“I feel I have a responsibility to the younger wrestlers on the roster, the ones who aren’t signed yet and the future of pro-wrestling as a whole to help make this place better and to change this place. I certainly can’t change it by sitting on my couch in Chicago.” -CM Punk
Reports circulated Sunday that CM Punk would make his return to the WWE on Monday’s RAW at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. Punk has not been seen on WWE TV since the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 26th, when he was the #1 entrant in the Rumble match. The reports at the time were that CM Punk went to Vince McMahon the next night, thirty minutes prior to RAW, and told him he was “going home.” It was rumored that Punk did not like his creative plans going into WrestleMania 30, which had him facing Triple H.
While Punk has been gone the last five weeks, the March 3rd RAW from Chicago, was always going to be the date to watch. If he were to come back, it would be in his hometown, and it would be just in time for the WrestleMania 30 hype. Lets face it, Punk and Chicago go hand-in-hand, as recent history would remind us.
Chicago was the location of the 2011 Money In The Bank pay-per-view, where Punk would face John Cena for the WWE Championship. Leading up to the PPV, Punk dropped his famous “pipebomb” on RAW, and all indications were that Punk’s contract with the WWE was up, and that would be his last match. Vince McMahon and CM Punk fooled everyone, as they kept it a secret that Punk had signed a contract extension with WWE. Of course, we all remember Punk pinning Cena for the title that night and leaving through the Chicago crowd with the WWE Championship.
After his WrestleMania 29 match against The Undertaker last year, CM Punk took time off to heal up some nagging injuries. When did Punk return back to the WWE? A few months later, at the 2013 Payback pay-per-view, once again in his hometown of Chicago. Punk successfully defeated Chris Jericho at the pay-per-view.
During Punk’s recent departure, as each week passed, it seemed more likely that Punk would not be at WrestleMania 30. His scheduled WWE appearances were being cancelled or fulfilled by other WWE stars. Fans who bought tickets for his WrestleMania 30 Axxess signing, were informed that Ric Flair would be his replacement. WWE even released a new promotional poster for WrestleMania, which no longer featured CM Punk.
However, while all this was happening, there was still reason to believe that Punk would be returning. The main thing to remember was that WWE never “buried” CM Punk. There was never a reason given or even any acknowledgement of CM Punk’s absence from WWE TV. Remember back in the “Attitude Era,” Stone Cold Steve Austin walked out on the WWE as well. However, it was handled differently back then, as Jim Ross told us on RAW that Austin had “taken his ball and gone home.”
Also, they were still selling all of CM Punk’s merchandise, front and center on WWE’s official website. They even released new items during this time, like the CM Punk Zombie figure, which you can see here.
Perhaps the main factor in all of this, was the way CM Punk stayed quiet during his departure. Punk did not do any media interviews, and blast the WWE. He didn’t voice his displeasures with the company on his Twitter account, he remained off of his social media accounts. The last tweet Punk posted was on January 27th, before any rumors of his walk out were reported.
Thanks for all the support. Keep being you guys, it's pretty cool.
— Coach (@CMPunk) January 27, 2014
CM Punk and the WWE both want to do “business” with each other, especially on the road to WrestleMania 30. WWE has to realize that the return of Batista has not gone according to plan. He is greeted with boos rather than cheers, and nicknamed “Bootista.” Nothing Batista has done has been his fault, but the fans view him as having the spot that Daniel Bryan should have. The WWE were even forced to turn him heel this past Friday on SmackDown. A heel Randy Orton against a heel Batista for the WWE Championship will not work at WrestleMania, and the fans will have none of it. CM Punk has mentioned that the one thing he has left to do in the WWE is to headline WrestleMania. Insert Punk into the WWE Championship match, and make it a Triple Threat Match, it works for both sides.
What do you guys all think about this situation? What matches do you want to see at WrestleMania 30, and who should walk out with the WWE Championship? Please share your thoughts and views below. Be sure to check back with PWMania.com for the latest news on CM Punk’s expected return. I’ll be at the Allstate Arena Monday for RAW and will send in live crowd reports and photos (possibly of new CM Punk merchandise?). Follow PWMania and me on Twitter @PWMania, @Enzo_Marino and comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised so we can keep the wrestling discussion going.