COMMENTARY | Rumors are rampant all over the internet that CM Punk has left the WWE.
For pro wrestling fans who follow the industry closely behind the scenes, it's no secret that CM Punk has not always been pleased with his role in the WWE. That's why CM Punk's famous worked shoot promo on WWE Raw in 2011 was so incredible. It seemed real. In fact, CM Punk has left the WWE before, but those incidents were a brief storyline and time to recover from a series of nagging injuries. However, many people are saying this time it's real.
Reportedly, a series of events began on Thursday, January 23 that led to this point. That day, CM Punk did an interview in which he said if he wasn't with the WWE, he wouldn't be a fan of wrestling today. Then CM Punk appeared at a UFC event on Saturday after requesting the weekend off from WWE house shows. At the WWE Royal Rumble, CM Punk took a beating and was in the match for over 45 minutes. Finally, after CM Punk was not scripted to appear on Raw, he supposedly told Vince McMahon he was "going home."
As most wrestling fans know, although WWE Smackdown airs on Friday nights, the show typically is taped on Tuesday nights, as it was this week. Despite the fact that the WWE advertised CM Punk to appear on Smackdown, he was not on the show. With CM Punk's WWE contract legitimately expiring this summer, many people are speculating that he has in fact left the company.
Of course, things are rarely what they seem to be in the murky world of pro wrestling. Whenever fans speculate that a particularly interesting storyline may be a shoot (wrestling slang for something that's real), it is virtually always a work (wrestling slang for something that's scripted). So now the debate will begin. Is CM Punk leaving the WWE a work or a shoot? I believe it is neither.
As I alluded to earlier, CM Punk is almost never happy with his role in or the direction of the WWE. In fact, it is this rebellious attitude that helps CM Punk connect with so many older WWE fans. CM Punk began wrestling in the recent aftermath of the late 1990s when the business had incredible storylines and action. But by the time he made it to the WWE, the business had changed completely and CM Punk could no longer take his character where he wanted to.
Since there was nothing on WWE television that dropped hints that this angle would be coming, it doesn't appear to be a storyline. Of course, the WWE creative team could just be booking it that way to make it seem more realistic. But it's never a good idea to advertise a wrestler to appear at an event when you know he won't be doing so. Given his history of displeasure with his wrestling character, I believe CM Punk legitimately walked away.
However, I don't believe CM Punk has left the WWE. CM Punk goes through these phases of unhappiness, but he always returns to the WWE. So I seriously doubt he has worked his last WWE wrestling match. Although he's not the merchandise machine that John Cena is, CM Punk moves a lot of t-shirts for the WWE. Vince McMahon knows that CM Punk is "best for business" and after a cooling off period, he will likely return to the WWE.
Whether it's a work or a shoot, I would be shocked if CM Punk has left the WWE forever.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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