After spending the weekend getting wooed by SmackDown and NXT, CM Punk finally decided where to ply his craft in the WWE ecosystem.
The former WWE Champion made his choice on the Dec. 11 episode of Raw. As he stood in the ring with Raw general manager Adam Pearce, Punk chose the Monday Night brand as his home base.
This delighted the Cleveland crowd, but everyone wasn’t happy to see Punk.
What did Seth Rollins say to CM Punk when he confronted the returning star?
Shortly after Punk inked his name on the Raw contract, World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins sauntered to the ring. While Rollins wore his usual obnoxious outfit, it wasn’t accompanied by his equally annoying antics.
Instead, the champion stared a cavernous hole into Punk’s head before grabbing a microphone and airing his grievances about Punk during this Festivus season. He took umbrage with Punk calling the WWE “home” given what Punk has said about the promotion in the past and said that he hated the Chicago native in a tone that was only slightly less petulant than the one Anakin Skywalker used in the Star Wars prequels.
From there, Rollins spewed the usual sucker talk that top full-time WWE babyfaces espouse whenever they’re feuding with a part-timer; he talked about how Punk “abandoned” WWE and “wanted to tear [WWE] down”. He closed his rant by saying that he would expose Punk in a world title match someday if Punk didn’t “self-destruct” first.
In response, Punk told Rollins that he just used his lone free pass to disrespect him and announced his entry in the 2024 Men’s Royal Rumble, setting the stage for a potential CM Punk/Rollins match.
At this point, that seems like the direction WWE is going in, and it looks like the company is going to pit the fans who are happy to see Punk back against the ones who still resent him for leaving. Rollins put this in motion with his comments on Monday.
His gripes about Punk ditching WWE are exactly what you’d expect from someone who said that the lack of a unionized labor force in his industry had its benefits (while pointing to something that is not a benefit), and it will certainly annoy those who already see him as a pro-management shill.
But plenty of other fans — the ones who live and breathe WWE — will eat this up. And in a babyface vs. babyface feud, it’s fine to give each wrestler a convincing argument against the other that those fanbases can latch onto.
Yes, you risk diluting both babyfaces’ momentum — after all, WWE wants fans of Rollins to support Punk and vice versa once this feud ends — but Rollins and Punk are talented enough to navigate around any potential issues that arise from the potshots they take at each other.
We may have to wait a while before we see these two interact with one another again, but this was enough to satiate the fans until that next meeting happens.