According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton), WWE is "pretty negative" about the thought of Punk coming back. Meltzer added there is "a lot of bitterness" from WWE against Punk.
Punk walked out of WWE following the 2014 Royal Rumble match and stayed out of wrestling for several years before recently returning in a different capacity as an analyst on FS1's WWE Backstage studio show.
While Punk hasn't pushed for an in-ring return publicly, he hasn't completely shut down the possibility of having another match, either.
Last week on Swings & Mrs. (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Jason Ounpraseuth), he discussed what it would take to convince him to return to the ring: "I get that question a lot, and it changes. It's a very fluid answer. Currently, if the business was right and I had somebody that motivated me across the ring from me, I think I might be able to get it done, but nobody's dangled the right carrot."
Punk also mentioned three WWE Superstars and a New Japan Pro-Wrestling star as wrestlers he would be interested in facing:
"As far as people that I've worked with before, I think if there was a clean slate so to speak, if the money was right. I think a guy like Daniel Bryan. I would go, 'Oh, OK, I'll listen to your idea.' If you said John Cena, I'll probably listen to your idea. Rey Mysterio, I'll listen to your idea. For people I haven't ever wrestled before, I think Will Ospreay, I'll listen to your idea. Like I said, there's a lot of moving parts."
Rumors have swirled regarding a Punk in-ring return at various points since he took the gig on WWE Backstage, but there is no indication that he has even talked with WWE about possibly coming back.
Per PWInsider (h/t Middleton), Punk and WWE have not communicated, and there has been "no internal talk" within WWE about bringing him back.
Of any free-agent wrestler in the world, the 41-year-old Punk would unquestionably make the biggest splash since he has been out of the game for so long. He was a five-time world champion and a bona fide main eventer during his WWE run, and his mix of in-ring and mic skills made him arguably the best all-around performer in the world at that time.
There is no guarantee he will be able to perform at the level if and when he does return to wrestling, but WWE would be wise to explore the possibility of bringing him back—both to bolster its own product and keep him away from other companies such as NJPW and AEW.
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