Four hundred and thirty-four days as WWE champion has to take its toll on a body, even if the outcomes of your matches are pre-determined.
You have to go out there every night and sell yourself as the character that you are. If you are a face, you have to really get the crowd behind you. If you are a heel, you have to really generate as much heat from the crowd as you can.
During his recent history-making run with the WWE Championship, CM Punk essentially burned the candle at both ends. He started the run as a face, turned about halfway through and acted as the villain for the last six months or so of his reign.
Then for good measure, Punk took the heel role to another level when he dared to try and end The Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak.
It was no surprise that after WrestleMania 29, Punk took some well-deserved time off from the ring and nursed all the nagging injuries he incurred over the past 18 months. However, WWE did not get to be the entertainment conglomerate it has been by just letting someone ride off into the sunset, albeit temporarily. There has to be a back story to why the time off was necessary
So WWE asked Punk to summon up the ability to actually make the crowd believe he was too emotionally and physically drained to wrestle. And as he always does, Punk delivered.
He came out on the April 15 Raw show appearing to cut another one of those patented Punk promos. But instead of running his mouth as only he can, Punk stopped in mid-promo, turned to hug Paul Heyman and left the ring appearing to be too choked up to continue.
Yes, that was acting. But a huge chunk of that emotion had to be real.
For 18 months, Punk had been going full-tilt as a WWE Superstar. In addition to the weekly Raw shows and pay-per-views, he was doing pretty much everything WWE asked of him—personal appearances, social media, etc.
Even in the times when he was legitimately injured, Punk still managed to make appearances on WWE programs. That’s because everyone wanted to see the champ.
Day after day, month after month, that has to take a toll on even the strongest person. Punk may not agree, but he is, in fact, human just like the rest of us.
No one would blame Punk for wanting a break. He has definitely deserved it. Everybody needs a recharge now and then, especially when you live your life in the public eye like so many WWE Superstars do.
If this was going to the ideal break, then Punk would essentially disappear from public view. But he is CM Punk after all, and Punk lives for the spotlight.
Right now, according to Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestlingInc.com), it appears his next scheduled WWE appearance will be on May 27, when Raw goes to Calgary. That means he will skip the Extreme Rules pay-per-view but be back in time for the new Payback PPV show.
Whether that May 27 return will be a promo or actual ring work is unclear. But if you are a CM Punk fan—and there are many within the WWE Universe—any Punk time is a good time.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.
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