Punk speaks at length about his comeback.
At the conclusion of WWE’s 2023 Survivor Series Premium Live Event in Rosemont, Illinois, CM Punk made his return in what was his first WWE appearance since he left the company in 2014. Fast forward to present day and Punk is gearing up to participate in the 2024 men’s Royal Rumble.
He dove into his return and a handful of other subjects when he joined WWE’s 2024 Preview Special on Peacock. Speaking about his return, he said he kept it close to the vest and only those close to him were alerted about what was going to happen. He described the moment as ‘magical’.
Oh God, how much time we got? I feel like we could take up the whole show just talking (about my return at Survivor Series). Everything that day just happened so fast. You should never text and drive ladies and gentlemen. So I was trying to drive to the Allstate Arena and let everybody that deserved to know, that was in my orbit know what was about to happen so I’m texting my sisters, because nobody knew. This is how you get things done in this business. You keep things close to the vest, you don’t leak stuff and that’s when the magic happens and it was a magical moment and it was so many things going through my head. The nerves, people I haven’t seen in 10 years. I had questions, worries, maybe even concerns and that all dissolved when that song hit, ‘Cult of Personality’ and I walked out in front of my hometown. I couldn’t hear the song anymore. I didn’t know my cues. As a performer, (you) try to hit your cues based on the song. Like where we’re at, where’s Corey Glover at? Okay, I’m gonna do this. This is when I say, ‘It’s clobbering time.’ All of it went out the window. I couldn’t hear the song, I just heard the people and it was a very magical moment.
As a part of WWE’s holiday house show tour, Punk competed at Madison Square Garden and The Kia Forum in singles matches against Dominik Mysterio. He said getting back in the ring at those events were amazing.
It was amazing (returning to in-ring action at MSG & Kia Forum house shows). We call them live events now is how old I am. They’re house shows to me, they probably always will be. They were my bread and butter. TV’s one thing, TV’s a whole other nervous ball of energy. Everybody’s worried about sticking to times on television and you have a lot of bosses. When I’m on house shows, I don’t have boss, I get to have fun and (it) just brought me back to starting wrestling in the first place. The reason why you do it. For some reason, you’re drawn to doing this and I just got to have fun in a relaxed atmosphere in front of some people who were super excited to see me and I got to punch ‘Dirty Dom’ in the face. All in a day’s work.
He was asked to share what he’s feeling heading into the Royal Rumble. It was on January 27th, 2014 that Punk walked out of WWE and the date of the 2024 Royal Rumble is January 27th.
Punk said the story is almost like destiny and it could not be written any better.
It’s gonna be just like walking out in front of a Chicago audience at Survivor Series (Punk said about 2024 men’s Royal Rumble). I think there’s a lot of ghosts I’m trying to put to bed and it’s almost kismet. You couldn’t write a better story. 10 years after walking out. My last match was a Royal Rumble. I’m walking back in 10 years later and my good buddy Cody (Rhodes) likes to say he’s gonna finish his story. To me, this is finishing what I started. This is picking back up where I left off. I’m 10 years wiser and still all that experience that I have inside the Royal Rumble and inside the wrestling ring is gonna come in handy and I’m gonna get to win the Royal Rumble and main event WrestleMania. At least that’s the plan. I know there’s 29 other guys that are gonna do their best to stop me but I’m supremely confident.
The reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins has spoken openly about his feelings towards Punk. During their segment on Raw, Rollins said he hates him. Punk expressed his thought that Rollins is someone that would not have gotten the opportunities he’s gotten if it was not for him.
I’m in a position where it feels maybe strange, me vocalizing it but I think Seth (Rollins) is a guy, at least I definitely thought it 10 years ago, that he’s a dude that I don’t think would have gotten the opportunities he has gotten if it wasn’t for me. That might hurt some people’s feelings but facts are facts. They don’t care about your feelings.
To close out the wrestling portion of the conversation, Punk was asked what would it mean to him to headline WrestleMania. He stated that he set goals for himself early in his career that were too big and scary for him to handle.
He now feels he’s grown into the person that can handle those goals. Circling back to the Royal Rumble, Punk said being number one in the match is appealing to him seeing as how he was number one in the 2014 Rumble.
Gosh (he responded when asked what would it mean to main event WrestleMania). You know, I think it all kind of got set off with the Shawn Michaels ‘Boyhood Dream’. When I wanted to be a wrestler, I just wanted to be a wrestler. I didn’t really have goals outside of that and then as you progress in the business, those goals grow, you know? One of my goals used to be wrestle every weekend, you know? (He laughed) And it’s just like you do that then you start flying places. You start going to different countries and dare I say mastering your craft but then realizing that you’re gonna learn something new every day and that’s the magical thing about the business is that I’m constantly learning so every experience helped me move forward down the path that I’m on. It’s helped me realize that I set goals very, very early in my career that are terrifying, they’re scary and what 10 years away from WWE has shown me is I set those goals and they’re so big and they’re so scary that I could not accomplish them until I grew into the person that could and I’m back now and I’ve grown into the person that can accomplish those goals and can handle all the responsibilities that come with it and I’m looking forward to competing with 29 other guys, throwing 29 other guys over the top rope. You said I was number one in the last (Royal) Rumble I was in. I don’t know what number I’m gonna be. I always love those moments where you got the big lotto balls, you got the big thing where somebody’s turning… the tumbler, choosing numbers. That was always fascinating to me, intriguing when I was a fan but honestly, being number one again is appealing to me. I wouldn’t look at that as a hindrance. I know a lot of guys would but I’m training my ass off and I’m going to come back in the best shape I possibly can be to win the whole thing.
On the preview show, Shinsuke Nakamura was formally announced for the men’s Royal Rumble. He’s joining Punk and Cody Rhodes as announced talents in the match.
Punk is going to be present on the 1/8 Raw in Portland, Oregon.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the original source with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.