CM Punk is back in WWE! Former five time champion makes shock return to close Survivor Series after nine years away from the company following controversial AEW release… just moments after Randy Orton’s return after 18 months

The headlines after the WWE Survivor Series were all about Randy Orton’s return as the credits started rolling – but then CM Punk’s music hit.

The Chicago native’s music struck at the last minute during WWE’s pay-per-view broadcast, returning one of the industry’s biggest names of this millennium to the company he left with so much bad blood in 2014 .

Now 45, Punk ends his nine-year exile from WWE after a few years with the second largest wrestling promotion in the world, AEW. He had not wrestled fully for seven years before appearing in Tony Khan’s promotion.

He originally left WWE the night after the Royal Rumble in 2014, citing creative frustrations, but also anger over the lack of medical care he had received at the time.

The possibilities for Punk’s return seem endless. Will he challenge Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal heavyweight title? Will he team up with Seth Rollins, a man who is scathing at the mere mention of him in interviews?

CM Punk has been one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling for the past 15 years

CM Punk is the main headline, but here’s how the rest of the card played out before his triumphant return.

War Games: Damage CTRL (Bayley, Asuka, Kairi Sane and Iyo SKY) vs. Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, Shotzi Blackheart

Iyo SKY repeated history when she eliminated the entire field of women with a dive from the top of the cage with a trash can over her head, just like in her NXT days.

Not to be outdone, Charlotte Flair hit a moonsault from the top of the cage, eliminating all of her opponents.

Flair stood next to Becky Lynch; two women with an important history as rivals in the ring and tense friends outside of it. The two women eventually embraced in the middle of the ring to blow the roof off Chicago’s Allstate Arena and show that they are on the same page.

The ladies showed that if they are on the same page, no one can beat them. Lynch would score the win after putting Bayley through a table with a ManHandle slam from the top rope.

Gunther v The Miz – WWE Intercontinental Title

Another intercontinental title defense from Gunther, another victory.

This clash didn’t have the same amount of power as some of Gunther’s other five-star rivalries, but it was still Miz’s best match in a while. A low blow and a crushing finish left us believing Miz could win, but in the end the former eight-time champion submitted to Boston Crab.

Santos Escobar vs. Dragon Lee

WWE wanted to achieve two goals here: solidify Santos Ecobar’s turn to the dark side with strong performances and highlight Dragon Lee as an emerging susperstar.

Lee took it to Escobar with gusto, but it should come as no surprise that the former LWO man nefariously gained the upper hand before taking the win. A date with the legendary Rey Mysterio is looming further down the road for Escoabr.

Rhea Ripley v Zoey Stark – WWE RAW Women’s Title

This was another example of a match where few believed the dominant champion would lose, but the challenger had a chance to increase his stock in a highlighted spot.

Stark did just that, emptying some impressive parts of her arsenal in Chicago, including a springboard corkscrew that stunned the champion. Ultimately, Ripley controlled most of the match and hit her finisher ‘Riptide’ for the win.

Drew McIntyre and The Judgment Day (Finn Balor, JD McDonagh, Damien Priest and Dominik Mysterio) vs. Seth Rollins, Cody Rhodes, Sami Zayn, Jey Uso and Randy Orton

Orton still hadn’t arrived when the match started, so his teammates were locked in a cage without him and Rollins started the match against Balor not only with a man down overall, but because his opponents still had an advantage by having a man in to let the match happen. match first.

JD McDonagh was the first to help Balor. Jey Uso arrived to even the odds before Damien Priest – who stopped McIntyre as he came in front of him – restored their lead.

Sami Zayn came next before McIntyre finally got his wish and got his hands on Uso. The match went back and forth between the two teams, but it actually seemed to kill time before the real big moment arrived.

With everyone in the match and Orton nowhere to be found, The Judgment Day sat Rollins at a table and chose a moment to attempt to cash in on Priest’s Money in the Bank knifcase.

Just as Rhea Ripley was trying to raise money for Priest, Orton made his first WWE appearance in 18 months to a roaring ovation. The babyfaces all performed Orton’s patented draping DDT, all hitting their finishing moves – including Orton RKOing Mysterio – before JD McDonagh was all that was left standing.

He took refuge on top of the cage, but that turned out to be a terribly short-sighted decision. Rollins and Zayn followed the Irishman up and threw him down for an RKO from the top of the cage.

Rhodes scored ‘CrossRhodes’ on Priest to secure the victory and a successful return for The Viper, Randy Orton. And just when you thought that was it… CM Punk made his presence felt.