On last night’s WWE Backstage, CM Punk made his shock return...
It’s a FOX show promoted in undefined association with WWE, in that, per PWInsider, FOX arranged the deal with WWE’s “personal blessing”.
The content of the show itself indicates—if it doesn’t reek of—collaboration. It is not a full-blown hour of detached, critical analysis; the criticisms of a deeply unpopular WWE product are framed nicey-nicey, in-canon WWE angles are furthered on the show, and the analysts appear in WWE and FOX capacities. It’s important to note that CM Punk’s role and speech will be in some way regulated.
And if we’re not in full-blown cahoots territory just yet, history tells us that we are not far off. Beyond pro wrestling’s oldest rule—nobody ever really leaves—these indirect associations with WWE are invariably the start of something. These associations accelerate that rule of inevitability, looking at Bret Hart’s 2006 Hall Of Fame induction and Goldberg’s negotiations with 2K a decade later.
If a CM Punk return was inevitable, because all returns are, it’s looking yet more inevitable now.