The UFC 170 main event featuring Ronda Rousey defeating Sara McMann was supposed to steal all of the headlines on Saturday night, but the appearances of WWE Superstars CM Punk and Stone Cold Steve Austin have people talking about them.
Punk was seen in the front row sitting next to UFC owner Dana White, via Twitter user Zack Deporte, but White stated that the two men were not talking business. According to TMZ, White stated, “He is a friend and a fan. We have literally never talked about wrestling or fighting or anything else work related since I've known him.”
The former straight-edge WWE champion told UFC announcer Joe Rogan about his thoughts on the main event stoppage at the conclusion of the fight, according to WrestlingInc.com, “I looked down at CM Punk who was sitting cageside, and he looked at me and said, 'good stoppage’ And I agree, good stoppage.”
MMA star Rener Gracie confirmed to Fox Sports that Punk had been training in MMA and thought he had a very bright future if he dedicated himself to the sport full time. These comments only added fuel to the swirling rumors.
Punk has not been seen on WWE television since the Jan. 27 Raw following the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, and rumors have circulated that the former champion quit the company outright and this was not part of a storyline.
WWE CEO Vince McMahon made his first comments on the situation on Thursday during a conference call with company investors. McMahon said, via Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc., “He's taking a sabbatical, let's just put it that way."
While Punk’s status with the company is uncertain, legend Stone Cold Steve Austin’s appearance was far less shrouded in mystery. The always-entertaining Austin took the time to sit in premium seats and drink a few beers while talking to MMA stars like Urijah Faber, via Twitter user Jorge Romero:
Twitter user Jillian also shared a photo of Austin pounding a beer before the main event:
It is not uncommon for wrestlers to attend UFC shows. Brock Lesnar’s jump from the WWE to UFC has eased the tension between the two companies, and Superstars attending MMA shows have created much-needed buzz at times for WWE.
Whether it was the hype created when Lesnar was called out by former foe Alistair Overeem in early February, via Sherdog.com, or the buzz now with Punk coming out of hiding to attend Saturday’s PPV, the WWE has capitalized on the mainstream notoriety of the UFC.
There is no question that wrestling is more entreating with Punk on screen and in action, and the hope is that his public appearance at UFC 170 will eventually lead to the Superstar’s return to the WWE.
Since Punk was in the same building as Austin, let the speculation begin about a possible feud between the two men. Austin had commented on Punk’s rumored decision to leave the WWE on The Arsenio Hall Show last month—Stone Cold left the company in similar fashion in 2002—and stated that he believed Punk should come back eventually.
It’s a long shot, but if Punk did leave due to his unhappiness with his position on the WrestleMania card, one way to appease him would be to book the dream match between the beer-drinking legend and the straight-edge superstar.
Either way, the WWE Universe just wants Punk back.
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