CM Punk this past week allegedly told WWE he was “going home.” These words shook IWC fans to their very cores. CM Punk has seemingly long been unhappy with the WWE and its creative direction. This Sunday seemed to be the last straw where according to rumours Punk was upset with Batista winning the Royal Rumble.
This is basically the 3rd year where CM Punk has been dropped at WrestleMania to a match lower on the card. The Rock came in for WrestleMania 28 and Punk took issue with this during his famous pipebomb in July 2011. However, in business terms it was a good move for WWE with WrestleMania 28 proving to be very successful and a good event in my book.
Then came WrestleMania 29. This was the rematch to the ‘Once in a lifetime.’ This meant that Punk once again missed the opportunity to close the show. He did get to face Undertaker and to be fair I think it’s safe to say that Undertaker/Punk far surpassed the performance in Rock/Cena II and fans would have been happy if that match closed WrestleMania.
Then we reach this past Sunday’s Royal Rumble. Heading in to WrestleMania 30 CM Punk was probably hopeful of getting his turn to close the show. Maybe he was holding out for the possible Austin/Punk dream match that everyone hopes to see. This didn’t look to be happening though when Batista returned last week and subsequently took the main event spot at WrestleMania by winning the Royal Rumble. This seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Punk went home the following night and everyone has been wondering what will happen ever since.
It has been mentioned that Punks contract with WWE was set to expire in July and it seems that he was not interested in continuing his position within the company. Reports also suggest that Punk has been able to save most of his money from his 8 year career within the WWE and that he would like to retire from professional wrestling before he gets too old.
So as it stands Punk really doesn’t seem to have the motivation to continue with the company and the company is frustrated at Punk’s lack of professionalism during this situation. He would have only had 6 months left and he wouldn’t have been used in the way he wished. So is there much point?
Punk’s actions have echoed those of what Austin did over a decade ago when he did not want to lose to Brock Lesnar without any build on an episode of RAW. In this instance, Punk did at least tell them he was leaving but he still left the company in a panic having to make re-writes of the show later that evening.
There are many possibilities and motives for Punk’s actions this week but the biggest loser in this is the fans. Punk is financially stable, not concerned with having to deal with ‘the machine’ that is WWE and on the other side WWE will still be able to put on a show without CM Punk at WrestleMania. Fans will be disappointed but ultimately they will still support the business and show over any one wrestler as much as they feel annoyed.
Punk may be totally justified in his actions and nobody can tell someone what to do but it seems a shame that this is something that has reached this level of intensity between him and his employer. Maybe it will work well for both parties to just walk separate ways.
If Punk’s health is a concern (which has been rumoured) and he needs time to rest or get over any injuries or illnesses that he is suffering from then that will always take precedent over an event or desire from any fan for him to compete.
Punk could have gone to WWE and explained the situation and said that if you want to include me at WrestleMania then you need to give me some time off before it to prepare and recover. If Punk disagreed with the booking then maybe a different approach would have been better but who knows, maybe Punk has already tried to be diplomatic about the current creative directions of the company and it has got him nowhere.
Maybe this is all a big storyline and WWE have really got us fooled in to thinking that this is legitimate to allow them to create a storyline leading in to WrestleMania which would level that of the Money in the Bank PPV in 2011. Or maybe CM Punk is trying to be a martyr to the other guys like Daniel Bryan who he feels should be treated so much better than he currently is.
Punk may feel that he has nothing to lose and that these actions may panic WWE in to giving fans something that they truly want. If Punk’s main gripe with WWE is that they don’t long term plan anything creatively then maybe he has already won a small battle with WWE having to call emergency meetings to try and lay out the next 8 weeks of programming over two days to ensure that WrestleMania 30 is the success that it should be.
WWE need to seriously look in to their actions and current situation. Punk’s activities on Monday may not have been correct but there isn’t smoke without fire. When you have fans verbally bombing your arguably second biggest PPV of the year and your main talents walking out of the company then you have to realise that things are not being done as they should.
Nothing is easy and managing a demanding fan base, talents and business is tricky but WWE should be no stranger to understanding what fans want, value. Plain and simple, give fans something to look forward to and chances to know that things that aren’t possible now will be in the near future and fans will be patient. If you don’t give them light at the end of the tunnel they will turn as they did on Sunday.
One thing for sure, after those meetings, Elimination Chamber just became a lot more than a B level PPV, it just became a hairpin on the Road to WrestleMania.
You can follow Martyn on Twitter @BeansOnToastUK where you can check his other work and you can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as comment below to express your views on this ongoing situation.