If CM Punk were to make a surprise return, could the WWE keep it a secret?
We all know to “never say never” when it comes to professional wrestling. There have been plenty of bridges we assumed to be burned only to find they had been rebuilt thanks to time and maturity. Men such as Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Sting, and Goldberg have all found themselves either forming new relationships or repairing old ones with Vince McMahon and fans have reaped the rewards, even if they were short-lived in WWE.
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The most glaring modern example is CM Punk. It seems that each week, at least one WWE show is showered with chants of his name, unless the show takes place in Chicago in which case the chants are so incessant you could be fooled into thinking he’s still on the roster. Above all else, Vince is a businessman and he knows that a CM Punk return would be “yuge” for business. Even if it was a surprise return with no build-up, the aftermath would be incredible and rumors of an extended run would fly rampant for weeks if not months.
But in the internet age, could WWE keep such a monumental return a secret? Online message boards are rife with rumors, predictions, and reckless speculation. To this day there is a devoted sect of die-hard CM Punk fans who are convinced he will make his triumphant return to the WWE any day now. Even if that were so, the WWE would likely ruin the surprise on their own because they simply won’t allow genuine surprises to happen in a vacuum anymore. Surprise Royal Rumble entries aside, when was the last time you were genuinely shocked to see someone show up on RAW or Smackdown? It’s probably been awhile since WWE relentlessly promotes even the most pedestrian of appearances.
A possible Punk return is less about ego than it is about timing. Plenty of devoted Punk followers will claim that he won’t “sell out” and come crawling back to Vince and while that may be true, the WWE won’t come to his doorstep begging for a return either. If anything, the biggest roadblock to any return is Punk’s commitment to UFC. If nothing else, Punk is loyal to his goals and his immediate goal is to go as far as he can in mixed martial arts. Even if he never wins a fight, he will continue to try until he reaches a point where he has convinced himself that he doesn’t need to go any further. No one will convince him that he needs to return to the WWE.
Punk wants to prove a point to himself. Despite their rocky relationship, Punk isn’t staying in the UFC just to spite Vince or turn his back on his WWE past; he is testing his limits because that’s what athletes do. Punk has always been a man who wants to try new things and while I don’t agree with the way he left the company, I do respect him for trying something completely outside his comfort zone.