Chicago fans starred in their own version of Waiting for Godot, watching all of Monday's Raw pass with no sign of CM Punk.
A source told Dave Meltzer, via WrestlingInc.com, that Punk would end his sabbatical and return to WWE. Buzz about that possibility choked the Internet. This was going to be an unmissable Raw as Punk would come back to greatly alter the WrestleMania card, perhaps becoming the third man in the WWE title bout.
As David Shoemaker said on the Cheap Heat podcast, we wanted to believe he'd be back.
Punk didn't appear. Raw opened with his music and Paul Heyman came out to explain that Punk wasn't around and that the fans had driven him away.
He was masterful on the mic, but the disappointment still stung. WWE seemed to be toying with the audience, trying to quell a fervent fanbase so they wouldn't take over the show with chants.
It worked to a point, but anticipation for Punk still ruled the night. Punk chants overshadowed much of the action.
There is a lot of finger pointing to go around with this situation.
Fans chanting for a guy who quit and isn't coming back is misguided. WWE wants him back as badly as the fans do. He left and he had every right to do that, but he shouldn't be seen as some kind of martyr.
WWE went an irksome route in handling this. With teasing Punk's entrance, it felt as if the company was either trying to teach Punk fans a lesson or at the very least screw with them.
The circumstances aren't easy for a company trying to please its paying customers, but it should have addressed this a long time ago and not waited until Raw traveled to the famously loud and pro-Punk city of Chicago.
It's unfortunate that talk of a man who wasn't around dominated so much of the week's conversation, stealing away spotlight from the hard-working members of the roster still around.