Nobody expected Punk to really make an appearance at Payback apart from a few diehard fans. Some fans had hoped he would appear on the PPV to say his last goodbyes, or return full time again. This is unlikely as the man himself has acknowledged his own retirement. We may not see him inside a wrestling ring again for quite some time.
As for Payback on Sunday, the PPV will face stiff competition from a very important NHL game. It’s Game 7 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings. The game will be held in Chicago at the United Center. Payback is only 18 miles away at the All State Arena. Punk has already made arrangements to see the hockey game instead as mentioned on his Twitter page.
From a TV standpoint, I can see a lot of people watching the NHL game on Sunday. This won’t look good for WWE. There are even some fans in Chicago struggling to choose which event to see. Some of them are choosing the NHL game since it’s more important than the average WWE PPV event.
It also doesn’t help that Payback itself was not a stacked card to begin with. Some of the matches are uninspiring while the main event matches are rematches from Extreme Rules. WWE fans could always watch Payback later on the WWE Network, as a replay is usually up just minutes after the event concludes. In either case, the rumor of Punk returning should now be put to rest for good.