Monday, December 1, 2014

My Take on the CM Punk Saga

On January 27th, 2014 I attended Monday Night Raw in Cleveland, Ohio. This was the night after the Royal Rumble and I wanted to see what was next for CM Punk after entering at number one. The show opened with The Authority and Daniel Bryan before the Shield showed up. I expected CM Punk to come out to help Bryan but instead, we got Sheamus and John Cena. I was confused and even more stunned at Punk not showing up at all. However, the following day news broke that CM Punk had quit the WWE. This was hard news for me to take being a big Punk fan. Things kept leaking out with different stories and fans kept expecting Punk to come back at different shows. The March 3rd Raw was held in Chicago and Punk's theme hit to open the broadcast but it was Paul Heyman instead. Then at the Payback Pay-Per-View in Chicago, a Punk return was again kind of expected. It didn't happen. The chants of "CM Punk" has filled arenas since that fateful day in January, with AJ Lee being the biggest victim of them. After months of silence on his end, CM Punk finally spoke on his friend Colt Cabana's Art of Wrestling Podcast. 

During the near two hour sit down interview, CM Punk discusses the reasons why he left. For one, he mentions that Vince McMahon continually set him up to do things that he didn't want to do and would say that he'd "owe him one." Things like working with Ryback, who was called out by Punk as "steroid guy" and "unsafe." Now, I'd like to discuss this for a moment. I understood a lot of where Punk was coming from, but I wasn't a fan of him calling out Ryback. Whether he's unsafe or not, I don't think he should have done that. Anyway, Punk also mentioned that he had been working hurt, which is something that was speculated at the time of his departure. According to him, he was working with banged up knees, a concussion and a lump on his back. One of his biggest issues is with the WWE medical team, who refused to cut what they called a "fatty deposit". After leaving the company, Punk had it checked out by AJ Lee's doctor and they informed him that it was a staph infection and that he could have died from working on it for months.

Something that a lot of people have pointed to is the fact that CM Punk stated that "it's not always about money", but then goes on to discuss the fact that he wanted more money for WrestleMania. Understand this. Punk is saying that happiness is not measured in dollars,
however, you should be compensated for the work you do. He worked one of the "three main events" at WrestleMania 29 against The Undertaker. He, and a lot of other people, myself included, felt that he deserved the WrestleMania main event spot. Punk got paid much less than The Rock, John Cena, Triple H, Brock Lesnar and Undertaker. Don't get me wrong, those guys are bigger draws than Punk, but if you compete in a match of that caliber and you are a proven commodity like Punk, you have every right to want to be paid like a top star. Some people don't feel that way and I understand, but it is how Punk felt and you have to respect that. There was a lot more discussed but the big thing that I want to touch on is how Punk didn't quit. Yes, he left the night after the Rumble but from what he said, it sounded like Vince and Hunter were okay with this. Then, he got a text saying that he was suspended for two months until the night after WrestleMania. Punk then did not hear from anyone until right before his wedding day. The day of his wedding, Punk received a FedEx saying that he was fired. So it sounds like he didn't really quit. Yes, he did walk out but that was okay with the men in charge.

Basically, it all boils down to one thing and that's the fact that we now know Punk's side of the story but we don't know everything. People that are taking his side 100% or bashing him 100% need to know that the truth probably lies somewhere in between his story and whatever Triple H and Vince would have to say if they ever did say something. I do not hate CM Punk for leaving and he does need to take some blame for some things but a lot seems to be on the shoulders of the WWE as well. In the end, we haven't heard everything and it is possible that we never will. To 100% believe either side at this point is unfair to the opposite side.