It seems like we can't go very long without a "CM Punk is working hurt" story. Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com is reporting on their PWInsiderElite.com subscription site (h/t WrestlingInc.com) that Punk may soon be taking time off to rest up because he's been dealing with a lot of knee and back issues as of late. With John Cena returning and Daniel Bryan firmly established as a main eventer, the belief is that it would be the right time for Punk to take time off so he's OK during WrestleMania season.
This would be Punk's third extended hiatus from in-ring action in the last year or so, after years of being the company's iron man, usually at or near the top of the list of the most matches performed each year for most of his time in the company. Previously:
- Last December, he took the month off to recover after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. He was still a pretty consistent presence on TV on crutches, including appearing at the TLC pay-per-view to do a promo from a luxury box.
- He took nine weeks off after WrestleMania 29 to both rest up his body and freshen up his character, having lost three huge pay-per-view matches in a row (to The Rock twice and then The Undertaker at WrestleMania) after his long run as WWE Champion.
Punk also worked a limited schedule for a couple of weeks last month. Previously, in 2010, he continued to do promos on SmackDown for a few weeks while recovering from elbow surgery and did (very well-received) commentary on Raw and Superstars for a month while recovering from a hip injury at the end of the year.
If the feeling within WWE is that they can afford to have Punk gone for a little while, then this is absolutely the right move. Most importantly, if he needs time off, he should get it, both for his own good and so he can be as close to 100 percent as possible for WrestleMania season.
Besides, his current feud with Ryback and Paul Heyman seems like it's just killing time until there's something better for everyone to do. Sure, I like everyone involved, and the promos are good, but their match at Battleground came off as completely superfluous, especially since neither should be losing cleanly to the other right now. I guess Ryback can now get a clean-ish win in the rematch, so he can injure Punk to set up his hiatus, though.
If Punk leaves after Hell in a Cell with the idea he'll be back for the Royal Rumble, I guess filling the role John Cena was going to have as that show's returning injured star, he'll have a good three months to rest. Hopefully, his injuries are the type that just need him to take it easy. Plus, with rest, he'll be fresher as a character, and hopefully the pieces will be moved around so that he can be in a new program, possibly with his WrestleMania opponent.
Who that WrestleMania opponent is...I have no idea. I hate to be a broken record about this, but the WrestleMania card is not exactly set in stone right now. Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan and The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar make sense as two of the top matches, but it's not like it was a year ago when the top three matches were ridiculously obvious several months out.
I guess you could move that WWE Championship to Punk or Cena and have them wrestle in a title match. A common sentiment after their incredible match on Raw for this year's WrestleMania title shot was that it was WrestleMania main event quality, and it would certainly be cool to see them do their thing in that setting. Not only would they be having a classic match, they'd be having one in the Superdome at WrestleMania.
What does everyone think? Can the WWE do OK without Punk for a few months? Who would you like to see him face at WrestleMania? Let us know in the comments.