "There's also the business side of things. What's the biggest possible match for CM Punk? I think there's Kenny Omega on the one side. And, you know, unfortunately, ironically enough, for me to go back to WWE, who's the biggest match for me? It's probably Triple H. That's ironic because it's nothing I'm interested in. It's just what it is. Am I going to be a businessman and say that's the match, that's the big-money match? Well, it's not my money, so it's not for me to say."