Doubt Surrounding CM Punk's Return? Big Surprise in Store?

Sharon GlencrossContributor IJanuary 2, 2013

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As you may have already heard, the company's official site reported earlier this afternoon that WWE champion CM Punk has been, according to sources close to the situation, medically cleared to compete after he underwent knee surgery last month.

This development means that Punk's scheduled Tables, Ladders and Chairs against Ryback for the belt on next week's Raw can now take place. (Per WWE Chairman Vince McMahon on Monday, if Punk refused, or was not able, to participate in the bout, his manager Paul Heyman would be forced to go against Ryback instead.)

So that settles it. Or does it? Is the match actually going to take place?

Interestingly, over at his (subscribers-only) 10 Minute Afternoon Update, Bryan Alvarez raises some doubt about the matter:

I don't know if something has changed in the last 24 hours...but I was told a couple of days ago that there was no guarantee that Punk is wrestling on the show this coming Monday. There is a chance it is going to be Paul Heyman versus Ryback. I was told also that no matter what happens on the show, when Monday's show is over a lot of people are going to be talking. So make of that what you will. 

It's difficult to know what to make of all this.

Certainly, it seems a little odd that WWE would announce that Punk was cleared to wrestle in a throwaway article on their website. Wouldn't it have been better to announce this on television instead, for maximum impact?

Notably, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is scheduled to make his long-awaited return on next week's show to begin building up his title match at the Royal Rumble. This will undoubtedly end up playing into things in some way or other.

In fact, a scenario in which the heelish Punk somehow ends up weaseling out of the Ryback match (thus sparing the monster babyface another loss on his resume) only to be blindsided by his newest challenger in the form of The Rock seems perfectly possible.