It’s been a few weeks since CM Punk walked out of the WWE. Countless articles have been written, numerous theories have been presented, and the question remains unanswered: is it a giant work? I may be wrong, and someone may hold this column over my head as Exhibit A in their defense that I don’t know what I’m talking about…but I have got to say no.
A while back, I wrote a column hoping that Daniel Bryan was going to have the equivalent of Bret Hart’s 1991 Summerslam (and that STILL hasn’t happened). In that column I expressed that I didn’t see much of Bryan’s independent exploits. Same goes for CM Punk. While these guys were chasing the dream, so was I. In fact, the only independent action I have seen from Punk was the clips featured on his WWE produced “Best in the World” DVD. All I knew when I was working through the independents was that there was a long haired tattooed guy that was claiming to be straight edge that was making a lot of noise.
I was amazed that how much press he got on all of the wrestling websites and in the magazines. I’d read about his matches from time to time and if I’m quite honest, I personally never thought he would have ever been signed to the WWE system. Just from what I read about him, he seemed like the type of guy that just really wouldn’t want to. I figured they (as back then and still do) would make him change his name, although he dodged that bullet. I figured they would force him into the gym for 5 hours a day until he LOOKED like what they think a sports entertainer should be. Although he has bulked up through the years, and he was always in great shape, he dodged that bullet too.
He debuted as CM Punk, and he got over as CM Punk, and he walked out the door as CM Punk. We can debate all day long on whether WWE treated him badly. We can debate whether he did wrong by the fans by walking out. We can speculate all day long that Vince wants him back and that HHH doesn’t. I mentioned in the last column about the friends I have made while I was with WWE and how I hate that their livelihood depends on the writing of the Vince led creative team. CM Punk was a friend to me while I was up there.
My very first road trip to California occurred in summer of 2007 and I needless to say, pretty nervous. I had just started in developmental in February and after just a few months of it, got my first shot on the road. I had no idea what to do on the road! Do I go out? Do I stay in my room? Sounds silly but it’s true. So as I was checking into the hotel I walked out and a car pulled up next to me. Inside was Punk and Hornswoggle. “Hey you’re the new ref, right? Wanna go to the gym with us?” To say that I was just amazed was an understatement and needless to say, to the gym I went. After the workout we all went to a hibachi grill and sat and talked independent wrestling after for a few hours. We told stories about our backgrounds and how we all broke in. We talked about our influences in the business, and different aspects of the business. And over the course of the evening, these two popular WWE superstars became my friends.
Since I was developmental still, the office paid for my rental car and travel, so I offered the use of my rental any time they needed. So for the next few months (until I began ring crew work and traveled with Mike Posey and Charles Robinson), these guys, along with Cliff “Domino” Compton and sometimes the Miz, became my travel buddies. And boy did we have some fun out there! I never got to go to OVW so I enjoyed their stories from their times in developmental there. We continued to chat at most TVs and PPVs and I got to watch first hand his growth into the main cog of the dying WWE version ECW brand. The crowds pretty much demanded he win the championship from John Morrison. This guy worked so hard to get everything he had from the company.
It’s been well documented that WWE didn’t see money in him. Didn’t want him coming up from OVW, and there were probably people in the company that didn’t even want him in OVW! He had supporters, but as we all know…unless you have Vinnie Mac’s or Trips support…then you might as well come up with song lyrics that match the melodies of your spinning tires! Did CM Punk make a lot of money? I’m certain. Did ever have that support? I really don’t think he did. It becomes apparent when WWE wants someone to get over….just not too over. That explains these haphazard stop and start pushes that people get.
We’re still questioning whether they are going to fully go all the way with Daniel Bryan, and we won’t know until WrestleMania XXX. We asked that question about Punk for years. Yeah he had runs with the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships, but did they put the machine fully behind him? It was behind him, but I don’t think all the cylinders were firing.
Back in the day, if a wrestler caught fire, WWE poured gasoline on them! Today, they piss on the fire and smother it out! The Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, Batista, Steve Austin, John Cena, The Rock, and even Hulk Hogan are just a few examples of what WWE can create whenever a wrestler shows an organic chemistry and connection to the crowd. CM Punk had it. Bryan has it. Roman Reigns is developing. But in the case of CM Punk…did they pour gas on the fire or did they try to keep the flames down? Why wouldn’t WWE pour gas on CM Punk? The whole world thought they were going to in 2011 with the “Pipe Bomb” but after the phenomenal Money in the Bank title win over Cena, then what? Right back to where he started. Then he gets to be the longest reigning WWE Champion in the last 20 years…and drops the title at the Royal Rumble? He spent over a year working his ass off only to not drop the belt in the main event of WrestleMania? I’d be upset too!
If Punk wasn’t happy with where he was heading on the card of this year’s Mania and he decided to go home, good for him! If he was questioning payoffs, GREAT! Somebody should! I know from personal experience (not even wrestling related) that a human being can only take so much. We all have a breaking point, whether we can admit it to ourselves or not. We can only take so much bs politics, games, double talk, mixed signals, and backstabbing before we just can’t take it anymore. It gets to a point where it doesn’t matter how much money is in your bank account because your piece of mind is worth way more. I hope Punk didn’t get that far. I hope he got out before he hit the breaking point.
It’d be sad to think that we may never see him in a ring again. But if that what he has to do to find peace of mind, then by all means, leave him be. I saw a few headlines that said some mixed martial artists challenged him to a fight. You’ve got to be kidding me. The guy has barely gotten home, hasn’t had a chance to just chill, relax, and enjoy himself and someone has to challenge him to a REAL FIGHT? Give me a break. And Punk….take your break…no matter how long it is. You deserve it.
What do you think? Post your thoughts, opinions, feedback and comments below.
Thanks for reading.
About Wes Adams: Wes Adams is a former WWE official/referee. Adams signed a WWE developmental deal in early 2007, and was assigned to Deep South Wrestling. After working as a official/referee on WWE television, he opened his own wrestling promotion “PowerSlam Productions.”