CM Punk has lost his smile. Punk is taking a leave of absence from the WWE that could turn into a permanent vacation. The era of Punk in the WWE may officially be over as he has been removed from all shows indefinitely.
The move comes at a very odd time of the year for a WWE superstar. This is generally the time of the year for a guy like Punk to cash in on a WrestleMania payoff. Punk was slotted for a high spot on the card against Triple H. The match has reportedly been scrapped and Punk’s swan song may wind up being the Royal Rumble.
I don’t want to say I told you so but I speculated that something like this could happen when the Network was announced. I pontificated that with Mania on the network that pay per view bonuses would either end or dramatically increase. I also speculated that a top guy could wind up simply walking out of frustration. The stakes are not nearly as big as they used to be.
Punk even alluded to this during a recent interview on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. Punk was asked about the Network and made a comment to Helwani about his bonus. If you remember, Punk took a leave of absence last year as well. The difference was that Punk did it the day after Mania and cashed out with a nice bonus. There is no reason to wait this year.
Is this just Punk pandering for a new deal or is he really gone? I think this is 100% on the up and up. There were reports that Punk was in for a big push this summer as long as he stayed. Punk has reportedly saved his money and doesn’t need to put up with the headaches for financial reasons. I think he is gone and I think you’ll see him pop up all over the convention circuit when his contract expires this summer.
How big of a hole does this leave the WWE? They are definitely going to take a hit on his merchandise but overall I don’t think it is as big as some people will make it out to be. What this does is open up the door for Daniel Bryan to get that push that people want. Unfortunately for Punk the timing is not on his side here as they have a guy ready to take his spot. The cost of losing Punk may be getting that big Bryan push their mutual fans have been waiting for.
Update: TMZ.com has a report that Punk left over being angry that Batista got the WWE title match at WrestleMania and not him. The report further states that Punk was upset with his booking and allegedly felt that Batista wasn’t in great shape.
That just seems odd to me. We all knew for weeks that Batista was scheduled to come back and win the Rumble. Punk quitting over that just seems ridiculous. Punk hasn’t been positioned for a while to be in the top Mania spot. That said, if Punk was promised the spot that is another thing altogether. To each their own but it sounds rather petty on the surface.