CM Punk underwent knee surgery last week and is expected to miss some time. Punk is still being advertised to appear on RAW. His injury is expected to be included in storylines as it was addressed in a statement made by Vince McMahon and released on WWE.com.
Punk's injury sets up perfectly for the WWE Champion to be wheelchair-bound. This was the case for Bret Hart in 1997 during the Canadian legend's hot heel run. Should Punk spend the next several weeks being wheeled around by Paul Heyman, he will join an exclusive club.
Many WWE superstars have included wheelchairs in their gimmick arsenal for both legitimate and kayfabe reasons.
More times than not, wheelchairs do anything but protect WWE stars. Many times, they are a source of even more danger.
Vince McMahon was forced into a wheelchair following an attack by The Undertaker and Kane. During the attack, the Brothers of Destruction used steel stairs to break McMahon's leg.
Being bound to a wheelchair seems like the antithesis of power. But Vince McMahon only seemed like more of an intimidating ruler as he was tirelessly wheeled around by his stooges.
Bret Hart may have gotten the most mileage out of a wheelchair than anybody in WWE history. Prior to 1997, Bret Hart had been a babyface throughout his entire career as a top guy.
After undergoing surgery, Hart needed assistance from a wheelchair. He used the device to key a heel turn that would eventually lead to his controversial showdown against Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series that year.
Hart's infamous pre-wheelchair promo on Vince McMahon were an indicator of future uncharacteristically strong promos he would cut as an embittered star.
Batista's momentous heel run to end his WWE career culminated in the Animal being bound to a wheelchair.
Ironically enough, Batista's final segment on RAW would involve Bret Hart, who was formerly bound to a wheelchair in 1997.
Batista would need the wheelchair after being thrown off a car and through the stage by John Cena the previous night at WWE Over The Limit. He would quit on air the following night on RAW.
Mae Young needed a wheelchair after being power bombed by the Dudley Boyz on RAW. The following week, the ageless former Diva was powerbombed off of the stage in a visually scintillating spot.
The wheelchair bore no direct relation to the senior citizen's toughness as Young took dangerous, unheard of high spots in consecutive weeks.
Zack Ryder's use of a wheelchair pretty much ruined his career. The WWE needed to get a returning Kane over as a monster, As a result, Ryder was a sacrificial lamb in the Big Red Machine's path of destruction.
Kane first choke slammed Ryder off the RAW stage, leading to injuries that necessitated a wheelchair. He then wheeled Ryder off the stage on a subsequent RAW, further compounding Ryder's injuries.
Ryder's momentum has slowed considerably since his feud with Kane. He has not held a WWE championship since.