We're nearing the two-month mark since CM Punk walked out on WWE, and what has followed most, myself included, didn't see coming -- the road to WrestleMania 30 got better. Daniel Bryan will likely be working two WrestleMania matches this year if he defeats Triple H early in the night. If he does, he gets inserted into the WWE world heavyweight title (this name has got to go) match against Randy Orton and Batista. None of this is possible if Punk doesn't walk out on the company in January. Losing Punk for the long-term is still an issue, but the timing of his departure changed the course of WrestleMania 30 for the better.
I'm not a betting man, but if I was I'd be willing to put a lot of money down on Bryan not only defeating Triple H, but also closing out WrestleMania 30 celebrating with the title. There is still a chance that WWE could do somewhat of a swerve and have Batista pin Orton to win the championship, but that's still not how you want to close the biggest pay-per-view of the year -- pissing off the majority of your fanbase.
With all that said, there seems to be a growing belief on the dirt sheets and wrestling forums that perhaps this was WWE's plan all along. That they were just stringing the Internet along and the idea all along was to finally give Bryan his moment at WrestleMania 30. That's probably not the case, but it doesn't matter. Sure, Triple H might pat himself on the back in an interview later in Bryan's inevitable DVD in a couple of years, and most fans will probably buy it. If things go well for Bryan at WrestleMania 30 and he wins the big one it will be a much deserved special moment for wrestling fans everywhere.
But that doesn't signal WWE wanted to go this route all along.
Prior to Punk walking out there were reports creative was thinking about booking Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. Not too long after that report there were rumors floating around that Bryan would be facing Kane. Obviously plans changed, but the way Bryan was booked just two months ago signaled Kane made the most sense as his WrestleMania 30 opponent.
Once Punk opted out of giving the young upstart Triple H the WrestleMania rub he needed, Bryan was rumored to take his place. Bryan moved up the card through Punk simply walking out on the company. It made more sense to have a big payoff match with Bryan and Triple H at a major pay-per-view to begin with, but for whatever reason WWE wanted to give Punk that spot. That's not a slight at Punk either. Punk wanted to be in the title picture and it made more sense for him to be there at WrestleMania this year than feuding with Triple H again. But with Triple H and Bryan's history their WrestleMania match looks like it's masterful long-term book, when in actuality this match doesn't happen if Punk doesn't leave.
Not only did Bryan get Punk's spot to face Triple H at WrestleMania, but he also got added to the WWE world heavyweight title match, which will close out the show. The most interesting aspect of Bryan getting added to this match is perhaps the possibility that had Punk stayed around a little bit longer he would have been inserted into it too, while Bryan would only take on Triple H. That may not have been the case had Punk stayed, but with his duly noted disdain towards Batista winning the Royal Rumble match adding Punk to the match would have blurred the lines between kayfabe and reality in a major way that WWE loves to do nowadays.
With how WWE has booked Punk and Bryan over the last year it's fair to assume Vince would have probably added Punk to the title match after Batista bombed (not intentional, I swear) as a babyface in his return to the company. It's still unknown what the exact reason was for Punk's departure, but had he waited just a few more weeks it's realistic to believe he's in the main event of WrestleMania 30, and not Daniel Bryan.
Punk might have seen his sudden departure leading to big things for Bryan at Wrestlemania 30, but that's pretty unlikely. The last thing Punk wanted to check off his wrestling bucket list was to close out a WrestleMania, and had he stuck around as Batista got rejected by the fans week after week there was a good chance he would have been the guy Vince and company decided to stick in the main event, not Bryan.
In the long-term Punk's departure will continue to hurt, but WrestleMania 30 is likely going to end with Bryan finally getting the WrestleMania moment he deserves. And that's a great thing. It just wasn't a part of the plan.