Originally, I intended to blog over my lunch hour about how I didn’t feel the CM Punk vs. Triple H projected match at Wrestlemania 30 didn’t make much sense. Well, CM Punk changed my topic today.
Multiple outlets are talking about CM Punk’s sudden decision to go home. Whether it’s on fan blogs, wrestling forums, or other sites, the comparisons are being drawn between Punk’s actions and something that a WWE legend did a number of years ago.
Stone Cold Steve Austin took his ball and went home too. It’s said that he didn’t care for the planned booking of a match between him and Brock Lesnar. Austin was to allow Brock to go over on him, and he didn’t agree with it. Whether Austin truly believes in this or not, he has come out since that time and admitted that this was a bad decision back then.
That’s about where the comparisons between Punk and Austin’s situations need to stop.
Austin, for all we know for sure, was happy in the company at that time aside from the booking decision that he objected to. The same cannot be said about CM Punk.
Yes, a booking situation does have him upset by all reports. Punk is a firm believer that WWE screwed up on Sunday and should have booked Daniel Bryan to be the winner of the Royal Rumble. Instead, WWE picked the returning Dave Batista and that rubbed Punk the wrong way according to reports. Punk was no fan of The Rock’s returns to be in the Wrestlemania main event either.
Punk admits to being friends with Batista. But Punk is not one to hide his honest thoughts, and he admitted that this is the year for Daniel Bryan. Punk even took it one step further, saying that “they” (assumed to mean the fans) would not be happy when Batista won. If Pittsburgh’s reaction on Sunday is any indication, he was right.
But here’s the biggest difference between Punk and Austin “taking their ball and going home.” Punk isn’t the same guy that came in to WWE seven or so years ago. He made an appearance at a Comic Con event where he implied that he wasn’t happy with his work in the ring, and that “someone tells me what to do, I go out and do it and I leave.”
On the Smackdown prior to the Royal Rumble, Punk ran out to get involved in the big melee that ended the show. But note his reaction – a pause, a shrug, then a run to the ring. It almost looked on TV like “okay, I have to go do this now…” At the time, it wasn’t all that noteworthy, but in light of today’s news it feels like it telegraphed this moment.
CM Punk has been frustrated, and it’s showing. It shows in his in-ring work and in his promos. In the Portland Comic Con, when the subject of wrestling and WWE came up, he remained engaged and friendly with fans but the way he talked about the product made it clear he’s not happy with the state of the product. In fact, you can trace back his frustration and “burned out” feeling with the product back to 2010.
I can appreciate being frustrated with work. We’ve all been there in our respective careers. But I’m not sure how much I can get behind CM Punk in this situation. It was a smart move for him to re-sign in 2011 and get a payday, but since then he has complained about quite a few things since then. That renders his exit a bit unprofessional in my book.
It’s my hope that Punk uses this downtime (if indeed that is all it is) wisely to recharge and refresh his attitude toward wrestling. If he needs to hang the boots up, then it’s been a good career. The Punk I’ve watched of late isn’t the same guy that I became a fan of. Just like Bret Favre, I would rather Punk fade off into the sunset than sully his career with a mediocre and uninspired effort.
I’ll have more to say on this topic and others when I join Drew and Matt tomorrow night for RingRap Audio. Be sure to catch that sometime late Thursday evening for your weekly dose of news and opinion from RingRap.com!