Randy Orton Thought CM Punk WWE Return Was A Joke

Randy Orton CM Punk

Randy Orton made his return to a WWE ring for the first time in over a year at Survivor Series but his comeback was slightly overshadowed thanks to CM Punk.

May 2022 was the last time WWE fans had seen Orton compete in the ring but back issues got the better of him and forced him to have surgery that led to 18 months out of action.

Orton returned to WWE at Survivor Series as part of the men’s WarGames match but WWE had given the game away due to speculation that CM Punk could also be making an unthinkable return to the company in his hometown of Chicago.

Speaking to Justin Barrasso for Sports Illustrated, Randy Orton revealed that his comeback to WWE was supposed to be the big surprise at Survivor Series but as the rumors surrounding CM Punk grew, WWE had to make a choice and so gave it away that he’d be back for WarGames:

I was supposed to be a surprise in WarGames at Survivor Series. All these CM Punk rumors started a month prior, and everyone thought since we were in Chicago for Survivor Series that CM Punk would be the surprise. So they had Cody a week before WarGames say that he had a friend–me–that was going to come. The surprise was spoiled all because Punk was rumored to be there, and WWE didn’t want people to be p*ssed.

Randy Orton then explained that he was getting ready for the match when Triple H dropped the bombshell that he would not be the only return at Survivor Series but admitted that he thought Punk’s comeback was a joke:

The day of Survivor Series, I’m about to get my boots on. I’m feeling the nerves, it had been a year and a half. Triple H is like, ‘Hey Randy, I’ve got to talk to you for a second.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, what’s up, man?’ So he told me a couple things. And then he went, ‘One more thing, Punk’s returning tonight.’

I thought he was f—— with me. I said, ‘You’re joking,’ and he was like, ‘No, I’m not. This is something that just happened in the last few days, yada yada yada.’

Randy Orton Could Have Made An Issue Of WWE Return

CM Punk made his grand return to WWE at the end of the show with the winners of the WarGames match still in the ring. Seth Rollins made his vociferous feelings known about CM Punk as referees held him back from confronting the former AEW Star.

Randy Orton then explained how much he’s grown as a competitor and as a person, as he concedes that in his younger days, his return to the ring being somewhat overshadowed would have left him less than happy:

I was so excited for this surprise return. That’s never really been the case. They’ve always kind of stooged off the fact I was returning; they wanted those views. So I’d never had that surprise return.

I could have been really p*ssed, and old Randy would have been p*ssed. It was a defining moment for me. I went out there, we had a great WarGames match, everybody was excited that I returned, everybody was excited that Punk returned, and neither return stepped on each other. It was a testament to how much I’d grown. It would have been an issue only if I made it one, so I was proud of the way I handled it.

Randy Orton will have the chance to take CM Punk’s presumed place at WrestleMania with Punk out of action with a torn triceps. Orton will clash with LA Knight, Bobby Lashley, Kevin Owens, Logan Paul, and Drew McIntyre inside the Elimination Chamber in Australia. The winner will claim a WrestleMania 40 match with Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship.