Now that enough time has passed since he kinda sorta announced his retirement and even went so far as claiming he will "never ever, ever, ever" return to WWE (though playfully so), CM Punk talk has slowly but surely faded into the background. That doesn't mean it's gone for good, however, and every now and again there comes along a conversation worth reading and/or listening to.
Such was the case when Mick Foley joined Stone Cold Steve Austin on the latter's podcast, The Steve Austin Show.
Foley: "I don't know. Everyone comes back. If there's an exception to the rule, it would be him. But the secret for Punk, and, honestly, I haven't talked to him... the last time I had an interaction with him was the night of the Rumble and he said he might not be back, and he didn't show up. He's gotta find something he loves as much as this. Because, you know, it's really hard to replace. I don't know if he's... if he's got that in his life he doesn't need to come back. He's made all the money he's ever gonna need. I don't know if he's going to get the itch. You know, you don't get to be as good as Punk was without loving it. And if you love it, there's really only one place to be, there (in WWE). Unless he wants to just be the guy who makes an absolute killing on the independent scene and working comic book conventions and making a handsome living that way."
Austin: "Interesting spot that he's in. Because are you totally fed up with the way things are being done that you remove yourself fom the whole picture? Because if it's what you love -- and I know he loves the business. I'm not speaking for him. I haven't talked to him in a year. How do you take yourself out of the equation. I did. When I got a gut full and took my ball and went home, and I've talked about that a million times. But, you know, Jim Ross sent me a card in the mail and I jumped at the chance to come back and, you know, get it while I could. You gotta make hay while the sun shines. He ain't making hay right now. You can only make hay so long."
Foley: "I don't believe I've ever shared this. When I was making the decision to do the thing with Ambrose before the doctors stepped in and told me I'd had my last match, that grass roots thing was really resonating with the top guys in the company. Punk, Cena, they liked it; it was different. Punk wanted to be a part of it. I remember parking outside an arena and texting him. And I said 'how...', I didn't know how exactly how old he was, he was 12 years younger than me. I said, '12 years from now, do you envision yourself coming back after a three year layoff to do a segment that is intentionally bad, referring to me coming back to do the 'This is Your Life, John Cena' spot. And he said 'no'. And I said, 'that will give you some indication how far I've fallen from my ideals.' And I will always regret that I let myself fall that far and that I didn't stand up and fight that one. I get the call and it is a pretty unusual idea, and under other circumstances, had I been back a while, I would have been glad to have done a segment that was purposely bad. If I remember correctly, I would go out there and I would say 'watch this, Steve', and then I would tank an interview just so you could tell me Jack Lanza's reaction backstage. ... But my first time back to be in a segment that was intentionally bad, it was a real blow to everything that I thought I had stood for. I remember Punk saying he wouldn't be that guy. I don't know if he's going to come back if it's less than ideal and if he does come back, he becomes that guy he hated. If he becomes that guy collecting the part time check than he gets the last laugh but he does it at the expense of his ideals."