CM Punk made a mistake. He let his emotions get the better of him after running into the stands on Raw and proceeded to strike a fan. While it was a terrible choice on his part, it should not have a negative impact on his standing within the WWE.
The reaction was immediate and harsh on social media, and it probably didn't take long for Punk to understand he shouldn't have allowed the situation to get physical. To his credit, he released a statement on WWE.com apologizing for what happened.
"I think the whole situation sucks," Punk told WWE.com. "It’s an unfortunate and isolated incident. I was up in the stands, surrounded."
"Somebody said, 'let’s push him down the stairs,'" Punk explained. "I got hit in the ribs three times. I was getting shoved and I was getting punched…Then I started getting tagged in the back of the head. Unfortunately, I lashed out in the heat of the moment and I apologize. I’m really just glad nobody was hurt."
Unlike most finely-crafted statements released nowadays, such as the one from the WWE in the same report, Punk's sounds genuine. It was a crazy situation and he allowed the fans to make him lose his cool, which should never happen.
He claims to be the "Best in the World." He doesn't claim to be perfect. Everybody makes mistakes, and Punk is no exception, even if he seems like a larger-than-life figure on television.
Like all things, the controversy is eventually going to pass and it will be back to business as usual. Once that happens, which could be as soon as next week's Raw, Punk should continue to serve as one of the company's top guys for the foreseeable future.
Should Punk be punished for the incident?
His nearly 330-day WWE Championship reign has provided the top title with new life. In an era where the amount of depth on the roster is limited, he's only of the few guys capable of drawing the television audience in consistently.
That's even more important now with John Cena on the mend and Randy Orton busy filming a movie. Punk is the best thing going in the WWE right now, meaning it's not time for some radical change of course in the next month or two.
There are a lot of good storylines on the horizon, with The Rock scheduled to return for the Royal Rumble, Ryback establishing himself in the main-event scene and, of course, Cena. Nothing should change based on Monday night.
Punk screwed up. The WWE knows it. The WWE Universe knows it. And most importantly, he seems to know it. That should be enough to leave the incident in the past and move on, hopefully with a lesson learned by Punk.
He's done too much good since his rapid rise up the card last summer to let one moment have a major impact on his status. Hopefully the WWE agrees.