Did he lose his smile, or just pack his bag and go home?
What do we know?
We know, Punk was not on RAW nor part of the SmackDown television taping. We know Punk has been removed from all WWE Live Event promotions. We also know, WWE no longer follows CM Punk on Twitter. The latter, being reported by numerous websites and dirtsheets is the most significant sign proving WWE and CM Punk have parted ways. I put my head in my hands and come to realize this is a sign of the times where Twitter is the official source of news and a breakup of employer and employee resembles high school drama.
In any case, CM Punk has been very vocal in outside interviews of how he has never been comfortable with WWE management, the sudden surge in pushing part-time starts like Batista, and how in recent months he has felt excessive burnout and needed to go before it would be too late. Now, an easy Google search will get you a hundred dirtsheet columns with so-called inside information. But very few share the same story, if each hasn’t been plagiarized by the other. So what do we know now?
We now know CM Punk was burned out. Too many working days, not enough time off. We now know Punk was not happy with WWE pushing part-timers over the full-time, daily wrestlers who travel every other day to make a live show. We also now know Punk may not have been happy with his spot for WrestleMania 30, and had creative differences with the company. We also now know, Punk may have timed this as to not make a negative impact on WrestleMania 30, which is a sign Punk did not want to burn any bridges and try to keep things civil. We also now know, Punk has been injury-riddled this past year, and perhaps became too much to handle. The last one reminds me of Edge and his sudden retirement after WrestleMania 27. Mounting injuries was the main reason why Edge abruptly chose to retire after WrestleMania.
We all know, if you picked up and suddenly left your 9-to-5 because you had enough, there would be repercussions. This is the world of WWE, so things are never what they seem. In truth, to use one of my favorite clichés, there is always “More Than Meets the Eye.”
Could there have been a better way of handling this? Did CM Punk feel so irritated and upset that he could not have tried to sit down with Vince and Triple H in an effort to work things out? Perhaps he did, and it was the fault of WWE for Punk sudden departure? This reminds me a lot of the incident with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, how he became upset with how WWE management was running the business and felt he had to make a statement by up and leaving. I thought about whether this is CM Punk making a statement, and to be honest, I am not sure. It could be a statement about himself, he needed to get off the show and out before something worse would happen. Punk is a smart guy, I would like to hope he thought this through before acting. Earlier I mentioned how Edge waited until after WrestleMania before officially retiring. No one knew this was coming. Rumors began a week later, but Edge dropped the bombshell and surprised everyone. Edge had stated in his speech he had been thinking about it for a long time, but wanted to have one more WrestleMania moment before hanging up the tights. Flash forward to 2014, CM Punk did not want to wait. I am sure many fans feel cheated, they will not see Punk compete and WrestleMania. If you think about it, perhaps there could have been a way for Punk to fulfill one more WrestleMania, and then bow out. It does say a lot for him to remove himself from the opportunity to perform at a huge stage like WrestleMania 30. The reasons for suddenly leaving WWE before the event would have to be very serious and I imagine if this were the case, Punk would feel strongly enough to leave before things got worse.
Where do we go from here? Everyone thinks back two years ago when CM Punk “ran away” with the WWE Championship in one of the greatest works in company history. Combining reality and truth, where Punk did not renew his contract yet still won the WWE Championship and “took it with him.” Punk eventually came back, signed, and went on to become the longest reigning WWE Champion in the last 25 years. He went on to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania. He faced the Rock too, but so did the Brooklyn Brawler. CM Punk has enjoyed a pretty epic career with WWE, and I feel there is more to the story than anyone, despite so-called insiders believe. The only way we will know the whole story, is when either WWE and CM Punk tell the story. Perhaps Punk will come back and deliver a retirement speech much like Edge, or will he simply take some time off to recoup and then return to the ring?
If you go by his recent interview with MMA Fighting , it may seem Punk has had enough of wrestling and may want to consider different career options. Time will tell, and I truly hope the situation can be resolved respectfully for the benefit of CM Punk, WWE, and more importantly, the fans.
All photos credit: WWE