By the time the ball has dropped on 2015, CM Punk will retire from wrestling, if he hasn't retired already.
I get the impression many fans feel CM Punk will be around for another 10 years. I don't think that is the case.
The late Macho Man Randy Savage was someone who was always at his best when working. When he stopped working, he basically disappeared from the public eye, especially by the standards of his peers in the genre, until his tragic death.
I'm not suggesting CM Punk is strictly using Macho Man as a role model for his decision making, but I think we'll be able to highlight similarities in their careers when Punk is done with wrestling.
When CM Punk's career is over, CM Punk will be done having to be CM Punk 24/7 and will enjoy being Phil Brooks. As with any great character, there are similarities between the two, but I'd imagine he will happily get himself out of Dodge and the daily consciousness of rabid wrestling fans.
He was arguably the hardest-working guy in the business, who fought through the independent scene and then to the WWE main-event picture.
For months, I've had the thought in my head that CM Punk would be gone sooner than anybody expects. Comments from a Comic Con this past weekend only solidified my belief. A 30 minute question and answer session features the WWE Champion saying that the only thing left for him is to be the marquee main event at WrestleMania.
On Twitter, he entertains with his sarcasm, wit and honesty to questions. Months ago, he was asked about the lifespan of his career:
Wrestlers will often “work” the audience on Twitter, but this isn't one of those cases. Where would the work be?
Hypothetically, if CM Punk was saying he's going to retire by November of 2012, that would have a likely chance of working in order to then have a surprise return for Royal Rumble or WrestleMania.
Giving a vague but honest answer of “way sooner than you think” is what it is―reality.
From the way he wrestles, talks, dresses, listens to music, lives his life―he has pride in his style and not using precedents or status quo as a guideline. He does it his way. He does things with drive and attempts perfection.
Taking all of that into consideration, I don't see it being fun to him to have a career like Terry Funk, Mick Foley or The Undertaker. No disrespect to any of them, because they all have accomplished careers, but they all have yet to completely walk away.
I'm not saying any of them need to walk away, but I don't picture CM Punk wanting his career and legacy to string along.
He came in with a bang of an underground following. He lives in the main-event picture after making a bang with one promo. He'll leave with a bang.
The archive tapes of his matches and promos will be his legacy after his last match. Not a role as a storyline GM, spokesman or one-novelty-match-a year kind of guy.
CM Punk will be the one guy who Stone Cold Steve Austin with whom will prepare himself for one match. Stone Cold Steve Austin will be the top choice for CM Punk to end his career. At WrestleMania 30, it will be Stone Cold Steve Austin's and CM Punk's last match.
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