While the return of CM Punk to WWE has been a borderline revelation for Paul “Triple H” Levesque and the rest of the WWE Universe, the decision has been far from universally appreciated, as there are more than a few fans, pundits, and even wrestlers alike who are less than excited about the signing.
Seth Rollins? Hates it. Kevin Nash? He thinks Punk is looking at his watch to see how much time he has left until he's fired. And dozens more online are over having to see what Phil Brooks brings to the table in 2023, as after a while, you can only trick yourself into expecting a different result after doing the same thing over and over again.
But what about the folks who feel somewhere in between, not quite sold on the “Best in the World” but not quite out on him either? Well, there's a very high-profile member of the WWE Universe who falls into that category by the name of Bobby Lashley, who recently sat down with Steve Fall of WrestlingNews.Co to talk about, among other things, WWE's newest signing.
“I really don't know [about Punk], to be honest with you. I was actually leaving around the time that Punk was really starting to pick up a little steam. He was there, but he really didn't do anything at that time. I know he had a big impact in WWE in his time there. I spoke with some of the guys that know him, got mixed feelings. Some people are very against it, some are, ‘Ah you know, whatever.' But it's the land of opportunity. So if he comes back and he helps out the show, that's the business side of it. I don't really know Punk too personally. When I was fighting, he went to UFC. I put my money on him, so he does owe me a little bit of money [laughs]. Twice! I was like, ‘What the h*ll are you doing? Come on.' But I hope the business is about this as well as everyone else,” Bobby Lashley told Steve Fall via Fightful.
“I think for integrity purposes, I understand he has a big name, he's coming back, and he's gonna do some big numbers. But I hope they make him kind of work for some of this stuff. I hope he's not one of the people that, ‘Oh, okay, he comes back, win the Rumble, we're gonna do this, we're gonna do that.' I hope they give him an opportunity to kind of prove his loyalty to the business and some of the people in there. Just to let everybody know, some of the naysayers, some of the people that aren't too happy about him being there, I hope he has the opportunity to work his back up to the top and not just given everything because maybe he negotiated a big contract that allowed him to do that.”
You know, Lashley might actually have the best take of anyone on this situation, as while Punk is back and is going to be pushed hard, it would be nice to “make him work a little bit,” instead of just handing him the world in order to see how he handles it. If Punk can pull that off, something Booker T thinks he did in his “I'm Home” promo, then by all means, go for it.
Chris Jericho wasn't surprised to see CM Punk return to WWE.
Speaking of CM Punk's return to WWE, Chris Jericho was asked about the move on Insight with Chris Van Vliet and whether or not he saw it coming.
To his credit, the “Ocho” did, as WWE has never been afraid to reunite with even the most controversial former performer.
“I mean it doesn't surprise me,” Chris Jericho said via EWrestling News “I mean it's the Vince attitude like if you can make money with somebody then you bring them back. He brought back the nWo, he brought Bischoff in. Yeah, and Vince isn't in charge. But Triple H learned from Vince once again and the fans, keeping the fans entertained and happy man look, he came back and it was the highest viewed social media segment that they've ever had. So once right out of the gate, it was a benefit to them. So it didn't surprise me.”
Will CM Punk turn out more like the return of Brock Lesnar, who has been incredible since his return, or like nWo, who had some success but never rose to their former glory? Only time will tell, but it's safe to say the journey will be entertaining for better or worse.