Renee Paquette has revealed that she would love to see CM Punk return to professional wrestling, admitting it would be an ‘absolute shame’ if he does not.
During a recent interview with Metro, the former WWE announcer discussed her time onscreen with CM Punk on ‘WWE Backstage’. During the early days of the show, Paquette invited the former WWE Champion to join the panel. Renee recalls that, much to everyone’s surprise, Punk would accept.
“As soon as we started putting Backstage together and figuring out who was gonna be on the show, how the show was gonna work and all that – we’re like, ‘Man, if we get CM Punk that would be amazing!’ We’re like ‘There’s no way! No way we’re gonna get Punk!’ Then the more we talked – I’d not spoken to Punk in years, years! So to reach out to him and be like ‘Hey, do you wanna talk about this idea?’
Just to get to hear ‘Cult of Personality’ kick in again within that studio space was like ‘Oh my God!’ You look at the history between Joe and Punk, to have him there was really special. Adam Cole was our guest on the show that week, and he grew up a big CM Punk fan as well.”
Renee also remembers an initial panic amongst producers at WWE Backstage. In order to keep Punk’s appearance on the show as low key as possible, only a handful of people on set were aware of his presence. Paquette recalls the initial mild panic upon CM Punk’s return:
“I guess there was somebody in the control room. I think maybe five people on the whole set knew that Punk was coming, like executives, to me, to Punk.
But yeah, somebody in the control room was like, ‘Who approved this?!’ They started freaking out because they didn’t know that he’d signed a contract and we’re good! ‘That whole experience was really, really fun. I wish that we could have kept the show going long and kept working together, because it really was a lot of fun getting to work with him again.”
CM Punk’s involvement with ‘WWE Backstage’ marked the first time the ‘Best in the World’ had appeared on WWE television since 2014. In one of the most infamous WWE exits of all time, CM Punk left a taping of Raw, allegedly telling Chairman Vince McMahon he was “going home”. Punk would publicly air his grievances with WWE, from working hurt to alleging he was fired on his wedding day.
Although walking away from professional wrestling more than seven years ago, fans often speculate a potential return of the ‘Voice of the Voiceless’. Seemingly, when a big debut or return is announced within wrestling, CM Punk’s name is at the top of speculated lists online.
Paquette would go on to admit that she hopes for an in-ring return from Punk sooner rather than later. Pointing out Punk’s ventures outside of professional wrestling, such as MMA, film and television, Renee feels that underneath it all, CM Punk still holds a desire to return to the squared circle:
“I think it would be an absolute shame if he did not come back. Like you said, that passion is still there! He’s a wrestler! He is a wrestler through and through. Whether he was busy doing movies or TV shows or other aspirations that he has, I think at the end of the day wrestling is the thing that makes that guy tick.
I think for him to not come back in some capacity, whatever creative he ends up working out that he really wants to do – I think ultimately, that that’s what it would come down to for him, is finding that great creative.”
CM Punk himself has occasionally teased a potential in-ring return, even making a brief appearance under a mask in 2019 for MKE Wrestling. Speaking with Paquette on an episode of ‘Oral Sessions’ in later 2020, Punk revealed what it would take to coax him back inside the ring:
“Without wanting to insult anybody, on either side of the fence, any WWE talent or AEW talent, it would take – above all – an interesting scenario, a story that would be fun to tell. I’ll play Devil’s advocate. Also, just the stupidest amount of money. So that’s one thing. If they’re like, ‘Hey, we’ve got no idea for you, we’re going to put you through the same stupid s*** where the creative’s going to stink and it’s not going to be fun – but here’s $100m, you’ve got to look at that like, ‘Well…’ Risk versus reward, you know what I mean?”
Though no official plans have been announced for a potential return for a wrestling company, Punk seems to lean toward AEW, rather than his former home in WWE:
“I think there’s more interesting people on the AEW side of things for me to wrestle, but that’s just because I’ve never wrestled them before – Young Bucks, Kenny Omega. Talking about your husband, I look at that and I go, ‘Well, I wrestled him already.’ So, it’s just less interesting than something new.
On the WWE side of things, I don’t know that there’s anybody there currently that I haven’t wrestled that I would be interested in wrestling.”
‘The Best in the World’ may not be looking to return any time soon, however CM Punk’s name continues to be a highly discussed topic amongst wrestling fans.
Credit for Interview: Metro