The Big Push: Attempting To Figure Out CM Punk’s WWE Departure

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If you hadn’t heard, apparently after the 2014 Royal Rumble, CM Punk had enough.  According to various sources, he told WWE management he was tired and going home.  Since then, we have not heard a peep from him.  The show has gone on, but with a lot of thoughts and voices about one of the more outspoken members of the WWE roster.  This is to debate if it is real or a storyline. Here are some reasons and reactions to CM Punk leaving the WWE.

1. He is tired of WWE using the regular guys during entire year then bringing back old names for WrestleMania season.

This is a popular push by CM Punk fans.  Punk is known for his pipebomb promo; literally stepping out and telling the universe what he felt was wrong with the WWE.  They listened to an extent, and it led to a rocket ship flight to Punk’s push and popularity after.  Punk is a champion for the fans.  He is tired of WWE making its money day in and out on the backs of its full time roster, then bringing back big names for the BIG events, i.e. Wrestlemania.

A good example is The Rock.  After 9 years of hiatus, The Rock came back and became the WWE champion.  Yes, The Rock drew crowds and fans, but he is an icon.  The WWE brings back Brock Lesnar, over and over, as a dominating heel.  He is a name and draws money.  The problem is that instead of developing new talent, giving the guys that work night and day a chance, WWE seems to sign and push old names when it comes to their biggest events.  This year is the return of Dave Batista who just got an automatic berth into the main event of Wrestlemania.

Punk is tired of it, he has enough money, and doesn’t want to deal with it anymore.  Therefore, in anticlimactic fashion, he just quits.  Tells the WWE that he is done and leaves.  Shame on the WWE, they are old and stale, and aren’t trying to bring up new talent and push it to entertain the next generation.  The problem is the WWE management.

Reality

I agree with this to an extent.  Punk has been a cornerstone and money maker for the WWE for years now.  Year in and out it seems like he has to stay back and let older talent come into the limelight.  Instead of getting his chance, he has to put guys over that are essentially part time workers.  (Note, Batista is not a part timer, he did sign a full time two year contract for the WWE.)

The fact is, there is some truth, I think it is stale as well.  However, it seems to be a formula that has worked.  The WWE apparently is not hurting for money.  Why do they bring back old names? Well, it brings back the old fans.  It allows them to sell merchandise that they either had in back stock or have limited editions made up.  Whether it is The Rock, or Brock Lesnar, or Batista, the numbers don’t lie.  They keep doing it because it makes them money.  As much as I’m a wrestling and WWE fan, I know at the end of the day they are a business.  They provide a product, entertainment, and merchandise to make money.  We the fans can complain about the stale storylines and the bringing back of old talent all we want.  In the end, when the WWE stops making money from doing it, they will go another direction.

2. He is burned out.

This also has been given as a reason as to Punk’s impromptu departure.  He is one of the most regular workers for the WWE.  I’m not sure about the exact dates but it has been years since he has had a real break.  There was a period of about two months he was off, but that was it.

There is some truth to this.  People point to this and how his matches and promos have really started to seem dull over the past six months.  Perhaps he will try to renegotiate his contract after a brief hiatus, perhaps not.  Some have guessed this is part of a storyline to give him a break until he makes a return at the Elimination Chamber PPV.  If that is the case, both WWE and Punk are keeping a tight lid on the storyline.

Reality 

Again, I do agree with this.  The life of a professional wrestler is hectic.  Not only do they have to visit so many cities for their televised and taped shows, they also have to do house shows.  Certain wrestlers, such as Punk have to travel even more.  While some wrestlers may get a day off or two here and there in a new city, he has other engagements.  He is one of the top guys, so he has to do interviews, radio shows, television broadcasts, and meet with fans for things like signings and pictures.

But honestly…tough.  These guys, all of them, are doing something that the majority of us could never do.  We don’t have the physical ability, or the presence, or the right mix to make it.  The majority of professional wrestlers have dreamed of being one almost all their lives.  They, and that includes Punk, have reached their dream.  Along the way, especially in the beginning, every one of them should have gotten a very good idea of what the travel and living situation was like.  Also, these guys are paid very well to do something they love.  If they are smart with there money, many can do things…like say, walk out on a contract and still live comfortably.

Let me be blunt, we all get tired.  Do you think the guy working the noon shift five days a week at a burger joint, and four nights a week at a bar, doesn’t get tired?  Is that guy living his dream?  Is that guy going to have enough money set aside just to say, “I”m tired and going home?”  If you said no, then you are thinking like me.  Most of us, the ones that spend our money to see those events, we are the ones that are nowhere near the dream.  The majority, let’s be honest, eke out a living, sometimes just one or two jobs, maybe more.  How many, be realistic  how many actually are doing what they “dreamed” of doing as a kid?

It isn’t that I don’t sympathize, I do.  However, for me, I just live in a different reality.  The idea that it is “too tough” of a schedule, or that he is tired, just doesn’t sit well with me.  Again, I would like to point out that this is a theory I’ve heard.  It isn’t necessarily the truth.  If it is?  Well it isn’t a good enough reason to just walk out.

3) The money, it’s the money.

The folks that view this tend to think he is tired of playing second fiddle to Cena and Orton.  This goes hand in hand with part one, but also now to Dave Batista and Brock Lesnar.  Punk has worked his tail off for a company, and now is looking at the biggest PPV of the year, and not even going to be anywhere near the top matches.  The top matches, best booking, equal the biggest payday.

Punk has been a steady worker, and has been there night after night.  He has paid his dues, and has gotten over with the crowds again and again.  As a heel he is amazing, as a face he still has a huge following.  However, at the pinnacle, the big main events, they tend to always book him lower.  A lower booking equals less dollars in the wrestling world.  He is worth more, and deserves better.  Punk should be paid what he is owed, no question.  The WWE, they are screwing him over just because he isn’t one of their golden boys, Cena or Orton.

Reality

I actually again have to agree.  I think part of the reason is because I am biased.  I am not a huge fan of Cena.  Actually I would say I went from a sort of Cena fan to a Cena hater.  It is also weird that one of the biggest pushed heels, Orton, was always really close with HHH.  Triple H is married to the daughter of Vince, and the future of the WWE runs through him.  (Sorry Kelen.)  I do like Orton, but at same time having him as THE HEEL does bother me at times.  That is another article though, I don’t want to ramble.

The fact is, Cena, the hero, the Superman (that isn’t a compliment) is the number one face, the ultimate baby.  Orton, is the ultimate heel.  He is the Viper, the predator, the one that punts people in the head just for the fun of it. (A part of him I wish they would bring back, the whiny I don’t want to wrestle Orton is too weak.)  Where does that leave the Voice Of The Voiceless, CM Punk?

Well, it leaves him making about a million a year, give or take with merchandise.  It leaves him still getting some of the biggest pops around when it comes to wrestling.  It also leaves him making money that truthfully, no one else inside the business probably makes with their contract and merchandise combined.

This is the bad part.  The fact is, that Punk has probably made high six figures, maybe even close to a million a year over the last several years since his pipebomb.  He is making money.  This sort of throws that theory out the window.  Is he making John Cena money?  No, he isn’t.   Sorry it isn’t going to happen.  Is he making Randy Orton money?  Actually, it is possible he might be close.  I am guessing that with recent merchandise Punk sells more than the Viper.  The fact is that for the past couple years, he has been making more than a decent amount of money.  In fact, according to my research, he owns his own house, paid in cash (the cash might be a rumor, he might have done a check or cash transfer).  He apparently made enough to just walk away.  Doesn’t seem like money is a problem for this man.

Those that say it was about the money, it could be.  I mean he DESERVED to make more, but he made more then everyone else on the roster probably besides the top TWO.  If you were the third top earner in a multimillion dollar organization (that wasn’t doing anything illegal), would you leave because the two ahead of you were making more?  It doesn’t just compute with those of us living paycheck to paycheck I guess.  However, owning your own house, not having to work again, gives you liberties involving things like what you promised to do, such as contracts.

4) He is selfish, and a bit of a hypocrite  

This is an interesting line I heard recently when looking up Punk leaving.  It started like the review was blasting him.  Punk is one of the top guys in the business he has wanted to succeed in.  He is making a lot of money.  The fact is, he isn’t making enough.  He is looking out for number one, and he wants to be paid more.  He also wants to stop being the third guy in the WWE, maybe now fourth guy with the rise of Daniel Bryan.

This particular view actually is not negative.  It sounds like it, but it really isn’t.  Punk is in professional wrestling.  It is a business, and he is marketing himself.  He is trying to secure his future for when he can’t lace up his boots anymore.  It is good he is selfish, and he should be looking out for number one.  If he doesn’t, then no one else will in the professional wrestling industry.

Punk is given credit for being selfish in this view.  However, he is also a hypocrite.  The fact is, he just up and left.  He didn’t finish out his contract.  The WWE pushed him further than any other superstar not named Cena or Orton.  He had money, merchandising, and respect around the world.  However, he talked big, but didn’t back it up.

Punk was actually notorious for not being a fan of WWE management.  It was not just the pipebomb, he made it clear he could leave anytime he wanted.  He also made it clear that WWE should be pushing the real talent, not the guys WWE thinks the fans want to see.  However, Punk is now a top guy, and when he leaves, what does he do?

All that talk about how WWE doesn’t do this and that, and he doesn’t even have the respect to finish out his contract.  He also doesn’t have the respect to go to management, and ask after Mania to wind down his last months.  He doesn’t do something that many wrestlers who have reached his level make a point to do before leaving, putting a younger talent over.  Many are probably thinking Daniel Bryan, but he is over already.  How about a Titus O’Neil, Cody Rhodes, Ziggler, or Kofi.  Aren’t these the “regular” workhorses that make the space in between big events spectacular?  Aren’t these the voiceless that Punk claimed he was trying to represent?  No, he just leaves.  He shows he is selfish, which is actually a good thing in the business, no loss of respect in that department.  However, he also shows he is a hypocrite, and that definitely loses respect.

Reality  

Before I get slammed with hate, I have to give majority of this credit to another.  Check this out for his full analysis.  I was actually interested in this because the majority of the reactions I had seen and read were blaming the WWE solely, and claiming Punk as the victim.

I have to say, in the beginning, as Punk fan, I was sort of on that boat.  Though after watching this, and thinking about it, I have to admit I do agree with some of it.  Punk may not be a hypocrite totally.  According to his pipebomb dropping character, he could be.  However, I don’t know what was said and actually agreed upon in the backstage.  Yet, there is something that doesn’t seem right to me.

Punk only had about six months left.  Yes, he was going to be in a match with HHH at Mania.  It was not the main event, but still he was wrestling at Mania.  He just quit.  One, he had a signed contract, and he didn’t finish it out.  I know that anyone can get out of a contract these days.  Yet part of me still has a thing about making a deal, and trying to uphold my end of the bargain.  There is a part of me that loses respect for people that just bow out of a deal.  Even if it isn’t the best deal, they made it and agreed to it.

The biggest point, was not putting someone else over.  He could have left, had a small feud with someone, and really pushed the other guy.  He could have did what his character always talked about, doing what was right by the hardworking guys that need the push.  He didn’t do that at all.  I know it isn’t required by a leaving star in wrestling, but it is something that many top wrestlers over the years have done to give back.  It shows respect for the others they have worked with over the years, and it shows respect to the fans, sort of passing the torch so to speak.  It also shows respect for the business of wrestling, even if you have problems with the booking and management.  Wrestling itself sort of transcends just the show and spectacle.  By doing this, Punk did lose some respect in my view.

Conclusion

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I am in the last category.  I do blame WWE, I think they did not use Punk to his full ability.  I think they screwed him over with boring storylines and always keeping him away from the main event.  Apparently during his 434 day reign as WWE Champion, the only time he was the main event was when he was facing Cena.  Feel free to double check my facts on that one though.  Basically, they underutilized a man who could have been one of the greats of the 21st century.

On the other hand, I do blame Punk to a degree.  I don’t blame him for wanting out, especially if he was losing interest in the business and wanted to get more.  I think that is normal especially for someone in the cutthroat world of professional wrestling.  That doesn’t bother me at all.

However, there is something to be said about breaking contract.  There is something to be said about leaving fans who have supported you for years high and dry.  There is also something to be said for leaving your fellow wrestlers without doing right by one of them.  That being the case, there is a lot of blame I give to Punk.  There is also a reason I have lost some respect for the Best In The World.

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2 thoughts on “The Big Push: Attempting To Figure Out CM Punk’s WWE Departure

  1. Pingback: Promos By Hyphen: The CM Punk Series Finale | BDL Sports

  2. Pingback: Promos By Hyphen: The CM Punk Series Finale | Tricycle Offense

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