Raw didn’t get hijacked, not really.
The Omaha fans chanted C.M. Punk’s name, but nobody got flustered during promos and the whole concept faded as the show grew old. The marks popped more for the guy who was there, Daniel Bryan, than for the guy who wasn’t.
Honestly, that’s as it should be.
But Punk is winning. Vince McMahon is legitimately worried about current fan response to the product and is said to be re-thinking WrestleMania 30.
Honestly, that’s as it should be. The customer is always right.
Will Punk be back? That’s hard to say. Punk was never a lifer and was always going to walk away from fake wrestling far earlier than most in his position would. Punk is reportedly incommunicado, which doubtless has “the family” crazy. Punk is smarter than “the family,” especially in terms of real-world intelligence. He’s got the edge, and he’s got enough money that he doesn’t need WWE.
Punk is beat up physically. He doesn’t take painkillers. There’s no point tolerating the hurt if Punk’s work isn’t fulfilling.
Punk’s character was headed in the wrong direction. As a heel, Punk can never get the last word. As a babyface, Punk has to get the last word. In a program with Triple H and Chyna Jr, Punk was never going to get the last word. No chance. His persona would suffer legit damage in a feud with “The Authority.”
That’s why Punk vs. Paul Heyman was so great. There was trust, respect, cooperation and mutual benefit.
As noted in my prior column, nothing about WWE has changed since Punk’s last walkout. Since his pipe bomb. Why would Punk believe things would ever change?
I’m surprised by some of the criticism Punk is getting.
I can see the dressing room being perturbed. That’s jealousy. That’s wrestling. That’s a chance to suck up by piling on the guy that’s out of favor.
But the only thing Punk did wrong was bail on Raw just before it started. That’s unprofessional. You don’t hang your colleagues out to dry. You don’t hang your bosses and the writers out to dry. You don’t disappoint the fans.
But if you’re unhappy with work, feel things won’t change and you have the wherewithal to go home, then go home. That goes for fake wrestling. That goes for any walk of life. Most of us can’t afford to. Punk can.
Punk’s last walkout was about making a point.
This walkout seems more personal, and perhaps more permanent. Not a stepping stone. Not a shoot that becomes a work, though that could certainly yet happen.
This doesn’t seem a matter of Punk blinking, or a matter of more money.
This seems a matter of Vince McMahon begging.
Bryan beat Randy Orton at Raw’s conclusion. That result was designed to diffuse audible support for Punk. Of course, Orton and Kane left Bryan laying.
Maybe Bryan needs to walk out, too. YES! YES! YES!
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX