Quick warning: There are a ton of emails to get through. It is going to take a few columns. Remain patient. As always, the ones with foul language will not be included. Do not be shy! Get involved below in the comment section or through email/social media. The links are at the end of the column. Be sure to interact folks! How about we kick it off with a slight comparison to AJ Styles?
Franck: “I’ve juste read your take on the whole CM Punk story. How can you so quickly classify that story as being real, but be as quick to classify the whole ”AJ Styles quitting TNA wrestling” as a work? This is not criticism, but just a question.”
That is a fair point. There are three things to note here.
1. AJ Styles leaving TNA Impact Wrestling WAS a work…up until the middle of January. Is it still? I have no idea, but everything from August 2013 to last month was just for show. Not sure where things sit now. A return to the company, I assume.
2. On that note, I can now reveal what I had been teasing for the past few weeks. Remember when I said something would be known by the end of January? Well, here it goes. I had been going back and forth via email trying to secure an interview with AJ Styles. After initial communication with his representative in late 2013, everything was delayed until the holidays ended. That was then pushed back a few weeks before ultimately NOT happening at all a few days ago. Confirmed. Not happening! Tough break. Thought it set…but was not. I am moving forward though. No Styles interview is coming.
3. As for how this relates to CM Punk, it is just based on reputation and history. CM Punk is NOT AJ Styles. In just about every way, they are opposites. If what seemed like a wok on one end, it does not mean anything to the opposite end. Enough has been confirmed, rumored and/or shown from the past to differentiate the two situations. Punk is Punk. AJ is AJ. In both cases, I do think both return to their company. For instance, here is a similar email…
Johnnie: “In reading your column, I came up with an idea. I know Punk took his ball and left and I also know you don’t really like fantasy booking. But what if this is all a work and they are just waiting for Sting to sign for sure. Punk comes back claiming he had some thinking to do, and realized that he needs help, as much as he hates it. Challenges HHH to a tag match at WM XXX and so HHH gets Kane and Punk debuts Sting at WM? Now since Punk prob won’t be back, we just insert Daniel Bryan in this storyline. What are your thoughts on this?”
1. Sting is not signed with WWE (yet), so that is already stretching things. I have said for all of 2013 that I think he is ‘moving on’ come early 2014. Until that happens, my thoughts will wait.
2. Tag matches just do not interest me for top story lines come WrestleMania. They never did and likely never will. One on one matches are the way to go. Regardless of what happens with Sting, Triple H, Daniel Bryan, or CM Punk – keep tag matches out of it.
Grant via email: “So punk is gone, hurt, tired, angry, upset, DONE. I don’t buy it, I don’t believe it. CM PUNK is just like Y2J. HE LOVES to work the internet fans, he has been doing it since he knew he was leaving ROH. I know you don’t watch or follow ROH, but I am sure you know he had his “ last match” there and won, he proceeded to sign his WWE contract in the center of that ring. PUNK IS GENIUS and if wwe is rolling with this, they are genius as well.
Now I am no fantasy booker, nor do I wish to be. WWE always makes things come full circle! Now since punk has “left” Dolph Ziggler tweeted he isn’t leaving yet…. Give it a year. Colt cabana stated any punk questions please DM me. Zack Ryder said something about his new tights leaving with punk. But what REALLY got me, was Mick Foley! He posted a HUGE blog, THREW a brick though his TV. Mick Foley is known to be outspoken but even in his most AGGRAVATED with WWE he has never bashed them like he did. At first I was shocked and then I really thought about it… ok WWE isn’t pushing who THE PEOPLE want them to. They bring back Batista. Push randy and kind of keep john cena neutral, and actually siding with A lot of the IWC favorites ,so he doesn’t get wrapped into being hated in this STORY line that is coming. Come on Justin! WWE unfollowed Punk on twitter?! Seriously? You don’t think that was to spike this EXACT conversation?
I think it will be punk, daniel, wyatts, ziggler, all those guys taking on the authority and CHANGING the way we see WWE (clearly wwe will do whatever they want as punk stated), but it is all a big work in my eyes! I honestly think it is genius!”
I agree with you on the Mick Foley part. He is as calm as can be (like myself). For him to totally flip out and bash the company,, either he is putting on a front or he finally was pushed too far as a fan. Choose whatever you want. I am a big Foley fan. He has been nothing but courtesy to me, so I tend to take his word for it. He says he is not “working’ anybody. Obviously, wrestlers lie all the time. With him, I trust it was just anger and frustration over the Royal Rumble pay-per-view ending. Nothing else.
I also agree with you on WWE unfollowing CM Punk on Twitter. That did seem VERY obvious…almost too obvious. Of course, people were going to see that. The other thing is that many WWE Superstars still DO follow Punk on Twitter. A lot of top guys. Therefore, that theory is shaky at best. When you think of other sports, it seems petty but does happen. When Dwight Howard left the L.A. Lakers last year, within minutes Kobe Bryant(Lakers player) unfollowed him on Twitter. Yeah, seems petty…but DOES happen even with grown men and athletes. Welcome to the world of social media!
As for the ‘us against them’ mentality with the IWC fans, it has always been that way. No matter what is going on, the folks on the internet will always claim WWE is wrong and their ‘fantasy booking’ ideas are right. Is WWE taking advantage of it now? Maybe, a little. I just do not believe it is the situation here. In the end, will this TURN into a story line? Yeah, probably. Stone Cold walked out. That was turned into a story line months later. As noted before, I think the fans sticking to the “It’s a work!” idea just do not want to believe Punk would leave. It is the denial stage. He is gone…at least for now.
Thomas: “I was confused when I saw Batista return. Was a heel or face? Plus after the madness of the Royal rumble, The interactions with the crowd. Do we see him as a heel? This will set up a heel vs heel wrestlemania main event”
I do believe a heel turn is coming AFTER WrestleMania XXX. He is heading for a feud with Randy Orton. After that, a showdown with Daniel Bryan in Seattle, Washington seems ideal. Somewhere in April, Batista can reveal he was with The Authority all along. Either at Mania or the next night. Think of Stone Cold in 2002 joining Vince McMahon. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon can say that Batista is the REAL ‘face’ of the company and not Randy Orton. Something like that. Then Daniel Bryan comes out, and we are off to the races! Just one little idea here…
Anonymous: “I’ve spent the day trying to figure out how to feel about CM Punk as I am a huge fan of his, but disagree with his recent actions. I fear that the Punk we’re seeing now is the true CM Punk and that’s why WWE has not made him ” The Guy” in the company, I mean why would WWE depend and count on a guy who publicly complains about the company, despite being given one of the longest title reigns in history, dates through the divas, a problem John Morrison ran into with Melina, has attitude problems, including using racial slurs against fans? Just writing it all down, makes me give WWE credit for not firing or even suspending him.
I understand some of his points about part timers stealing the spotlight away from the everyday guys, however I don’t hear Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston, The Usos or countless others complaining or walking away when they don’t get what they want. The thing I hope CM Punk wakes up and realizes 2 things: that guys in that locker room would kill to have his spot and will gladly take it, and that the WWE doesn’t revolve around CM Punk. In fact I would argue that CM Punk is in the spot he is because he hast live up to his potential. I remember the summer of Punk, were we all thought we were seeing the second coming of Stone Cold Steve Austin, but now he’s really become just another guy perhaps due to injuries or perhaps his head isn’t in the game.
I find now that I’d rather watch guys like Daniel Bryan, who show heart and talent. Punk needs to be careful or he could easily become another Ultimate Warrior or Jeff Hardy. I believe in a few months, Punk will return to the WWE but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fall to a mid card act. Why would WWE push a guy whose proven he could walk away at any moment? I can’t wait for the day CM Punk becomes, gasp, a part timer. The great irony is that him walking away is just what Daniel Bryan needed to break through.”
Yep, mostly agree with everything here.
His past issues have been well noted. It is amazing WWE has let all of that fly. Also, keep in mind he is one of the lucky few to keep his name going through developmental. You would think Punk would be grateful for some of this, but I guess not.
Good point about complaining. I do not hear Kofi Kingston whining. I do not see Drew Mcintyre quitting on the spot. I do not see countless other in the back having this kind of attitude. All of these guys would love, love, love, love, love, love to be in Punk’s spot.
Nice point about WWE. As mentioned, the company will move forward and make money. He is a spoke on a wheel, right? The machine will turn. Sitting on his couch is not going to do anything. It is not a ‘protest’ or anything. WWE will just continue on their business.
Punk does need to be careful. Yes, I think we all agree he will come back at some point…but at what cost? A pay cut? Less of a role? No longer being trusted enough? With less fans then before? What goes around comes around. WWE also needs to be careful when they do bring him back to the company.
Not to beat a dead horse, but Stone Cole walked out TWICE in 2002. The day after WM18 and in June. The company forgave his first outburst because he is a legend. The second time? No way. So long buddy. Go sit at home. You can not just keep on quitting when you do not get your way. Unprofessional and wrong.
Finally, you are right. I have said for over a year now that the day will come (maybe soon) that CM PUNK will be the part-time wrestler in WWE. Then what will he say? Then how will his fans react? My guess is he suddenly like the part-timers and enjoys the cushy main event spot for a few months of wrestling. Irony or hypocrite? You tell me.
Raw Preview Tonight!
Will CM Punk show up and be ready to go back to work? Can Vince McMahon and company calm the situation? Hey, you never know. Everything could be smooth sailing again. As discussed, it is only a matter of time before Punk returns. It is just who blinks first – WWE or CM Punk. Very interesting Raw tonight. I assume the live crowd will voice their feelings loud and clear. Also, the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view and WWE Network is right around the corner. Few more weeks! Buckle up folks. The Road to WrestleMania is just getting started…
What do you folks think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @JustinWatry