If this is the best the creative squad could come up with in regards to making a big impact on CM Punk's return to WWE, it's no wonder he has spent so much time away and apparently has been in no rush to come back.
On tonight's (May 27) episode of Monday Night Raw in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Chris Jericho brought Paul Heyman on as a guest for the "Highlight Reel." During the show within a show, Jericho called out Punk and said he wants to have a match with him at the Payback pay-per-view (PPV) on Sun., June 16, 2013, at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois, Punk's hometown.
Heyman, on Punk's behalf, accepted.
So, apparently, the match is now on. WWE even when so far as to put it on the company website, though the preview for it is written to cast doubt on whether or not Punk will actually show up:
... But despite The Second City Saint's absence from the squared circle, Jericho still found a way to make his challenge to the absentee Punk stick by manipulating Paul Heyman into accepting on his client's behalf during an intense session of "The Highlight Reel."
So now, for the first time in a long time, CM Punk - wherever he is - finds himself backed into a corner. With Jericho competing (and winning) on a weekly basis, the MIA "Best in the World" finds himself facing a Hall of Fame-caliber Superstar who's riding high off his second win. And with that rhythmically-gifted, figurative monkey finally off his back, Jericho's confidence is about as high as it's ever going to be (it doesn't bode well for Punk that their last, one-off encounter nearly ended with Y2J victorious as well).
As for Punk ... who knows? Maybe he'll show up at Payback. Maybe he'll show up before then. And, of course, maybe he won't. Maybe Jericho's counting on that, of exposing the man who humbled him on the highest pedestal of their shared profession as a broken man; of being able to defeat him simply by way of his absence.
Again, this would be a very disappointing way to go about bringing Punk back, or at least the announcement of as much. WWE would want to promote him appearing in a match in Chicago as early as possible, though, so it makes sense. And it's not like he doesn't have great chemistry with Jericho and the two won't absolutely tear the house down.
It just feels really anticlimactic considering the nature of his exit some six weeks ago.
Punk himself would likely shake his head at this and tell us all to wait and find out what happens. That's what we'll do in the end anyway, so let's do just that.
Here's the updated Payback PPV line-up:
- John Cena vs. Ryback (3 Stages of Hell for the WWE championship)
- CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho