Smark Talk: Fans Sound Off On CM Punk Quitting WWE

CM Punk

Welcome PWManiacs! My last column about CM Punk may have produced a personal best amount of feedback from writing online for nearly six years. From the comments section below to email to Twitter to the amount of social media replies to everything in between, it was pretty amazing to watch unfold. For somebody who has done this for so long, I am still in awe of the passion and desire shown by us – the wrestling fans all over the world!

With that cliched and corny opening out of the way, it is going to be tough to respond to every single person and every single message thrown my way during the past few days. However, I am going to try. To save everybody the time and energy, this has to be broken up into separate entries. Sorry but everything can NOT fit into one giant column. The feedback was too enormous and well done that it would not do this story justice.

Be forewarned now: CM Punk will dominate my next few columns. Just a heads up. From now until next weekend, the main discussion point will be CM Punk, CM Punk, CM Punk…and maybe a few other things mixed in there as well. Everybody ready? Okay, let us all begin with some folks on from the comment section below and Twitter! I tried to get to everybody but may have left a few out. Sorry!

Note: If you did not get a reply, it was likely due to foul/offensive language or being similar to another comment.

Joe: “if it does indeed turn out that Punk has left i hope they have Bryan vs HHH close the show”

Well, Batista vs. Randy Orton can not close the show. That is for sure. Since WWE has had a history of putting non-title matches last at WM, I would not be against it. If a non-title match has a better story and payoff, then give that the main event slot. We have seen it before. To go along with my stipulation, I think the fans would LOVE for Bryan/HHH to end the night. If HHH wins, Bryan never gets another title match. If Bryan win, he gets a clean one on one title match at Extreme Rules in his home state of Washington. Bryan wins. The night ends with 75,000 fans doing the “Yes!” chants as the commentators talk about how great it will be for him to finally get a fair championship match in front of his friends and family. Seems fitting to me.

Jordan Dillard: “no cause the ppl will complain that hhh wants to put himself in the main event. I swear you can plz some ppl.”

That would be the only problem. Immediately everybody would be up in arms because Triple H was in the main event. I am not a HHH hater, so it means nothing either way. From other’s perspective, it may come off bad.

Keith W: “good column about Punk, put positive perspective on the situation”

I do not know if it was positive or not. Thanks for the praise though. I tried to cover all bases and not just “Punk is perfect, WWE are big stupid heads!”

Bernardlebee Huckles: you always answer my questions… Do you think not pushing DB is more or less likely to hurt wwe network?

Not pushing? I hope that was a joke… Poor Daniel Bryan being the first man to defeat The Shield in a six man tag. Poor Daniel Bryan pinning Sheamus clean on Raw. Poor Daniel Bryan making Randy Orton tap out in a street fight. Poor Daniel Bryan being in the main event of Summerslam. Poor Daniel Bryan getting a rare, rare, rare clean win over JOHN CENA for the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP! Poor Daniel Bryan for getting four straight pay-per-view main event matches. Poor Daniel Bryan for constantly closing Raw or Smackdown through 2013 and now 2014. Poor Daniel Bryan for now getting a title match inside the Elimination Chamber. Poor guy…poor, poor guy.

Not sure why this fascination with WWE “burying” Bryan. He has been the focal point of the company for almost a year now. Ask Zack Ryder or JTG about being buried. Not the guy in main events and major story lines every week.

Matt Nesler: “I am a Punk fan, always have been. But what he did was uncalled for. He should honor his obligations and then leave.”

Good call. If his deal was up in July, then be a good soldier and stick it out until then. After that, he is free to do whatever. Just upping and quitting? Sorry, not the way to handle things.

Jason Collins: “Good stuff in here. RT CM Punk quits WWE – full analysis!”

Thank you. The column has spread like wild fire across Twitter. Every bit helps.

Patrick Holland: “great punk article agree 100% #worstintheworld #punkquits”

Hahaha. Worst in the world? Maybe at walking out, yes. Punk quits? Well, that seems to be true. No arguments there.

Paul Smiles: “When writing this where was your confirmation he quit? WWE?”

Admittedly, none. I said as such in the column. Now that CM Punk is being replaced by Sheamus on live events AND being replaced by Ric Flair at WrestleMania axxess appearances, it seems that WWE is confirming his departure that way. Instead of an official announcement or something. Maybe that will come still? As of now, Punk is out of the picture. Note the words: AS OF NOW!

Ravin Sampat: “interesting article. Good points BUT stock price of WWE going up doesn’t reflect longterm effect of Punk departure IMO as much as I’d like to see him back, don’t think stopped pay-checks will stop him considering he alluded to “saving up”..and don’t think it’s a work either. WWE took their eye off the ball. Ziggler could be next.. Fans are annoyed.”

Three points here.

1. The WWE stock price does continue to soar. While that may not mean everything, it does represent that all of this supposed negativity from the past week ultimately means very little. The “IWC” has their vision. The public perception and stock holders could not care any less about that junk. I disagree about long-term ramifications of Punk leaving because he seemed to be out the door come July regardless. What long-term? Six months? Then he would likely be going part-time or winding his career down at that point anyways. For a guy to turn 36 years old and in his spot, there is not a ton of ‘long-term’ anything.

2. If he has saved up and is good to go, then I applaud him. He made his millions. I hope he enjoys life. At some point though, he is going to start to miss those giant pay checks arriving at his front door. Stone Cold said as such yesterday on the Arsenio Hall show.

3. If Dolph wants out too? Then leave. There is the door. Bye. Have fun…doing whatever it is you want to do. I am a fan of his, but such is life. WWE will be just fine without Dolph Ziggler.

Craig Mapstone: “Nice write up re Punk. Hit the nail on the head at the end with that wheel still turning. He’ll be forgotten about post WM.”

Yeah, WWE will roll on, but forgotten is harsh. Truth be told, I actually expect him to be back post-WrestleMania. However, we can dive into his ‘return’ a little later on. I do appreciate the kind words.

Benjamin Thompson: “Great article about Punk from Justin Watry it’s interesting to read I suggest you read it! Makes you think in a whole new perspective!”

That is what I am here for – to make fans think. Like the column or hate the column, it is an overall view of the situation.

RoseDarwinWWE: “Very interesting take on the Punk/WWE situation by Justin Watry I urge you to take 5mins to read it”

Thanks. I also urge people to take five minutes of out their day to read it.

Brad Dukes: “really enjoyed the Punk article. Huge point about Cena too. Punk whines, but he produces! He’ll be back.”

There is just always something with Punk. Never seems 100 percent satisfied. That is both a blessing and a curse. It makes you strive to be better and better no matter what. It also means you do not appreciate all you already have. Yes, CM Punk will be back. The question is when.

Joe: “WWE should have Mr McMahon publicly apologize for Punk walking out on the fans, make him the bad guy”

Well, he is already the bad guy regardless of what his defenders want to try and spin. He walked out. He quit during the most important time of the year. Will Mr. McMahon apologize on Raw? Eh, probably not. He certainly could, but the live crowd would just turn against him. Fans did the same for Stone Cold. They chanted his name and STILL wanted to love him even though he had just took his ball and went home. Maybe do it on Twitter or WWE.com only.

Greg Gagne: “Couldn’t agree more with the column. Mr. Watry was spot on in his analysis. #TheTruthHurtsSometimes”

The truth does hurt. It would suck if I had on a CM Punk shirt that night on Raw only to learn he went home. It would suck if I had waited months to see him at Smackdown…only for him to walk out. It would suck if I paid top dollar to meet him at WMXXX, only for him to quit. It would suck. Fans are very loyal to ‘their guy.’ Very loyal, sometimes loyal to a fault.

Stefan: “The market doesn’t pay attention to creative, they look at TV ratings, business deals, etc.”

This was in response to the WWE stock price continuing to get up. You are right. They do not pay attention nor does it matter. That is my point. Regardless of what creative directions are made or how many favorites lose, none of that means a thing. Television ratings and the bottom line is all that matters. Right now, it is at an all-time high.

Jonathan Troc: “Justin Watry could be to take attention away from Sting, isn’t that what Vince really wants ha”

Hahahaha, no. Despite the perception, WWE has been VERY kind to Sting and his legacy. Very kind. Through promos/videos and different features on their website, the company has always complimented The Stinger. Whatever is going on with Punk and/or Daniel Bryan does not relate to Sting in any way.

Devon Lal: “Justin Watry Point for point fits my opinion. I’m a fan before and after him, although he’s a big reason my interests peaked again.”

Fair enough. Nobody is knocking him for what he does in the ring. It is everything outside of the ring that has been questionable for years and years and years and may have finally bubbled over on Monday. Too bad. Very talented performer.

Dennis Abell: “Now I’m hoping Justin Watry slams the idiots who put that Daniel Bryan petition on the White House website in the first place. Good lord…”

I will not call them idiots, but you are on the right track. Online petitions mean nothing. Trust me, I know. They are there to pretend to give people a ‘voice’ without actually doing anything. On top of that, I think there are more important issues going on in the world than Bryan getting a title match at WrestleMania. Seriously folks, take a deep breath. Relax.

James Humwood: “As a punk fan a I hate this column but from a business perspective the column guy is right you can’t just walk out u should fulfill ur contract”

Well said. We all love CM Punk. We all to act like he is the greatest ever and can do no wrong. In reality, WWE is a business and keeps on trucking with or without guys. For somebody to show up at the arena and just walk out is wrong.

Damien Brimmage: “Finally someone saying he’s in the wrong!”

I was not surprised by most of the internet crowd sticking by Punk. He is an ‘indy darling.’ My gripe is if ANYBODY else walked out, how would Punk fans react then? If Batista did this, how would you react? If Cena did this, how would you react? Just a guess: The reaction would be quite different BUT because it is Punk, he gets a pass. Do not be a hypocrite.

John: “would have rather read the sting article”

If Sting signs with WWE, that will be coming. A full breakdown of everything about the move.

Luis Suarez: “I wouldn’t exactly say poor work ethic describes Punk. Dude wrestles injured, does almost all 5 days a week, and traveling not to mention. I’d agree with possibly unprofessional, but the dude has great work ethic”

What you just described is nearly every wrestler on the WWE roster. Wrestler hurt. Non-stop travel. I do not see anybody else quitting. If that was the case, 50 guys would show up next week on Monday and leave too. However, they know it is wrong and know better. Obviously, Punk thought otherwise.

RVD4Life: “This article was very informative. As much as the IWC loves Punk, the author hit every nail on the head. Punk has acted out in many ways. He attacks a fan, he’s rude to the people in public. He complains on twitter. He says his matches suck. He insults fans with offensive terms at live events. The bottom line is regardless of how much you love the guy, He’s in the wrong. He took his ball and went home. Regardless of how much you agree with him and his reasoning for quitting, You don’t screw the fans. The fans made him into what he is today.” 

Does he have talent? Sure. Does he have a great wrestling mind? Absolutely. BUT… You don’t walk out on the fans. And that’s exactly what he did. Whether you agree with him or not. Would I be p****d if I were in his position? Of course. But it doesn’t take away the fact that he is being very unprofessional. He’ll be back for sure, but at what cost? He’s getting older too, and doesn’t have much left in the tank. That’s obvious. I hope Punk learns from his mistake and grows from it.

As noted, he will be back. Not to keep comparing the situations, but I wonder if it will be like when Stone Cold returned in early 2003 after his 2002. Fans loved it…but the feeling just was not the same anymore. He worked a few matches and then retired. Punk has mentioned numerous times he will retire young, so this scenario also fits. Returns, works a few more matches, and then decides what is next after his contract expires in July 2014.

hisfirewithin: “OK…forgive my lack of suspension of disbelief, but this whole thing smells like “work” to me…

The author brought up the contract dispute of 2011. Makes perfect sense. This time, though, there’s all kinds of legit media attention. Punk being this way and walking out seems like a perfect believable scenario. Are the WWE smart enough to create this sort of second layer of kayfabe and really get over on legit media outlets and all the “smarts” out there? I would hope they were starting to figure it out by now.

Why would they do it? Simple. Daniel Bryan fans are ruining everything else they try to do. Creative has been reportedly in a tailspin since Royal Rumble. Maybe they finally decided that Punk, who is beat up, on limited contract, and who is not overly critical to storylines at the moment, could give up his spot to DB, whose HHH hate makes a lot more sense with anyway, go home, heal up, and get a big fat worked shoot in in the process. This enables, as the author said, for DB to get screwed at Elimination Chamber, Beat HHH at Mania, and get the belt from Batista in Seattle. Not because he needs a belt, but because giving him the title is the only way they’re going to be able to tell any other stories right now without fans trying to hijack the whole thing.

Then, suddenly, Punk walks out during Bryan’s celebration, and you have your huge main event draw for the summer. Just in time for ice cream bars.

They will probably never be able to pull off another CM Punk contract work again after this, and if this is not indeed a work, my personal hope is that a healed up Punk can help one or more of the other regional promotions become an actual competitor to WWE, which is what the whole industry needs.”

I think some just WANT it to be a work. It is more like reaching for hope. Remember the stages of grieving a death? One is denial. Deny, deny, deny. Whenever something happens out of the blue, suddenly “It’s a work!” comments start popping up. While that may be true sometimes, more often that not it is just fans not willing to accept something they disagree with. In this case, I am going forward with this being legitimate. There is just too much pointing in that direction without much of any payoff to ‘messing with online fans’ as a way to profit regardless. Seems like a waste of time. Take one of your top guys off television from January to April and give out refunds for replacing him at events? Yeah, great plan. Yawn!

Now, do not be mistaken. WWE could easily turn this into a story. They did with Stone Cold back in 2002/2003. For now, it is the sad truth. Punk walked out before the network launch and right before Mania.

CM Punk

What do you folks think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

Email: jw_bball_615@hotmail.com | Twitter: @JustinWatry

Thanks.

  • Luis Suarez

    My comment was in response to another comment, not so much the article just an FYI, but like SC said so many people in the locker room are just so content with being on the roster, and on TV that they don’t care where they’re at. They’re happy to be collecting a paycheck even if they’re not used that night. Punk is not one of those people, and not saying he’s the only one. I know there’s a handful of dudes who could thrive in the beloved “Attitude Era” but there’s a lot of guys back there who go out week after week for 5 min on RAW and are completely satisfied.

  • I dont know

    While I agree with your column in general, I want to adress that definetly not every wrestler in the current roster wrestled a full time schedule with barely any breaks(I really remember only that post WM 29 break) for the last 5 or so years. He may be not the only one, but not one of many too. And I still think that stock price of WWE going up doesn’t reflect long term effect of CM Punk’s departure since especially nowdays bad publicity>no publicity is true, and only after maybe 6 months(if CM Punk doesn’t return by that time which is very possible) we will see how WWE is effected. Anyway still nice to see someone who doesn’t just talk how CM Punk is right and WWE is wrong, looking forward to the next columns!

  • tobimobi

    About the work and planning ahead or not. About 6 months before the summer of punk. I saw punk in an interview on eurosport saying he wasn’t to sure that he would sign a new contract all ready at that point creating uncertainty about his future with the wwe. Not saying that it proves anything. Just saying it has been done.

  • James Humwood

    yay my comment got on there lol still agree i love punk but he should have waited till his contract was up

  • JR Texx (Jamie)

    Wow finally someone that thinks Punk walking out is wrong.

    • llele!

      Why?WWE is acting like shit.

      • JR Texx (Jamie)

        You just don’t walk out like they just because you don’t like it.

        • llele!

          If you have something better to go to…….why not.lol

          • JR Texx (Jamie)

            but he can’t go anywhere else, his contract ends in July.

          • llele!

            ….Well then good observation.lol