One of the key details in CM Punk walking out on WWE is that he made it clear he did not want to feud with Triple H leading up to a match at WrestleMania 30 (h/t WrestlingInc.com). Even if you disagree with his decision to walk out on WWE without giving a few weeks notice, it's pretty clear that he was right.
Let's forget for a moment that Triple H has a certain reputation. Regardless, Punk's contract is up in July even before this all went down, and it was widely believed he wouldn't be renewing his deal.
If you're Triple H (or WWE executive Paul Levesque, as the case may be), then you may not want to use one of the biggest matches of the year to put over someone who won't be sticking around. So you take that person aside and tell him it's not best for business (pun not intended) for him to go over at WrestleMania.
It was over two years ago that the only CM Punk vs. Triple H match took place at the 2011 Night of Champions pay-per-view event. The match itself is fairly underrated, as it was a clever, creative brawl with Punk putting a lot of twists on the WWE main event formula.
Nobody remembers it that way, though, because whatever was left of Punk's post-"pipe bomb" momentum after Alberto Del Rio beat him for the WWE Championship, Triple H crushed it by beating him at the worst possible moment. Punk wasn't "buried" in that match, but damage can be done without it being an outright "burial."
As a result, the idea of a rematch fills a lot of people with dread, possibly including CM Punk. He probably looked at the lay of the land, realized that there was an excuse for Triple H to use to go over in the WrestleMania match, as well as there being uncertainty over pay-per-view bonus pay. So he decided it wasn't worth his while to stick around.
Now, having said all that, Triple H does, in fact, have a certain reputation for being unwilling to put over anyone other than his friends. If you look at the situation independent of that information, it's easier to see both sides. Knowing what we've seen out of Triple H over the years? It sways favor to Punk.
I'm the last guy to jump in on stereotypical Internet hatred of Triple H, but it's hard to look at his history and say there's nothing to his reputation. For example, there was no reason for him to feud with Eugene, a rising comedy babyface in 2004 (I feel old) and squash him. Triple H was the top heel, and Eugene wasn't any kind of threat to him, but he beat Eugene relentlessly in a number of TV and PPV matches.
That's far from the only example, but it might be the most egregious since there was no reason for it to happen. If you're CM Punk and you look at history, you know it's likely nothing good can come from this. So regardless of how he handled it, his motivation was sound.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.
David Bixenspan has been Bleacher Report's WWE Team Leader and a contracted columnist since 2011 and is now part of the team putting together Figure 4 Weekly, available to F4WOnline.com subscribers along with other content including the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and variety of audio shows. His article about WWE's 1984 expansion from regional powerhouse to national juggernaut is featured in the newly released issue #102 of Fighting Spirit Magazine, available worldwide online and in print in the UK. You can follow him on Twitter @davidbix and check out his wrestling podcasts at LLTPod.com.