CM Punk: Returning To Wrestling Is One Thing, Returning To WWE Is A Different Animal

CM Punk talks about his nerves before his return to WWE Raw in Cleveland, the site of his 2014 WWE departure.

CM Punk returned to WWE at WWE Survivor Series 2023 in his hometown of Chicago. One of the earliest stops in his return run was the December 11 episode of WWE Raw in Cleveland. Cleveland was, of course, the site of his departure from WWE in 2014 where he walked out on WWE and wouldn't return to pro wrestling until his AEW debut in 2021 at AEW Rampage: The First Dance.

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Speaking with Jackie Redmond on The Jackie Redmond Show, Punk spoke candidly about his nerves, saying that while he's had pivotal career moments in that building, returning to WWE is a different animal altogether as opposed to returning to professional wrestling overall.

"100% of CM Punk was nervous. Returning to wrestling is one thing. Returning to WWE is a completely different animal," he said. "I didn’t know how things would go. It’s not like I was off TV for a super long time, but you still, as a performer, you’re like, ‘Is anyone going to remember me?’ I was legit in an arena that had not been kind to me throughout my career. My first UFC fight was in that building. It was also hugely cathartic because I’m very much a guy who, if you ask me if I’m ready, I’m going to tell you ‘no’ because part of the juice is being in front of a live crowd. I’m the old guy on the ice now. I can stretch and warm up and I’m not going to be ready until I’m on the ice, the whistle blows, and the puck drops. Now, I’m ready. I need to be in front of the crowd and I need to see the red light on the camera and it’s like, ‘Okay, now, it’s go time.’"

The next time CM Punk will be in front of a crowd will be on the January 22 episode of WWE Raw in New Orleans. He will be in the ring for the first time on a WWE pay-per-view in 10 years when he enters the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble on his personal Road to WrestleMania.

Fans can check out the full card for the WWE Royal Rumble here.

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