Why Eric Bischoff Believes WWE Has 'Checked Every Box' With CM Punk's Return

Eric Bischoff once referred to CM Punk as "the biggest financial flop in the history of wrestling" and routinely maligned "The Second City Savior" throughout his tumultuous AEW stint. Now that Punk has returned to WWE, Bischoff has drastically changed his stance on the financial value Punk brings to the table — in large part because he feels the veteran wrestler will be utilized properly by the WWE machine. 

"Well, it's working, right? Great reaction. It started out great," Bischoff said on his "83 Weeks" podcast. "A fantastically-timed surprise at the end of a PLE, as opposed to the beginning or somewhere in the middle. I thought it was so well done — story, anticipation, reality, surprise, and action. So far, WWE has checked, double-checked, and triple-checked each one of those boxes, with the exception of action," he added, "because we haven't seen that happen yet. But we all know that it will and at a pretty high level. So because they've checked every one of those boxes — not once, not twice, but three times — this is going to be huge."

While Bischoff has seen encouraging signs thus far, he plans to err on the side of caution due to Punk's previous flameouts from WWE and AEW, "It's going to be great for CM Punk, provided he doesn't melt down and do some stupid sh*t," he continued. "But if he keeps his act together and maintains a professional approach to this, he's going to be hotter than he ever was — and hats off to him. And hats off primarily to WWE, because they're doing it right."

'He ain't throwing his weight around backstage in WWE'

As for the "action" part of Bischoff's five boxes, Punk has yet to return to the squared circle, but the seeds for an inevitable match with Seth Rollins were planted on last night's "WWE Raw" — and the former WCW President is excited for the bout to headline Night One of WrestleMania 40. "I'm already convinced it's gonna be Seth and Punk," Bischoff said of WWE's plans for WrestleMania 40. "From the get-go — Seth's reaction outside the ring when Punk first showed up. Well done, by the way. It felt very real and believable, and perhaps some of it was. It's one of the great things about taking personal issues, being able to bring them into the ring, and turn the volume on them — and make them a part of the backstory or Act One to launch the story," he further contributed. "I think it's gonna be great. I'm convinced it's Punk and Seth on Night One and Cody [Rhodes] and Roman [Reigns] on Night Two. How could it be any better?"  

So, does Bischoff think Punk will have a fruitful WWE run beyond his match against Rollins? Bischoff has reason to be optimistic as he feels Punk won't be able to "bully" others backstage in WWE the way he allegedly did in AEW. "He ain't throwing his weight around backstage in WWE," Bischoff explained of the backstage dynamic in WWE. "The company's so much bigger than him — there's no room for that, and nobody will tolerate it." Bischoff added that, due to Punk's history, people in WWE "will be watching closely" to see if he "handles himself professionally" during his comeback. 

"There's no question the CM Punk character is viable and valuable. The question mark is: is Phil Brooks the professional he needs to be to make it work? I suspect and hope he probably is," Bischoff concluded.