Just when it seemed the wrestling world had moved on from CM Punk. When chants of his name were not so much out of popular demand as they were signs of boredom.
When the only remnants of Phil Brooks were random (read: awkward) appearances on the Talking Dead, on the big screen of a live sporting event or vicariously through long-time friend Natalie Slater's blog, which ironically complained of his suffocating fame.
When will CM Punk return to WWE?
But with WWE's overnight megastar, Daniel Bryan, out with injury just as quickly as he rose, and a roster that has once again been exposed as thin, talk has drummed up of CM Punk's imminent return.
I'd be remiss if I didn't paint these rumors as unlikely if not impossible. Punk darted off in a huff during the thick of WWE's most important time of the year. The last time he appeared in the dirt sheets, we learned how much he resents being famous.
In the heat of the moment, a panicked Vince McMahon could pick up a phone and offer Punk $10 million to return on a limited-dates schedule before changing his mind, calling him back and telling him to never show his face around Titan Towers again.
Then, of course, call back and offer him $11 million as a peace offering on top of another limited-dates contract.
And Punk is just as likely to turn it down.
CM Punk walked out in the dead of WrestleMania season. Money is the last thing on his mind—an inconvenient truth that Punkers (please use this term to shame those who actually think Punk is coming back) refuse to accept.
With Payback in Punk's hometown of Chicago, speculation will only grow as the pay-per-view nears.
Currently, the top matches look to be exclusively composed of rematches from Extreme Rules. WWE will need something different to entice subscribers as well as the endangered species known as pay-per-view customers.
But that something won't be CM Punk. CM Punk is Phil Brooks now. Phil likes sports and women. He reads comic books, his (unofficial) publicist is some food blogger he used to date, he has a fiancee (from F4WOnline via SEScoops) and he watches The Walking Dead.
What Phil doesn't do these days, is wrestle.