CM Punk's time on WWE Backstage played a role in his return to wrestling.
Seven years after leaving WWE, CM Punk returned to wrestling at AEW Rampage: The First Dance. Before that, however, he made some appearances on the short-lived FS1 series, WWE Backstage. The show, which debuted in October 2019 was hosted by Renee Paquette and saw CM Punk as a semi-frequent contributor. In June 2020, however, weekly production was halted and we've only since seen it once ahead of the 2021 Royal Rumble.
During a recent appearance on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette, who is also no longer with WWE, Punk commented on his time with WWE Backstage and how it opened up the possibility in his mind that wrestling could once again be an option. Here are his full remarks:
"Doing the FOX show with you, I hadn't spoken to you since I left, it rekindled the friendship and was the gateway to opening up the possibility in my head that wrestling could be an option. The FOX thing was too good to be true, it was great. People legitimately are like, 'Oh, you went back to WWE.' No, I went to FOX. That's what was insane to me. It was (fun). FOX flew to Milwaukee and we had a formal but informal meeting. I was very adamant of, 'guys, I don't want anything to do with [WWE]. I don't want to work for [WWE].' I didn't know if it was a trojan horse. I wanted transparency and honesty and they were like, 'We have SmackDown coming to FOX, we want an analyst show as a lead in, just like a football panel.' 'That makes sense, it's a good idea.' 'You're the guy, you're the white whale.' 'Well, I'm the white whale who probably has nothing good to say.' They were like, 'We need honesty. We're paying them a lot of money and we hope the show is good.' I thought I was fair on the show. When stuff was bad I was like, 'eh.' There was stuff I liked. It was the whole start of possibly the idea (of returning). It was just an idea. Working with good people. Everyone at FOX was so great."
Punk is scheduled to compete at AEW All Out against Darby Allin. Fightful will have live coverage of the event on Sunday, September 5, 2021, beginning at 7 p.m. EST.
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