CM Punk apparently might be going away for a while after WrestleMania 29.
No, he isn’t retiring or leaving the WWE. But according to PWInsider.com (via WrestlingInc.com), he’s not expected to work any live events after the WWE’s biggest pay-per-view of the year.
Punk, of course, has not been working live events for the last couple of weeks. As PWInsider.com notes, he’s been taken off of house shows “so he can heal up and be fresh for the big match against The Undertaker.”
But once WrestleMania wraps up, it’s unclear exactly what the plans for Punk will be. It looks like he could be only off of house shows (like he is now), or he could perhaps even be off of TV altogether.
Whatever the case, Punk should get a break after WrestleMania 29. Not only does he need it, but he more than deserves it.
When you look at what Punk has accomplished over the course of the last two-plus years, it’s been borderline remarkable. As one of the top draws in the business, he has been one of the centerpieces of the WWE essentially since the start of 2011.
We, of course, all remember his historic 434-day WWE Championship reign, but not many of us have taken the time to look back at all the work he put in over the course of his run with the belt. Not only did Punk consistently participate in lengthy matches on Raw, but he often made the crossover to wrestle on SmackDown when the show needed his added star power.
All of those TV matches are in addition to countless main event-caliber pay-per-view matches that Punk has competed in since solidifying himself as a top-tier talent. Because Punk’s matches were often among the best—if not the best—matches of the night, he often found himself wrestling more minutes per week and per month than the vast majority of the roster.
What he put his body through during his bouts can’t be overlooked, either. Regular matches put enough stress on the body as it is, but Punk has competed in so many different gimmick matches over the past two years: TLC, Hell in a Cell and Street Fight, just to name a few.
Those are the types of matches that shorten careers (just ask Edge) and the types of matches that Punk has participated in quite often. Of course, it’s not just the TV and PPV matches that have taken a toll on Punk’s body.
It’s those matches that we don’t see—the house shows and dark matches—that Punk has participated in that many people fail to even think about. But rest assured that Punk is feeling the effects of all the bumps he’s taken over the last couple of years and the thousands he took even before that.
Although Punk has only been established as a top-tier star for a couple of years now, we have to remember that he’s been wrestling for well over a decade and that he’s been on the WWE’s main roster since June 2006. All of the bumps and bruises have started to really add up, and Punk—who has been pretty durable throughout his career—is finally starting to wear down a bit.
By no means is that a knock on Punk, though. It’s a true testament to his will and desire to be the absolute best there is in the wrestling businesss.
But as we approach WrestleMania 29, it’s become clear that Punk—whether he’s willing to show/admit it or not—is not exactly 100 percent. After all, Punk admitted in an interview with MMAFighting.com (via WrestlingNewsWorld.com) back in January that he returned from his knee injury too soon last year.
It’s safe to say that that was probably true. Punk was only out for three weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery when he probably needed to be out for twice as long—but that would have required Punk to miss too much TV time, and it’s very apparent that he doesn’t like to do that.
Punk has been on the WWE’s main roster for almost seven full years, and yet, he’s surprisingly managed to avoid a whole lot of major injuries. The only really problematic one that comes to mind is his hip injury from late 2010 that brought him to the Raw announce table, but other than that, he’s stayed pretty healthy overall.
Just because Punk has avoided having a ton of major injuries since joining the WWE, though, that certainly doesn’t mean that he isn’t hurting. Any human who has put his body through what Punk has over the last two years would certainly be hurting.
Punk apparently is, too. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestlingInc.com), many within the WWE “believe he’s (Punk’s) hurt worse than anyone is letting on,” and it’s said the he is suffering mostly from “nagging minor injuries.”
Regardless of exactly what is bothering Punk, however, all the hell he’s been through makes him more than deserving of a nice little break—whether that be from just live events or TV altogether—once the WrestleMania 29 dust has settled.
Punk deserves it both because his body needs to heal and because he’s developed into one of the WWE’s biggest workhorses and most valuable performers over the last couple of years.
No one has meant more to the WWE since the beginning of 2011 than Punk has, and if the company wants to ensure that he will be healthy for the long haul, then it must find a way to give him some much needed time off.
If that means keeping him on TV but not having him wrestle, that’s fine. If that means writing him off of TV altogether for a while, that’s fine, too.
But either way, Punk has earned his break. Let him have it.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!