Hustle Is Posting Right Now - CM.. Gone?
Jan 29, 2014 - 6:36:51 AM
You rock, Maricel.
"Just hold on, we're going home.."
By now, you've all read the news about CM Punk's sudden departure from WWE. If you haven't already done so, I'll be upset, as I took the time to post the news here on LoP (making sure not to copy and paste it, like always). For those who don't have the answers and haven't been doing the education, here's a brief synopsis of what happened..
- This week's episode of Raw was originally going to feature qualifying matches for the Elimination Chamber. Punk was set to take on Antonio Cesaro, and would lose the match after interference from Kane, allowing Cesaro to have a spot in the Chamber.
- Punk informed Vince McMahon that he was going home and that he wasn't coming back.
- Vince ordered the re-writes to the Raw script, giving us the final result that we watched the other night.
- Coming into this week, the plan for Punk was to face Kane at Elimination Chamber, before facing Triple H at WrestleMania 30. As we saw on Raw, the plans now appear to be ending with Daniel Bryan getting to face Triple H at Mania instead. What is not clear is whether or not the Mania match was changed because Punk walked out, or if the changing of the match is one of the reasons that caused Punk to walk out. However, reports say that Punk had one final goal for his time with WWE, and that was to main event WrestleMania, so some are wondering if his realization that a Mania main event would not be happening in what could be his final Mania appearance led to him leaving.
- WWE has pulled Punk from all his scheduled appearances, both in-ring and out-of-ring.
This brings us to where we are, at this very moment. As is always the case when news breaks, part of the IWC is immediately calling for this to be a work, and while it could very well be one, all sources indicate that this is 100% legit.
So, what does all of this mean? Well, for the sake of argument, let's say that this is a shoot, and that Punk really did walk out on the company. The very first thing you'll probably notice is that Triple H brings his shovel to Raw. If you look back at years past, WWE has not taken very kindly to people walking out on them. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin walked out on the company in 2002, leaving for a week, and claiming "exhaustion". He was frustrated with the idea that he was scheduled to face Brock Lesnar on that night's episode of Raw, feeling that the match was a huge draw and shouldn't be given away on free television with no build. When he left, he was ripped apart on Raw, and was painted as a quitter by both Vince McMahon and Jim Ross. There were several instances in the next few months where "taking your ball and going home with it" would be mentioned on WWE programming. If the man who made more money for Vince McMahon than anyone outside of Hulk Hogan (and even that is rumored to be incorrect, with reports saying Austin drew more money) wasn't safe from being "buried" on television, CM Punk doesn't stand a chance. You have to assume Triple H is currently salivating at the idea of being given a live microphone and an opportunity to shoot. I'd be borderline stunned if this is swept under the rug, and a "Punk was injured at the hands of Kane at the Rumble" excuse is given for his absence. It just doesn't fit WWE's modus operandi.
Another thing that will be interesting to watch is what happens with AJ Lee. It is well documented that she is currently dating Punk, and another thing WWE likes to do is stick it to friends, family, and loved ones of wrestlers who cross them. AJ is currently the longest-reigning Divas Champion in company history, holding the title for 227 days as of today, January 29th. While it could be said that plans for her to lose the title may have already been in place, would it surprise anyone if she dropped it sooner than later now? Season two of Total Divas is coming, after all, and AJ's current feud with Naomi could be used to give a member of the Total Divas cast the belt for show storyline purposes. Or, if the rumored AJ VS Tamina match was really going to happen, WWE could bump their split up, and have it happen as soon as this week on Raw. There's always the possibility that she'll want to leave the company, too, to "stand by her man". Obviously, if she decides to do that, she had better be sure that Punk is "the one", because she'll be in a terrible situation if she walks out and they end up breaking up, giving her a badly scorched bridge to walk across if she wants her dream job back. If she does decide to leave and be with Punk, WWE had better immediately call up their NXT women to the main roster, or just shut the Divas division down altogether, because it will be a mess without AJ there.
Yet another thing to look out for is the WWE Universe's reaction to this on Monday, when Raw comes to us from Omaha (OMAHA! OMAHA!), Nebraska. I'm pretty sure I don't need to remind all of you that Punk is one of the more over and beloved members of the WWE roster. Once news spreads that Punk is gone, and if he still hasn't returned come Monday night, you have to assume the fans in attendance will chant for him. That first chant will lead to another chant, which will lead to another chant, and so on. Pretty soon, we'll have another possible "crowd hijacking" on our hands, with fans chanting for Punk during matches and promos that have nothing to do with him, let alone during the inevitable Triple H promo. If this lasts a lot longer than one week, however, you all need to circle your calendars for March 3rd. On that night, Raw comes to us from.. Chicago, Illinois. That will be one of the most must-see/hear crowd reactions of all-time if Punk still hasn't returned to the company, and I feel bad for just about anyone that has to wrestle or cut a promo during that episode, because the crowd won't care about it one bit.
If you're a Daniel Bryan fan, this is an interesting time for you. For one, Punk's departure may have given Bryan a much bigger and better WrestleMania match, and while it isn't the "Bryan wins the WWE World Title on the grandest stage of them all" or "Bryan ends The Streak" dream scenario that many of you have been hoping for, it's certainly better than the previously rumored singles match with Sheamus that Bryan was supposedly in line to get. On the other hand, though, what does this do for Bryan's crowd reactions? Sure, when he's wrestling or cutting a promo, I would imagine the WWE Universe will hang on his every action like they always do, but what about when he isn't wrestling or cutting a promo? Those "hijacked" reactions that would have had the crowds cheer for Bryan, in an attempt to show WWE management that they're making a "mistake" in the way they push Bryan, could now be "hijacked" for CM Punk instead. While that doesn't derail Bryan's momentum, it certainly could stunt it a bit. Maybe the likes of Vince McMahon or Triple H could see the chants changing, say that Bryan isn't as big a star as people originally thought, and proceed without giving the fans what they want.
TNA fans are already sitting at their computers, smirking and tapping their fingers together like Mr Burns from The Simpsons. You just know they are. They think this is just the news TNA needs, and working to bring Punk in will be the beginning of finally turning things around for the company. Before any of that talk gets out of control, let's all remember that Punk is still a WWE-contracted employee for the next six months, so it's not like he could just show up on Impact this week or anything. Punk has done a great job in saving money, by all accounts, and people are saying that he could sit back and enjoy a six-month vacation, which would be very beneficial to his body after nearly a decade worth of the grueling WWE schedule, but those people are forgetting one thing.. Punk is in breach of his contract by walking out like this. All of that money he's been saving up? He might need it if and when WWE sues him. I have no doubt that the company will give him a week or two off, and let him see if he cools down a bit, but once we get beyond that point, they'll be forced to take some sort of action. If Punk is "intelligent" enough to let it get to that point, it might mean that he could be let out of his contract early, but it will come with a steep price that could force him to wrestle for a lot longer than he ever intended to, especially with all of TNA's budget cutbacks not allowing them to just throw millions of dollars in someone's face to get them to sign a contract. In that situation, Punk (who, according to reports, owns the name "CM Punk", so he wouldn't have to give that up if he leaves) would probably be better off doing a huge tour of the indy scene before heading off to Japan and being the high-paid gaijin that the Japanese promotions love so much.
I'll say this much, right off the bat.. I can totally understand if he has frustrations at his job, either with his role in the company or the overall direction WWE is going in. That's fine. Damn near everyone gets frustrated at work, whether you're a multi-millionaire or you're flipping burgers for minimum wage. It comes with the territory. However, I can't condone walking out on your job like this. He has so many people that are depending on him in one way or another.. friends and family that he takes care of financially, fans that pay to see him, friends in the WWE locker room that love to travel with him.. and it makes this an incredibly selfish move on his part. In the heat of the moment, that will be an unpopular opinion with the IWC, I know, but you can't tell me otherwise. He's under contract. He has certain obligations. He can't just get up and leave, which is what he did. That's a real shame.
Just to switch gears a bit, let's say that this is all a work. Punk never really walked out on the company, and this will be used in a storyline. He's frustrated with The Authority.. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have had a reign of terror, Kane cost him a shot at main eventing WrestleMania and then put him through a table at the Royal Rumble.. so he "left". If that's the case, isn't it a bit odd? It doesn't really fit Punk's character, you know? He's the guy that gets on a microphone, drops a "Pipebomb" here and there, and fights back against authority, both of the "The" variety and non-"The" variety. Why would he now just get up and leave, instead of showing up on Raw, cutting another quasi-shoot promo, and trying to beat the hell out of Kane for what he did at the Rumble? That's a pretty dramatic shift in character, and it actually weakens him a lot in the eyes of many. In a lot of ways, it actually parallels Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatt Family. Bryan fights and fights and fights, before pulling the 180 and giving up, causing fans to wonder what the hell is going on. We knew that would end in the "swerve" of Bryan leaving the group. We just didn't think it would happen so quickly. If this is a work, and if Punk is "giving up" on trying to battle The Authority, what is the point? What does he gain, character-wise, by taking some time off before returning and going back to his normal routine? Not much, if anything at all. CM Punk doesn't gain much, but Phil Brooks does. He'll get some time off to rest his body. It must be tough as all hell to get through WWE's demanding schedule, but it has to be a million times tougher when you're Straight Edge and can't even turn to something simple like pain medication to get through the bumps, bruises, aches and pains. If this was all a plan, and you wanted to give him more time off to heal, wouldn't you write him out with something more dramatic than a single chokeslam through a table? We've seen wrestlers get chokeslammed through tables and be back to wrestle later in that same show, but in kayfabe, Punk takes one and needs a lot of time off? Meanwhile, Big Show just received somewhere in the vicinity of 1,492 violent chair shots at the hands of Brock Lesnar, and he'll probably be back on television sooner, even if he does have a legit injury to his hand that he suffered before the Rumble. If this is a work, WWE fumbled the ball in putting it together, but hey.. this is professional wrestling.. even if I don't see how this being a work makes any sense, I can't completely rule it out.
As of right now, only a select handful of people know the whole truth behind all of this, but it's fun to sit and speculate. It's kind of what we do in the IWC. For the time being, this has the potential to be huge news, and could change the landscape of WWE moving forward, especially post-Mania, once a lot of the part-time guys leave and the full-time roster has to carry the company again. This tree has many winding branches, which could affect a lot of people in one way or another. Hell, Colt Cabana has been rumored to be in talks to come back to the company, but in a commentary role this time. You think he accepts that deal now? You think WWE even bothers to offer Punk's best friend a deal now? I don't think so. See? There's a lot to this story, and you can pretty much guarantee that there is plenty more to come. Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen. This is going to get good.
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