Since CM Punk decided to take his ball and run, we’ve heard varying rumors as to the reasons for his departure. He was burnt out, he didn’t get along with Triple H, he wasn’t happy with his push or the direction of the company, so on and so forth. Perhaps it was a combination of everything. We might never know for sure.
What we do know is that the CM Punk of 2013/2014 was not the same as the CM Punk of yesteryear. The dark charisma and disgruntled personality that helped separate him from the herd had all but vanished. His promos lost their color and his act had grown tired.
He also let himself get out of shape. While Punk was never the greatest physical specimen, he still had a reasonably dangerous look about him. Chris Jericho would probably say he was in “wrestling shape.” By the end, Punk looked like a shell of his former self.
Maybe Punk is burnt out. He has been a pro since 1999 and he’s certainly tacked the miles onto his body. Bumps and injuries will take their toll on any wrestler, and it’s possible Punk just couldn’t motivate himself to go any further. Punk has said many times that he doesn’t want to wrestle forever and at 35 years of age, he may have reached his limit. The looming prospect of another dull program with Kane (even worse, corporate Kane) certainly could not have helped matters either.
Still, Punk was positioned for a WrestleMania match with Triple H, hardly something to scoff at. It may not be the greatest program and their previous effort in 2011 didn’t get over nearly as well as they hoped, but there’s still plenty of wrestlers on the roster who’d love to face Triple H at the grandest stage of them all. Right now, it appears Daniel Bryan will take Punk’s place in the program.
It’s hard to imagine Punk turning down a WrestleMania payoff if he wasn’t burnt out or having difficult relations with higher ups in the company (aka Triple H). We’ve heard from Punk himself that he’s 4:00 a.m. texting buddies with fellow insomniac Vince McMahon, so one is not pressed to believe his relations with the boss are the cause.
Like him or not, losing CM Punk is a blow for the company. He was one of their biggest stars and he’s going to be difficult to replace. I’ve read many articles about what the WWE should do to bring him back. If Punk is truly done with pro wrestling, that may not be an option at all.
But he might not be finished. People forget that Punk nearly walked out on the company in 2011 before his star-making program with John Cena, only to return in a matter of weeks. Who knows, maybe we’ll see CM Punk sooner rather than later. Perhaps this is a ploy for more money or a bigger push. At the end of the day, it’s a mysterious chapter in a fascinating career.