WWE news, rumors: CM Punk reportedly tests for role on new 'Backstage' studio show

CM Punk could be back on WWE programming in the near future -- just not programming produced by WWE.

Mike Johnson at PWInsider reports that Punk was at Fox Studios earlier this week to discuss a role as on-air talent for the upcoming FS1 studio show "Backstage." While there's no confirmation Punk has signed a deal to take part in the show, the report does state he participated in on-camera tests with lead host Renee Young in attendance.

The show is not produced or controlled by WWE, which means Punk would not have to work out any sort of financial deal or contract with the promotion after promises he'd not return to WWE in the future. This news comes more than a month after reports from Dave Meltzer that Punk's agent had reached out to Fox about a position on the studio show.

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Punk abruptly departed WWE in 2014, and the relationship between the former multi-time champ and the promotion has been antagonistic in the years since. He has since had a failed MMA run, losing badly in two trips to the UFC Octagon. He's worked in the commentary booth for Cage Fury Fighting Championships, written comic books and made his acting debut in "The Girl on the Third Floor," which releases later this month.

AEW has been a long-discussed landing spot should Punk decide to return to the ring, but he previously stated no actual effort was made by the promotion to sign him. AEW executive vice president Cody Rhodes recently gave his side of the story. 

"He did kind of make us look like dumbasses, saying we sent him a text message offer," Cody said. "I'm sure we texted him but we also called him. Someone else also met you in a coffee shop. We made genuine efforts, but in this case it's been some time away from the ring. We have to focus on who really wants to be on board."

More WWE news, rumors

  • NXT's debut on USA Network drew 1.179 million viewers for its Sept. 18 debut offering. This week, those numbers dipped a bit, coming in at 1.006 million viewers. Next week will be the first NXT on USA show to air for the full two-hour slot with drama series "Suits" having wrapped for the network.
  • PWInsider reported yesterday that John Morrison has signed a deal with WWE, returning to the promotion for the first time since 2011. Morrison was an ECW champion, three-time intercontinental champion and five-time tag champ during his first run with WWE. He built up buzz again in 2014 with the debut of Lucha Underground, launching him to a successful independent career and a stint with Impact Wrestling where he became world champion.
  • U.K. indie Southside Wrestling suffered a big blow when WWE pulled all talent from the show after having previously given the thumbs up. When the promotion posted on social media they had spent a "small fortune" promoting the event, Rhodes and The Young Bucks delivered in providing some AEW talent (Shawn Spears and MJF) to try and save the show for the fans. This is a savvy PR move for AEW in a market where it took a hit on Thursday with an unfriendly TV deal that make U.K. fans wait days after the U.S. airing to watch AEW Dynamite.
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