For weeks, rumors swirled that CM Punk would return to WWE at the 2023 Survivor Series in Chicago. And as we all know, those rumors turned out to be completely false:
But if by some chance Punk did make it back to the promotion, he’d never wrestle Triple H, who retired after a heart attack.
As for other WWE executives, all bets are off. Recall, if you would, his inexplicable bout with Vince McMahon himself in the middle of Punk’s historic title reign.
Back in October 2012, Mr. Man was to deliver his State of the Dubbi-Ub-Gee address.
Or, for English-speakers, Mr. McMahon was to deliver his State of the WWE address.
The Chairman explained that WWE was a place with a lot of colorful characters: leprechauns, dancers, luchadors, vegans…
WWE had everything: “action, drama, pathos, humor, you name it”. It borrowed from such programming niches like soap operas like The Days of Our Lives, or music videos such as those on MTV, or… sorry, wrong speech.
But here was the important part: More than anything, WWE had action. It was where the world’s greatest athletes competed, where champions took on all comers, where the best went up against the best.
Actually, this didn’t sound important at all — everyone knew this already. So CM Punk interrupted him.
Right off the bat, McMahon told Punk his t-shirt was ugly.
But Punk had a bigger gripe — Vince deliberately snubbed him by mentioning “the best of the best” without using Punk’s name.
Punk paranoid? Hey, whatever’d get him over as a heel.
Punk said Vince didn’t respect him despite Punk making WWE a multi-billion dollar company…
…then slapped McMahon right in the face. Vince went down like a ton of bricks…
…and when he got back to his feet, he threatened to fire Punk. But instead, he would give him his own two-hour TV show.
I mean, he’d fight him and teach him some respect.
Backstage, Paul Heyman advised CM Punk to beat Vince so badly that he couldn’t run the company anymore. With that in mind, CM Punk rushed Vince before the bell…
…while JBL praised Punk for doing whatever it took to beat the indomitable McMahon. Michael Cole, on the other hand, pleaded that Vince was 67 years old and hadn’t wrestled in two and a half years.
But JBL was right! Sure enough, the senior citizen chairman rose to his feet, speared the WWE champion…
…and punched him out.
It took some of that martial arts crap to knock Vince down.
Punk smashed the boss’s head repeatedly against the announce table…
…then grabbed a headset to yell “What a maneuver!” as Vince had done so many times on Monday Night Raw. One thousand thirty-eight times to be exact.
I know. I went back and counted.
Cole called it an old man versus the best wrestler in the world, but JBL insisted it was a fair fight. And once again, JBL was right!
McMahon broke out of a GTS and pushed Punk into a ring post. The Chairman continued to surprise viewers by fighting on despite a bloody eye; I was surprised dust didn’t pour out of him.
Vince chucked Punk across the announcers’ table like a sack of garbage…
…told him that he’d beat some respect into him…
…dove over the table…
…and beat Punk over the head with a microphone as the reigning WWE champion struggled to cover up.
McMahon continued to toy with Punk, throwing him into the ring, circling him, and retrieving a kendo stick.
This was the last straw for the champion, who retreated and called for his WWE title belt.
But Vince was having none of it, knocking down Heyman…
…drawing a proverbial line in the sand…
…and kicking the WWE title out of the ring like a dog turd.
He and CM Punk then got into a stick fight, which McMahon naturally won.
Staring down the business end of a kendo stick, Punk begged McMahon for mercy.
Just about the only thing Vince hadn’t done to CM Punk at this point was spank him. Fortunately, it wouldn’t come to that…
…as CM Punk hit the boss right in his VM Junk. He had perpetuated a ruse!
Now on the offensive for the first time in five minutes, Punk wielded dual kendo sticks, then attempted the GTS.
But when Ryback came to the rescue, CM Punk once again fled the ring. Granted, he didn’t look nearly as scared as when he ran away from Vince, but it was still a wuss move.
John Cena then threw Punk right back into the ring, but he again escaped Ryback’s onslaught and hightailed it into the crowd.
On the mic, Vince gloated about teaching Punk about respect, then gave him two choices for his Hell in a Cell opponent: John Cena or Ryback.
How very gracious of McMahon to give the younger guys a shot, when he could have easily won the title for himself!
This segment wasn’t a total loss for CM Punk, who got some heat back by punching a fan.
But the bad optics remained: the WWE champion for 323 days and counting had gotten his ass thoroughly kicked by a 67-year-old executive.
And for some unfathomable reason, WWE commemorated the occasion with action figures.
While Punk would later beat up three executives at once to avenge this humiliation…
…what’s infuriating about this whole episode is that we never did learn the state of WWE.