It has been reported by various outlets that WWE superstar CM Punk has quit the organization—for real.
The news comes after an inconspicuous absence from Raw this past Monday (Jan. 27), and it seems this is not a work from Punk and the WWE. Per PWMania.com (via Wrestling Observer, ProWrestling.net and PWInsider), this appears to be a legitimate decision from Punk, after he reportedly told Vince McMahon he was "going home":
Word has come out that CM Punk has left WWE, according to several sources.
CM Punk reportedly told Vince McMahon personally at Monday’s Raw that he was going home, and then got on a plane for Chicago. WWE.com has since removed Punk from all upcoming live events and house shows over the next few weeks including Monday Night Raw.
Punk's reported departure would leave the company without one of its biggest draws. Since receiving a big push back in 2008, he has remained a fan favorite as a face (good guy) and heel (bad guy).
Until Punk confirms this news himself, though, there will be reasonable doubt regarding the validity of these reports. There is still no word on the official WWE site over Punk's decision, and memories of a 2011 storyline he was involved in cannot be ignored.
In that kayfabe (staged) narrative, Punk told the WWE he was leaving with the WWE Championship after his contract expired at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, but he returned a few weeks later with the belt.
PWMania.com reports that the plans for Triple H vs. CM Punk at WrestleMania XXX look to be shelved:
As PWMania.com reported, Punk was scheduled to face Triple H at WrestleMania 30, but as seen on Monday’s Raw, early signs may have been shown that Triple H will be facing Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania instead.
The report also states the possible reasons behind Punk's decision to pack up and head home—the feeling that part-time wrestlers are getting pushed instead of men who work 365 days a year with the company:
In the past, Punk had been very vocal about “part-time” wrestlers returning to WWE and getting pushed ahead of guys who are there on a nightly basis, and that may be a reason for him being upset.
TMZ Sports expanded on that notion, reporting that Punk's frustrations stemmed from Batista's booking at the Royal Rumble.
Sources close to the situation tell TMZ Sports ... Punk was livid when he learned officials scripted Batista to win the Royal Rumble ... because he feels Batista isn't in great wrestling shape and shouldn't be featured in the title match at the upcoming WrestleMania (the biggest event of the year).
We're told Punk feels he earned the right to be in the main event at WrestleMania -- because he's been wrestling tirelessly over the past year from house shows to overseas events. Punk was angry when he found out he'd be wrestling Triple H at WrestleMania instead of squaring off in the title match.
Given how Punk's contract legitimately expires with the WWE this coming July, perhaps this could be the end of the road for him and the organization.
Since the reports, WWE has unfollowed Punk on Twitter, via WrestleChat.net:
So, where does the company go without Punk? The likes of Brock Lesnar, Batista and The Undertaker could well be away from the company again following the conclusion of WrestleMania XXX, which would leave even more gaping holes in the roster.
Wrestling fans must hope this is simply a work to try and create some tension and hype for the big event in April. However, at this time, it looks to be legitimate.