For those that saw this past Monday’s episode of Raw, you would have seen CM Punk doing an in-ring promo that he cut short, before walking to the backstage area. And now it appears that is the last we will see of Punk for a fair while.
A report on ewrestlingnews claims that Punk has been given an extended break, for a couple of different reasons.
Firstly, aside from a short enforced break in late December/early January, Punk has worked non-stop – during his historic 434-day WWE Championship reign – on mostly every episode of Raw, some Smackdown shows, and a regular run of live events, as well as a multitude of promotional appearances. Several reports have circulated over the last few months saying Punk has felt burned out, as well as carrying varying niggling injuries, but with WWE in the midst of their always-heavy WrestleMania schedule, he continued to work. Adding to this, Punk suffered a knee injury at WrestleMania when he heavily collided with the ringside announce table which did not break as planned during a top rope elbow spot.
With WrestleMania now out of the way, Punk is now going to get his much-earned time off to heal up and recuperate. However, there is allegedly more to his absence than just burnout and injuries, including the latest one with his knee. The latest claim is that Punk is at odds with WWE creative, culminating in a major disagreement several weeks ago which caused him to, at one point, consider handing in his notice. However, the issues were resolved, and an agreement was made that he would not work live events, only TV and WrestleMania.
The angle we saw on Raw this week was originally due to take place one week earlier, the day after WM29, but officials made the decision to hold it off as they were concerned that Punk would get a big babyface reaction from the New Jersey crowd (which, looking back on that show, was a good decision in hindsight). So the walkout angle was booked instead for this past week, but more problems arose, as the original script for that promo called for Punk to ‘whine and complain’ about his ‘Mania loss to The Undertaker, something that he objected to as he did not agree with the wording scripted for him.
As is stands right now, CM Punk is not due to appear on WWE TV anytime soon. A combination of issues with management and his recent knee injury will mean an extended absence from the air, and the latest reports point to him being gone until at least SummerSlam time. His removal from booking plans has caused WWE to shake things up, meaning The Undertaker being brought back to wrestle on next week’s Raw, as well as the continuation of the Triple H-Brock Lesnar rivalry, which was not due to resume until later in the year. It is a sign of the importance of CM Punk to WWE that his absence caused the company to turn to Undertaker, who in recent years has only worked WrestleMania, and Brock Lesnar.