In the world of professional wrestling, fans are taught that the industry lives and dies on the simple phrase of “never say never.” No matter what has transpired over the years, and no matter how unhirable someone has made themselves to top professional wrestling companies, a comeback is always possible–especially when there is money to be made. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be as surprising as it is that CM Punk has returned to WWE, nearly a decade after his publicly messy departure from the company.

To fully explain the parting of ways and how bitter it was, there are a number of things to note. Firstly, Punk went through all of his side of the story in two appearances on Colt Cabana’s The Art of Wrestling podcast. In it, he discussed a number of health issues and injuries he went through during his WWE career. As a result of that podcast, WWE’s senior ringside physician, Dr. Christopher Amann, sued the Punk and Cabana for defamation. Punk and Cabana ultimately prevailed in the suit. However, it also led to the end of their friendship. It also seemed any potential of Punk returning to WWE was a moot point.

Fast forward to 2021 and we have the disastrous run of CM Punk in All Elite Wrestling. He debuted to a sold-out United Center in his hometown of Chicago, primed to be the new face of the fledgling company. While he had memorable matches at first, and even won the world championship on two occasions, those highlights were mired by injuries, reports of backstage altercations, suspensions, having the AEW World Championship stripped from him, and ultimately being fired for cause after AEW CEO Tony Khan claimed, “I’ve been going to wrestling shows for over 30 years. I’ve been producing them on this network for four years. Never in all that time have I ever felt until last Sunday that my security, my safety, my life was in danger at a wrestling show.”

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