Updates from Thursday, Mar. 6
Going into Monday's RAW from Chicago, there have been hardly any real discussions between CM Punk and WWE officials. We noted last night that there's a feeling within WWE that he's done with wrestling.
It was made clear on Monday that Punk was not coming to RAW and it was made clear that as far as he's concerned, he's done with pro wrestling.
Whether that means he's done for now, for a year or until his WWE contract expires, nobody knows and if they're close to Punk and they do know what he's planning for the future, they're not talking.
Middleton (via PWInsider Elite) later followed with additional insight surrounding Punk's situation and how it is being played publicly by WWE:
WWE decided not to go with this angle because Vince McMahon still does not want to bury Punk publicly. Vince still hopes that Punk will get his head on straight and come back to WWE. Punk moves a lot of merchandise and WWE wants to have some kind of relationship with him because they've invested a lot of time and money into Punk and his licensing.
It's said that Punk has some leverage now because of his relationship with Vince McMahon but as Triple H gains more power, things could change for Punk as far as how easy it is for him to come back when he wants.
Updates from Tuesday, Mar. 4
Raj Giri of WrestlingInc.com provides a synopsis of Dave Meltzer discussing CM Punk, who failed to return to WWE yesterday despite Meltzer's previous report:
On the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer talked about CM Punk not appearing on last night's RAW. Meltzer had stated on Saturday's episode that "one of the biggest stars in the industry" said that he would be on the show, although he added that he could not confirm 100% that Punk would be there.
Meltzer noted that his source called him immediately after RAW and said, "I was lied to." Meltzer added that it didn't come from anyone in WWE, and he was told from someone who is a major name in the business that he trusts for the past 20 years. Meltzer said that if it did come from WWE, he would have flat out said that Punk would be there.
Former WWE champion CM Punk was last seen on the company’s programming at the 2014 Royal Rumble on Jan. 27, and reportedly walked out on the WWE before Raw the following night.
According to Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline, via Daniel Pena of WrestlingInc.com, Punk was reportedly expected to return to Raw on Monday from his hometown of Chicago:
CM Punk is expected to return at tomorrow night's Raw in Chicago, Illinois, according to Dave Meltzer on today's edition of Wrestling Observer Radio. While Meltzer won't say he's 100% sure Punk will be at the show, his source, who he says is ‘one of the biggest stars in the industry,’ said that it's 100% certain.
Punk was last seen in public at the UFC 170 event in the front row, but has not made a public comment since leaving the WWE. The entire company has been very quiet about the star’s status moving forward, but CEO Vince McMahon claimed during a conference call on Feb. 20, “He's taking a sabbatical, let's just put it that way."
While his stance with the WWE is still very much a mystery, there was no question that the crowd in Punk’s hometown would be livid if he is not in attendance on Monday. There was a strong movement amongst fans to hijack the show on Monday, and according to Wrestling Observer, via Wrestling News Source, the WWE is well aware of the situation.
Punk is one of the most recognizable stars in the wrestling industry today, and the WWE will likely do everything in its power to add a top talent like Punk to its upcoming WrestleMania XXX card, regardless of the hard feelings about the situation.
This is a predicament the WWE was put in by former star Stone Cold Steve Austin in 2002, and Austin commented on Punk's situation while a guest on the Arsenio Hall Show in January (seen below) and on Jim Ross' podcast, saying, "Here is my prediction. It started off as a shoot and it will turn into a work. CM Punk will reappear at WrestleMania XXX. Mark my word, that’s my prediction."
WrestleMania is the biggest show of the year for the company. While there is genuine concern surrounding how the fans will react to a main event between Batista and Randy Orton, the return of Punk in Chicago would be the perfect short-term remedy for the PPV’s issues.
It is uncertain if the WWE Universe will ever really find out the details about Punk’s time away from the company, but there is no doubt that the popular star deserves to be a major focus for the company throughout the next month.
Few fans currently care about the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, but infusing Punk into the battle by making it a three-way match would appease the unruly crowds and would likely satisfy the fickle former champion.
Punk’s return would make for an incredible moment that would add legitimate excitement to the road to WrestleMania, but this was always a rumor that should be taken with a grain of salt. Dirtsheets have been wrong in the past and the fans should quell their expectations when it comes to these reports.
The rumors will continue to cause a frenzy over Punk’s potential return to WWE. If he never shows up, though, crowds will become even more hostile than they were before.
Either way, this will be must-watch television for the foreseeable future.
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