Eric Bischoff Reacts To News Of CM Punk's WWE Royal Rumble Injury

With all positive momentum and opportunities in front of him following his shockingly triumphant return to WWE, CM Punk's injury, suffered in the men's Royal Rumble match, has been a huge blow to both the performer and the company. You simply have to feel bad for someone in such a situation, according to former WCW President Eric Bischoff. On "83 Weeks," Bischoff and Conrad Thompson spoke of Punk's injury and the derailment it's seemingly caused for WrestleMania plans and Bischoff expressed sympathy for Punk, even despite some criticisms he's levied in the past.

"I feel bad for CM Punk," he said. "I was not a huge fan of the way he conducted himself in AEW but he got a fresh start in WWE. The stories that could have been told, the opportunities that were there for him ... To go through this emotional roller coaster that he's been on, between the craziness at AEW and coming back to WWE and now this? I feel bad for him. I really do. I don't know how you couldn't feel bad for him."

Bischoff recognized the uphill battle Punk has to come back from injury, especially at 45 years old, with the understanding that triceps surgery comes with a lengthy rehabilitation period. "Once you get 35-38 years old," he noted, "things just don't heal as quickly so I hope the best for him."

Punk's loyal fans will be waiting

On the bright side, despite missing out on WrestleMania 40, Punk will have a new opportunity once he has healed and is ready for a return to the ring, along with plenty of time for build-up on the part of WWE to get his loyal fanbase excited. That, Bischoff insisted, though it may be hard to see right now, is something to lean into for Punk. "To be out of the picture for 4-6 months," Bischoff pondered, "[that] means he's gonna come back with another clean slate. If there is any good news for CM Punk, [it's] that loyal contingent of CM Punk fans that will still be there when he comes back."

Punk's return at Survivor Series in November set the wrestling world on fire and very quickly, he and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins appeared to be on a collision course that would logically culminate in a WrestleMania match between the two. Despite Cody Rhodes' second consecutive Royal Rumble win, most fans and pundits thought Punk would still find his way to Rollins, perhaps via the Elimination Chamber.

But the injury, suffered at the hands of Drew McIntyre and his Future Shock DDT, has thrown a wrench into all that and now, Bischoff says, the focus has to shift to healing and an optimistic outlook for Punk to write the next chapter of his career story the way he wants it to go. "Let's just hope that when he comes back," Bischoff said, "he's physically ready and can end his career on a high note. That's all you can hope for with a talent like that."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.