Randy Orton talks CM Punk return, facing retirement in 2022

Sports Illustrated has published an interview with Randy Orton, who spoke on a number of topics ahead of the season premiere of A&E Biography: WWE Legends on Sunday, February 25.

Among the topics was the return of CM Punk at Survivor Series 2023, which followed Orton’s own return being announced a few days prior.

Noting that his was intended to be a surprise prior to the rumors of Punk’s return to Chicago for the PLE, Orton recounted the moment he was told by Triple H that Punk was coming back to WWE:

“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.’”

Orton also addressed the health concerns he faced in 2022, with signs pointing toward retirement.

Recounting the visit that led to an MRI revealing issues in his lower spine, Orton detailed his consultation with neurosurgeons and receiving much-needed treatment:

“I had a few doctors I was speaking with, and one doctor, Adam Kanter, he was moving from Pittsburgh to California. Man, I’m glad I waited. I’m glad I saw him. Him and two other doctors worked on me, and they didn’t cut through any muscle. That would have rendered me a non-athlete for the rest of my life because the muscle wouldn’t have healed quite the same.”