by Billy Carpenter (@4CR_Billy)
During this stretch of the wrestling calendar when news seems to break hourly, no news could potentially be bigger than what broke across social media late last night/early this morning. With CM Punk reportedly telling Vince McMahon that he was “going home” and essentially walking out on WWE, a wrench has certainly been thrown into WrestleMania plans one would think. More than that perhaps, the man I’d peg as the second most popular Superstar behind Daniel Bryan has dealt the company a blow that could leave WWE reeling just a bit.
It’s certainly not like most of us haven’t heard about or witnessed Punk’s almost apathetic attitude towards the wrestling business that has seemed to develop over the last few years. Rumors of retirement, openly speaking about his displeasure of the product & the politics that come along with wrestling…some might say that him walking away is much needed & long overdue. After all, he’s one of a handful of true main event guys who’ve been on the road almost non-stop over the last decade. Any man can & most likely will eventually succumb to that kind of grind. Constant travel, getting beat up 6 nights a week…brutal. Let’s also consider for a minute how he and others more than likely feel about part time performers or returning stars grabbing high-profile matches and storylines. I’d have to say, even though I’m not in that position, it would feel like a figurative slap in the face to work hard & deal with the rigors of a full time WWE schedule all year and then watch those who are coming back for ‘Mania season pick the fruits that have blossomed from their labor. All of these factors considered, I don’t blame CM Punk in the slightest for wanting to leave and take a much needed extended–possibly permanent–break.
My biggest issue with this is the manner in which he decided to leave. If the report of him walking into TV on Monday and telling Vince McMahon that he was “going home” are legit, then that’s a terrible way to do business. Steve Austin was wrong for doing it in 2002 and Punk is wrong for doing it now. Do most of us like our jobs? I’d venture to say no, probably not. The fact remains, we’re given monetary compensation to not only do a certain job but to be professional in doing it and conducting our business. If Punk wanted to leave, I’ve already stated that there should be no issue with wanting to go, especially if that’s what he really wants. But a 2 week notice or something of the like would’ve given WWE time to develop SOMETHING…some storyline-directed way to get him off of TV. While Punk may not have been where he necessarily thought he should be on the card, a high profile feud brewing against The Authority–with a likely match against Triple H at WM 30– is not too shabby either. I’ll assume that this will all get worked around and they’ll find someone to plug into that spot but the fact remains, it’s a poor way to conduct business. Whether he cares about that or not is also indeterminate.
We’ve always known CM Punk was his own man. He marches to his own proverbial drum and has a litany of things he wants to do outside of the wrestling world. Maybe he’s just…done. It could be that comic books, MMA or something else has his focus now and it’s the right time for a man exhausted on the idea of pro wrestling to leave it behind. He’s seemingly satisfied all of his goals in this profession. Maybe the desire to stay is dead too. Look at him in that interview with Ariel Helwani. He looks like a man that’s ready to be done with it all. My opinion: I lean towards this being legit. For whatever reason–and there’s arguments to be made for and against this being a “work”–it just feels different. I could see him wanting to have that Chris Jericho-esque schedule and coming back when he wants to work a program. But we should gear ourselves for the very real possibility that CM Punk is no longer a regular performer. If that’s the case, it’s a big blow to WWE, especially now when they’re about to embark on a new endeavor in the Network and their biggest show quite possibly of all-time is taking shape. However you feel about him, you certainly won’t forget about him and in that instance he did what he set out to do.
Then again, maybe there’s something to this new kayfabe after all…
Now it’s your turn–what do you think of this situation? Let the discussion continue on Twitter or leave a comment below. This could be potentially the biggest story in years for the WWE and I’d love to hear your thoughts.