There has been plenty of rumour and innuendo whirling around over the last 24 hours since CM Punk made a surprise appearance on FOX's WWE Backstage show and it's hard to know what to think.
First of all, let's get caught up on what's happened. CM Punk and WWE obviously had a very acrimonious parting of ways in 2014 and, despite constant fan chants etc, it looked like he would never return to the company again. But we've said that about an awful lot of WWE stars in the past, only to see them make sensational comebacks.
Punk, however, insisted he would not return. Off he went to try his hand at MMA and finally the hype around his wrestling future seemed to die down. But then AEW came into existence and Punk started talking in interviews about how he might be open to a return to wrestling. He was once again one of the hottest properties in pro-wrestling.
Just last month he was asked in a Reddit AMA about a possible WWE return and he answered with a reference to money, saying "It’d have to be a very big bag."
Then flash forward to Tuesday night's WWE Backstage on Fox and who appears? CM Punk!
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) November 13, 2019
Fox is investing heavily in wrestling, after signing a mssive deal with the WWE to broadcast Smackdown live on Friday nights and have been airing WWE Backstage, an analysis/highlights show, since the middle of October. Punk will now be appearing as a periodic analyst on the series.
This wasn't hugely surprising as Punk had previously confirmed that he had screen tested for the show.
My agents just called me and Fox is throwing everything at this because they spent a lot of money on this and they're all in to make it work.
Originally I thought it was a WWE thing, so I was just like, 'Meh, no.' But then they said, 'This is Fox.'"
Given these comments it would hint that Punk isn't planning on returning to the ring any time soon and is still one step removed from WWE.
However, the reaction since his appearance has everyone wondering. The 'WWE on Fox' Youtube account has "Do you think this moment marks his return to WWE?" as their pinned comment on the Youtube video of his return, WWE superstar Seth Rollins tweeted "Fight me CM Punk," while WWE Universal champion Bray Wyatt also called him out on social media.
I saw you pic.twitter.com/v7TEXLYR6f
— WYATT 6 (@Windham6) November 13, 2019
The most interesting thing about these reactions was that WWE gave them further fuel by including them in their social streaming show 'The Bump'.
So what does all these mean for Punk's in-ring return? Who the hell knows! But it would appear that it is now a firm possibility.