For those who don't remember, CM Punk abruptly left the WWE in January of 2014 after a string of health problems and an environment he called "creatively toxic." His comments lead to a lawsuit against the WWE that he says is "designed to get me to spend money." At the time he left, he was one of the WWE's most popular Superstars, and while the organization has continued to thrive, "CM Punk" chants would permeate the crowd noise during televised WWE events every now and again.
Since he left, the WWE has been relatively mum about anything CM Punk-related, especially on their programming. But that doesn't mean that they'd be above what appears to be a subtle jab (or subtle naked choke) at Punk's expense.
During last night's Backlash show, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler match kicked off with what appeared to be a well-crafted mimic of Punk's UFC bout with Mickey Gall the night before. The two of them met each other in the middle of the ring, with The Miz swinging wildly (and missing) before Dolph tackled him and started to pummel him on the ground while Miz was on the defensive. It didn't stop until The Miz found a way to grab the rope, which automatically means the two need to break up from fighting.
As of now, none of the parties involved (The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk, and Mickey Gall) have commented on what appears to be a sly diss from the WWE, but Twitter definitely has some feels.
The start of that Miz and Ziggler match looked like the CM punk fight on Saturday!!#WWEBacklash— Piccolo Bruh (@Da_Mysterious_Q) September 12, 2016
Dolph Ziggler applying a sleeper hold on The Miz & we get no CM Punk reference on commentary!? Odd, then again.. 😂 #WWEBacklash— Frank Maverick Sosa (@FMaverick27) September 12, 2016
Ok...MAYBE WWE threw some shade at CM Punk last night when Ziggler had that Sleeper Hold/Rear Naked Choke on Miz.— Canvas (@IAmAF250) September 12, 2016
I'm realizing that Tonight's Miz/Ziggler was a fucking parody of CM PUNK'S UFC Debut, How is it possible @HEELZiggler lends itself to that— The Headlock Master (@NWO4liffee) September 12, 2016
Sadly, this is one of those things that the WWE will more than likely never cop to, assuming it's a 100 percent bonafide dig at the former champ. Or, they can just be complete savages and open Smackdown with a bunch of laughter while playing "Cult of Personality." Whatever works.