Following CM Punk's shocking departure from WWE last week, new reports have begun to emerge about what led the self-professed “best in the world” to so hastily walk out.
In this week's (subscribers-only) F4W Newletter, Bryan Alvarez notes that, as well as a general frustration with the booking, Punk was deeply disgruntled with constantly playing second fiddle to John Cena and not being pushed like a genuine top star.
It is also said that he's upset that no matter what happens, he'll never be pushed as the John Cena-caliber face of the company, and if he has no chance of reaching that level and has the money to walk away, he may as well walk away now and not waste his time. Punk at one point pushed hard to go heel despite the fact that he was super over as a babyface because he realized that as a babyface he'll always be number two behind Cena, so his idea was to turn heel so at least he'd be number one on the heel side.
Alvarez went on to mention that feelings in the company were greatly divided regarding Punk's antics:
Half the people seem to think that he stood up for himself and did the right thing and should be applauded. The other half feel he's being a baby about all of this and shouldn't have walked out, particularly without even given the company time to write him out of storylines.
In some respects, it is hard to have sympathy for Punk in this situation.
He's not the first wrestler to suffer because of mediocre booking, and he won't be the last, but most performers aren't throwing childish tantrums and quitting at the drop of a hat.
We don't see guys like The Miz, Dolph Ziggler or Wade Barrett storming out (and they'd be far more justified than Punk is, too).
Punk's apparent unhappiness at not being pushed as a major star is somewhat understandable. But you have to remember that Punk was pushed massively in 2012 and the early parts of 2013—and the results were truly abysmal ratings and middling buyrates. (Numbers from Wrestling Inc and PWTorch.)
Everyone in WWE would almost certainly like to be pushed ahead of Cena, but until they shift numbers like him, they won't be. Is Punk really mad at management here, or at his own failings?
Some people can draw on top; some can't. It's simply the reality of the business.
Of course, to defend the star for a moment, if Punk truly was burned out due to injuries and a grueling road schedule, there really was no point in him sticking around.
Everyone on WWE television should be motivated and want to be there. In the biggest wrestling company in the world, you simply can't get away with phoning it in.
But still, giving the booking team two or three weeks' notice would have been the polite and professional thing to do.
Punk may change his mind and wish to come back one day, but will Vince McMahon even want to deal with him after this giant PR mess? Frankly, he's behaved like a child.