The internet is abuzz over the rumors swirling about that CM Punk has walked out on WWE -- and for good reason. Punk is one of the Internet Wrestling Community's (IWC) most-dearest darlings. From his mic skills to his in-ring work, Punk is what the entire WWE locker room should aspire to be -- the best of the best. In Punk's DVD he says, "I'm a guy for all intents and purposes, never should have made it to the WWE."
Well, he did and we know how the rest of that story goes.
Now, Punk is reportedly taking a long break from WWE. Various sites are reporting endless reasons as to the root cause of Punk's abrupt decision to leave now rather than at least finish out his contract, which ends in July. On one hand, you have to feel somewhat bad for creative as they're jobs are probably only going to get more stressful now that Punk vs. Triple H is most certainly not happening in the future.
On the other, Vince McMahon and company should have foreseen something like this coming from Punk if the "Summer of Punk" did not lead to big things for his character over the long haul. Remember, the "Summer of Punk" storyline somehow ended with a Kevin Nash vs. Triple H sledgehammer ladder match. Sure, Punk also held the WWE title for over a year, but his run at the top ended with him losing to a part-timer in The Rock at the Royal Rumble. Could The Rock have afforded a loss to Punk before taking on John Cena at WrestleMania 29? Probably not, but WWE backed themselves into that corner when they decided to have Punk turn on Rocky and put that plan in motion. The rematch between Punk and Rocky at Elimination Chamber was the last time Punk closed out a pay-per-view in 2013 -- if you don't include the Raw Money In The Bank match that Punk competed in.
Granted, none of the storylines Punk has been in since his feud with Rocky should have closed out pay-per-views, but the writing was on the wall. It's 2014, and the last two Royal Rumble winners have been Batista and Cena. Randy Orton, even with two strikes on his record, has been given a much bigger on-screen role than Punk in recent months. Is that another potential factor in Punk's disdain for the direction of not only his character but the company in general?
It would definitely make sense.
Is it a coincidence Punk went on hiatus a day after the Royal Rumble where "Boo-tista" was born? Even the WWE heavyweight championship match got "This is boring" chants, despite the fact that it was actually a pretty good match. It just didn't feature the wrestler(s) fans wanted to see competing for the title. Punk had a fantastic showing that ended with Kane eliminating him to progress Punk's feud with The Authority. The problem? Punk has already been down this road with Triple H and we saw how that ended -- poorly. You could make the case The Authority has actually been bad for business since coming onto the scene at SummerSlam. Daniel Bryan never truly got his win back over Orton, Big Show was immediately pushed to the side after losing to Orton, and we really haven't seen anybody get the better of the heel faction outside of a knockout punch from Show.
Punk and Triple H would probably have a pretty solid match at WrestleMania 30 -- but Punk wants to close out the pay-per-view, not circle the wagons with "The Game" and The Authority for months. With Batista's Rumble win, he's almost certainly competing in the WWE Heavyweight title match WrestleMania 30 in what's shaping up to be a heel vs. heel match -- unless Bryan is included. It made sense to keep Punk away from the title for a while after he held it for such a long time, but it's been a year now and Orton's run on top isn't working. WWE's solution was to bring in another part-timer rather than push Bryan and Punk back to that spot. Sure, that may come off a bit smarky but that doesn't make it an inaccurate point.
WrestleMania season has changed -- and not for the better. It's about making as much money as possible by bringing in part-timers who draw well to increase buys. Punk has never closed out a WrestleMania, and probably never will. Even as over as Bryan is, it'd be a major surprise to see WWE include Bryan in the main event unless he was winning the title -- which is also probably not going to happen.
Here's the problem, though: Punk has been with this company for almost 10 years now. He's seen how WrestleMania season has shifted to being a celebration of part-timers and John Cena. He knew HHH would be taking over for Vince McMahon and how this company evaluates its talent. I'm not saying that it's fair or right, but he knew what he was getting into and he probably really believed he would be the guy to change everything. What Punk has found out is that the WWE is too big for him to truly change. Vince and Triple H are set in their ways, creative direction will always be changed regularly, and at 35-years-old the chance of the company now deciding to build around him as the face of the WWE is a far-fetched dream. Even with Bryan as hot as he is right now, he's seeing Orton vs. Cena closing out pay-per-views while he loses cleanly to Bray Wyatt.
Even though Punk has never been booked as the guy in WWE, he's accomplished a lot. He hasn't had a long break from the road, or wrestling, in what probably feels like forever to him. If you were following Punk during his sabbatical after WrestleMania you saw a snippet of how life without wrestling would be for Punk -- fun.
Was the Royal Rumble the last time we'll see Punk in a WWE ring? Who knows, but Punk is gone and it's probably the best thing for him. He hasn't done something like this since his pipe bomb promo in 2011 -- and it led to a WWE title run. Now, all that's left for Punk is to close out a WrestleMania and if that's what it will take for Punk to return it may be a while before we see Punk back on our television sets.
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