Former WWE Champion, CM Punk, made his long-awaited return to WWE via their talk show, WWE Backstage this past Tuesday on FS1.

Punk sat down with lead host and fellow commentator, Renee Young, to discuss everything from what brought him back to be involved in wrestling, his take on the current product, the lead up to his return and the question on everyone’s mind: “Will he come back to the ring?”

Punk was upfront, honest and very direct throughtout the sit-down. Below are key highlights to his responses:

Asked why he decided to take the job, Punk made the point that it’s a job that didn’t exist six months ago, let alone six years ago.

Emphasized the fact that he’s working for Fox, not WWE, and claimed that gives him a freedom to tell it like it is about the product and criticize it without getting in trouble.

He’s at a point in his life where he can do what he wants and doesn’t have to work with “jerks.”

He’s not against returning to the ring one day, but has no interest in returning any time soon, and “bridges will have to be built for that to happen”.

Revealed his ‘Inner Circle’ is small within the wrestling industry who knew about his return but did reveal he still talks to Good Ol’ JR, Jim Ross, one of the few who knew and has been a good friend and supporter throughout his career.

His opinion on the state of wrestling, six years after he left the business: “the product is just like it was when I left, and that wrestling could be so much better.”

He called the WWE product “overproduced” and “micromanaged” and added that he thinks characters have an easier time connecting with audiences when they’re developed by the performer themselves instead of scripted by Creative.

He called the women’s division a ‘bright spot’ in the current WWE, but expressed his disdain for all the “hashtag Women’s Evolution” branding: “Let the women be the women and they will show you why they kick ass and why they belong”.

He also spoke positively about NXT wrestlers, saying that he sees some of himself in them because he remembers being an indie guy in WWE Developmental and being told he’d never make it to TV.

As the show continued, Punk went at WWE in criticizing the product just like he said he would set out to do as he was part of various segment with fellow wrestling superstars, Booker T and Paige. And this is also where Punk took jabs and traded verbal quips with his co-hosts.

A clip of the King Corbin segment from last week’s Smackdown with the “Big Dog” fursuit character, and Punk was quick to call it “garbage” and say that it made him question being on the show. Even Paige backed him up that the segment was terrible.

He isn’t a fan of the new blue WWE Universal title to the point where he called it “the stupid blue title”.

Punk had only good things to say, however, about the WWE Championship match at Survivor Series between Brock Lesnar and Rey Mysterio. He likes seeing Lesnar motivated and is a huge fan of Mysterio so he’s looking forward to seeing that match. He also said saying the Chicago crowd, his hometown, will elevate the match and the match will elevate the show.

In the next segment Punk served as a judge for “Promo School” featuring guest David Arquette and Booker T. Punk seemed to be having a great time, joking around with everyone else on the show.

In another segment, Renee asked Punk if he had any advice for Seth Rollins. He said Rollins needs “to stop tweeting and remember the old adage that it’s better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” He wants Rollins to stop tweeting immediately and go on a hiatus — in reference to Rollins challenging him to a match. He also wanted to know Renee’s favorite Shield member – a quick jab in reference to her husband, the former Dean Ambrose.

The show ended with Punk responding to people calling him out on Twitter, in which he cut a promo on one of them: actor Tom Arnold, only to address it to Seth at the end. Which led Booker T accuse Punk of trying to get back in the ring.

Overall, say what you want about Punk’s return, but seeing him on the was definitely entertaining. He was relaxed, pulled no punches and promised on delivering honest criticism. The show is sure to garner ratings on his appearance alone and the rabid fanbase eagerly awaiting his return will tune in week after week ▪

photos: WWE On Fox