Reflecting on the poetic turn of events, Joe exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘I notice things like that but at the same time, me and him always had this old adage of “parallel lives” – he knows what I’m talking about.
‘Him returning, me returning at the same time – it’s nothing uncommon, it’s about par for course.’
Punk has admitted he needed time away from wrestling when he left WWE in 2014, and it took a long time for him to rediscover the passion.
While the Samoan Submission Machine has never lost that fire himself, he can appreciate why his friend – and others over the years – feel the need to take time out to refresh and recharge.
‘I’ve just kept doing it, so yeah,’ he said on the subject of retaining his love for the business.
‘I can understand the need to get away and I don’t fault it because this is a tremendously demanding industry both emotionally and physically – probably even more so emotionally, just everything that goes into it.
‘So, when people take time to step away , I think it’s good. I think it’s good for your mental health and it’s good for wellbeing. I think if you ever do ever decide to step back, it produces a better and more happy performer.’
The current NXT Champion encouraged any wrestler to ‘step away’ if they need to and focus on their mental health, and he was quick to reiterate that he’s always kept the drive throughout his career – even with the acknowledgement that he doesn’t really have anything to complain about.
‘So yeah, if you feel that you need to step away, then I wholeheartedly encourage people. Mind your head, do what’s right by you,’ he added. ‘But like I said, it’s never waned – but then again, the industry’s been very, very good to me.
‘I don’t have much in the way of complaints about how I’ve been treated and how they’ve gone. In fact, they’ve gone famously. I’ve got to see the world, I’ve got to meet so many people.
‘I’ve had countless experiences that I can’t be grateful enough for because of this industry. It’s hard to put out the fire when the fire burns.’
*WWE NXT airs Tuesdays at 1am on BT Sport 1.
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