HHH Talks CM Punk Return; Punk on Vince McMahon-AEW; Gronkowski at WrestleMania?

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2021

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2016, file photo, CM Punk stands in his corner before a welterweight bout at UFC 203 in Cleveland. Punk went 0-2 in UFC and has given himself until the new year to decide if he wants to keep fighting. Punk hopes to stick in the sport as a mixed martial arts announcer. (AP Photo/David Dermer, File)
David Dermer/Associated Press

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe. 

Triple H on When He Last Spoke to CM Punk

CM Punk hasn't stood inside a WWE ring since January 2014, but he remains a constant topic of conversation within the world of pro wrestling.

During an appearance on Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton) on Monday, WWE executive Triple H was asked about Punk.

As part of his answer, The Game revealed that he has spoken to Punk in the past two years:

"Last time I talked to [Punk]? A year-and-a-half...a year and three quarters ago? A funny thing that people constantly will say, when his return is or...but in some way, I don't know whether he does or not, but that has to be what he wants. When people talk about, they go, 'Make the call!' What says if we make the call he wants to answer? What says if we make the call he doesn't go, like, 'Yeah, I'm not interested in doing that anymore.' Maybe he's just done with it.

"I think that those are conversations that only those people can directly answer. I think if he wants to do it, either we would get word and we would have those conversations or he would make a call, or you know, anything like that, but there has to be a desire there to do something like that. This business is too all in to just go like, 'Ehhh, alright. I'll do it.'"

Punk didn't leave WWE on the best of terms in 2014, as he was injured and frustrated when he walked out. Nearly one year after he left WWE, he appeared on Colt Cabana's podcast The Art of Wrestling and trashed the company as well.

However, he may not be completely closed off to the idea of a WWE return at some point.

In 2019 and 2020, Punk indirectly returned to WWE by appearing on FS1's WWE Backstage to discuss the WWE product and give his thoughts and opinions.

He signed a contract with Fox rather than WWE, so it wasn't an actual return, but it may have been evidence that Punk was willing to listen if the right opportunity came along.

One thing that could potentially increase WWE's interest in bringing Punk back is the existence of a competitor in AEW. While AEW is still far away from truly challenging WWE in terms of size, scope and influence, signing Punk would be a huge move.

At the very least, Triple H's comments on Pardon My Take show that WWE is open for business and willing to speak with Punk if a reunion makes sense for both sides.


Punk Talks Jericho Appearing on WWE's 'Broken Skull Sessions'

One of the biggest pieces of news in wrestling over the past week is the fact that current AEW star Chris Jericho is set to appear on WWE programming when he takes part in a Broken Skull Sessions interview with WWE Hall of Famer "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

WWE shocked the wrestling world with the announcement last week, and fans of both WWE and AEW are intrigued to see what Austin and Jericho discuss when the interview hits the Peacock streaming service Sunday.

During an interview with TMZ Sports on Monday, Punk was asked to give his thoughts on the surprising decision to allow Jericho on Broken Skull Sessions.

Punk called it "interesting" before adding: "Honestly, my major reaction and opinion on it is I think that it shows [WWE Chairman] Vince McMahon isn't afraid of AEW at all because if he was, he wouldn't allow that to happen."

It is often said that McMahon lives inside a WWE bubble and isn't necessarily privy to or worried about anything else that is happening in the wrestling world.

Having Jericho on a WWE show while he is working for the competition may be proof of that. It also shows that Vince likely has no hard feelings about the fact that Jericho decided to join AEW rather than staying with the company he became a huge star in over the course of two decades.

Aside from Jericho being on the show, there is intrigue surrounding what will be discussed and whether AEW will be among the topics.

Punk said he expects mostly "softball questions" about Jericho's time in WWE with only a mention of AEW rather than delving deeply into it.

The 42-year-old Punk added: I don't know if they're going to ask Jericho all the tough questions—and nor do I think that they possibly should."

Regardless of what is asked, Jericho being back on WWE programming in any capacity is a huge deal, and a large contingent of the wrestling-watching audience is sure to be viewing.


Triple H Leaves Door Open for Gronk to Appear at WrestleMania

Rob Gronkowski served as the host of WrestleMania 36 last year after signing a contract with WWE, but his time in wrestling was shortlived after he returned to the NFL.

The decision paid dividends for Gronk, as the future Hall of Fame tight end was traded from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he reunited with quarterback Tom Brady and helped the Bucs win Super Bowl LV.

It is unclear when or if Gronk will return to wrestling, but Triple H revealed Monday that he is still being talked about within the world of WWE.

On Pardon My Take (h/t H Jenkins of Ringside News), Triple H suggested it isn't outside the realm of possibility that Gronkowski could appear at WrestleMania 37 this weekend:

"It's a possibility. I know it's been discussed. I'm of the opinion that as the first opportunity with Gronk was happening and we were meeting with him around the Super Bowl, you kind of don't know what Gronk is going to do until Gronk does what he's going to do. You can have a lot of conversations, but until he actually shows up, I don't know if it's going to happen. There have been conversations around that. As always, there's going to be a lot of celebrity influence."

It would make plenty of sense for Gronk to appear at WrestleMania, not only because he hosted and won the 24/7 Championship last year, but because of where it is being held.

WrestleMania 37 will take place this weekend at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, which is the home of the Buccaneers.

Gronkowski would likely get a huge reaction from Bucs fans in attendance, as he played a big role in Tampa winning the Super Bowl by catching two touchdown passes in the Buccaneers' 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gronk has already signed on to return to the Bucs next season, so his WWE career will have to wait, but it could be mutually beneficial for him and WWE for Gronkowski to show up at WrestleMania 37.

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