Well ... that was fast.
Former WWE Champion CM Punk walked off Monday Night Raw just over a month ago and word around the water cooler was that he wouldn't be returning until SummerSlam. Partly to heal up some nagging injuries, but mostly because the promotion ran him into the ground with an insane schedule.
And his unceremonious exit was handled brilliantly (watch it again here).
His return at next month's Payback pay-per-view (PPV), which emanates from the Allstate Arena in Punk's backyard of Chicago, Illinois? Not so much. It's a shame, too, because I was just starting to miss him. I hate to break out old cliches like "Absence makes the heart grow finder," but yeah, I was getting there.
That's my point.
I was simply missing him. I wasn't, however, craving his return. Why should I be? He's only been gone since April 16 and that's not exactly a dry spell. It seems strange then, to have him called back into action so quickly and in my estimation, so haphazardly.
And against Jericho?
Last time they worked a program together, Punk was the "Straight-Edge Superstar" and "Y2J" was dumping booze all over him and talking shit about his pill-popping sister. Now Punk is, or at least at last appearance was, a heel and Jericho is now getting face time.
My furnace might be out of oil, because I'm not feeling any heat for this redux.
That's surprising, as they are two of the best in the business. But to have Paul Heyman announce Punk's return, which has since been "officially" added to WWE.com, kind of takes away from the HOLY SHIT! moment when he runs through the crowd at Payback to save a face.
Or bury one, if he's going to remain a heel.
I still would have preferred SummerSlam, which is right around the time I -- along with most Punk fans -- would have been gagging for his return. But if you're going to bring him back earlier, I would have loved to see it done with a little more fanfare.
What's his reason for coming back so soon?
"Hey, I know I was all butthurt and everything over the way fans treated me during my record-breaking title reign, but I'm over it now."
Even if this was just a SWERVE, pushing CM Punk back into the headlines reeks of desperation. Did Extreme Rules bomb at the box office? I can't imagine that with the entire WWE roster, there aren't enough "stars" they believe in to sell a monthly PPV card.
And the heel roster is getting crowded with Ryback, Curtis Axel and the soon-to-be evil Randy Orton (we think).
Unless Punk returns and switches sides, which would make a Jericho feud pointless. As I see it, there are too many questions right now to try to make any sense of this thing and while it's good to have the "Universe" talking, there's a marked difference between mystery and bewilderment.
One generates interest, the other destroys it.
Punk's absence does more than just rest a weary star. It creates new opportunities for existing talent, who can capitalize on the gaping hole in the roster while forcing creative to get more, you know, creative. It's also possible that WWE doesn't have enough confidence to let the natural order of things progress the way they should.
Either that, or CM Punk, like The General, was tired of watching RAW stink up the place and came back to do something about it.