It never fails. Whenever there's a dull moment in a WWE broadcast, the live fans in attendance bust it out. It's obviously more common in Chicago and the surrounding American Midwest, but it's nearly as ubiquitous (and about as grating) as the "What?!" chant that also infects the weekly shows.
"CM Punk! CM Punk! CM Punk!"
They repeat this loudly, perhaps convinced that it will piss off Vince McMahon, who fired Punk on his wedding day and, according to the former Straight Edge Superstar on Colt Cabana's Art of Wrestling podcast, has never reached out to personally apologize. They might be trying to troll Triple H, whom Punk has a longstanding resentment towards—for not putting him over when he was white-hot and never liking him from the start.
But it also demonstrates a desire for CM Punk to return to WWE and pick up right where he left off: as a pipe-bomb threatening, straight-edge advocating, pot-stirring rebel.
He's not coming back to WWE—certainly not in 2019, and perhaps not ever.
There's too much bad blood, for one. After his Colt Cabana podcast interview, in which he lambasted the WWE medical staff for its lack of attentiveness, CM Punk was sued by WWE senior ringside physician Christopher Amann. The physician lost the case, but the whole thing smacked of corporate intimidation—of a company that would drive an honest former star to potential ruin if it meant that it could preserve its image in the press.
Punk himself has expressed no desire to go back to WWE. And he reiterated this in a November 2018 interview with MMAFighting's Marc Raimondi, in which he compared the efforts of WWE to the efforts of the Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes, who were rumored to be starting their own indy promotion:
"And I'm in a spot now where I've been gone what, five years? Maybe the place has changed. I've got people who text me and say otherwise, but there's ways to make money and support your family outside of that. With also being able to satisfy the side of your brain that's creative, the side of your brain that loves professional wrestling, the reason you bought a pair of boots in the first place.
"And I think those guys can definitely do that. I think they can command their price if they want there. But if they did go there, then they'd just be another guy—just like everybody else on that show. It's amazing, the more time the show gets, the less time it really seems they develop new characters."
It seems that he has warmed a tiny bit; he made sure to clarify, later in the interview, that "pro wrestling is not on my radar." But he also didn't rule out the possibility of an appearance with a non-WWE promotion, either, saying "I would always listen" while pointing out that a formal offer has never been made.
So a WWE hug-and-kiss session is out. A pro wrestling appearance of any sort is iffy. Dana White said in a post-fight press conference that Punk's UFC career is also over, citing his age and his two losses, first to Mickey Gall and second to Mike Johnson.
So what will CM Punk be doing in 2019?
Short answer: Whatever he damn well pleases. He could write more Thor comics. He could commentate on more MMA matches. He could sit at his home in Chicago and spend time with his family. He could take any and all opportunities presented to him. He could follow the Chicago Blackhawks for the rest of the NHL season.
Punk is in a position in which people rarely find themselves; he has both the money and the time to do whatever he wants.
But professional wrestling is seemingly not in the cards. And WWE fans are wasting both time and emotional energy keeping a candle lit for the guy.