A new report says that multi-time world champion CM Punk recently auditioned for a role on WWE's new FOX Sports 1 studio show, WWE Backstage. While it sometimes seems like a lifetime ago in the fast-paced world of pro wrestling, Punk spent about five years at or near the top of the WWE mountain, winning quite the stack of championships along the way. Blessed with natural charisma, a way with words, and top-shelf in-ring talent, Punk was unquestionably one of the most popular stars in WWE.
Punk won his first world championship in 2008, cashing in Money in the Bank to take the title off of Edge. While that first reign ended in underwhelming fashion, by the summer of 2009, Punk was one of the hottest acts in WWE. His popularity reached a new high in 2011, as WWE staged a reality-tinged story in which Punk, unhappy with WWE management, won the WWE Championship from John Cena and (briefly) ditched the company. Punk was still a main event player in 2014, and was rumored for a WrestleMania match against Triple H before abruptly exiting WWE the day after the Royal Rumble.
To say Punk and WWE parted on bad terms would be an understatement, as he went on to very publicly trash the company, ultimately leading to dueling lawsuits. Yet, the wrestling business is famous for being one in which fences can always be mended if money is to be made. It's unclear if Punk has any plans to resume his career as an active wrestler, but PW Insider reports that he recently auditioned for a role on WWE's new studio show WWE Backstage. Airing on FOX Sports 1, the show will be hosted by Renee Young and Booker T, and follows SmackDown's move to the FOX broadcast network.
Despite how acrimoniously Punk's prior business relationship with WWE ended, it's important to note that during a recent appearance at the Starrcast III convention, Punk said he'd be willing to at least hear WWE out if they called him with an offer to return. Also important to note though is that WWE Backstage is actually being produced by FOX Studios, and not WWE itself. Therefore, if Punk did indeed sign on for a role on the show, he would technically be earning a paycheck from FOX and not WWE.
As surreal as it would be for fans to see Punk back on any programming associated with WWE, such a gig would of course in no way guarantee Punk eventually stepping back in a WWE ring. He hasn't wrestled since 2014, and his sojourn into UFC fighting didn't go well. It's unclear if Punk, a man famously good with his money, is even interested in returning to the constant physical grind of a WWE schedule. Then again, he could always try to get a Brock Lesnar-type deal. At 40-years-old though, the window on Punk performing at his former level might be closing.
Source: PW Insider