The Piledriver Report 3.06.14: A Rumor Is Wrong
Posted by Ronny Sarnecky on 03.06.2014
This past Monday night, CM Punk was rumored to be making his return to the WWE after a five week absence. Unfortunately, those rumors were dead wrong. The Piledriver Report takes a look at who’s to blame and what the future may hold in the WWE/CM Punk saga.
Disappointment. That's the word that best describes my feelings after watching this past week's Monday Night RAW episode. When I woke up Sunday morning, I logged onto the Wrestling Observer website and listened to their latest audio show. Dave Meltzer said that he was told that CM Punk was returning the next night on RAW. While he was told that this was 99% certain, Meltzer did say "well, we will see tomorrow." Despite his proclamation, I took his word as gospel. I couldn't wait to see CM Punk on Monday Night RAW.
Originally, when I first heard that CM Punk quit the WWE, I figured that he would be gone until January. My reasoning was simple. One of the things on CM Punk's career bucket list is to headline WrestleMania. Over the last few years, CM Punk has seen part time players come into the WWE in January and headline WrestleMania. I figured that Punk would come back as a surprise Royal Rumble entrant, win the Rumble, and finally main event WrestleMania.
When I heard Dave Meltzer announce that CM Punk was coming back after only five weeks off, I was surprised that he was returning so quickly. However, I fell for it. I was counting the hours until Monday Night RAW. When RAW came on the air, and CM Punk's music hit, Paul Heyman appeared to the live crowd in Chicago. He started his promo by talking about Punk, and I figured that CM Punk would be out by the end of the evening.
My opinion quickly changed. After the commercial break following the segment, the announcers talked about Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker, and didn't mention CM Punk. It was at that point that I had a suspicion that Punk was not showing up on RAW. As each match passed, it became more and more evident that CM Punk was not in the building. When John Cena entered the ring around 10:45pm, I definitely knew Punk was not gracing us with his presence. By the time that all hell broke loose in the Daniel Bryan/Batista match, it was past the usual 11:05pm end time. The crowd was practically begging for CM Punk to arrive, but it was not meant to be.
The WWE takes a lot of blame when it comes to their programming. Usually it's people complaining about the company's creative direction. "Why isn't X wrestler getting pushed? This angle stinks. They should do this storyline instead." However, in this case, I don't think the WWE is at fault. Well, let me clarify that.
I don't think the WWE is to blame for CM Punk NOT showing up on Monday night. However, I do think that they need to take some accountability for CM Punk walking out in the first place. I'm sure that he didn't walk out just because he felt like it. There had to be some underlying reasons behind his walking out. Was he upset with the creative direction? Was Punk tired of being on the road? Was he sick of the bumps and bruises he suffered on a nightly basis? Did the WWE promise CM Punk certain things that they did not deliver on?
Since neither side is talking, I can only assume that it's a combination of things. According to reports, CM Punk has a reputation of speaking his mind. Therefore, the WWE should know what is making Punk upset. The WWE and Punk should have worked together to make him a happy performer. CM Punk is one of the WWE's top performers. He's number two on the merchandise selling list. With his contract coming due in July, I would think that you would want to work with him in order to keep your business relationship going.
At the same time, you can't just point the finger at the WWE. CM Punk is responsibility for his actions as well. Even though Punk was upset to the point that he was going home, he should have given the WWE a few weeks' notice before outright leaving the company. That's the professional thing to do. Instead, CM Punk pulled an Austin and took his ball home. If Punk was not happy with his job, I don't blame him for quitting. Millions of people quit their job because they are unhappy. Why should we hold CM Punk to a higher standard just because he is a wrestler? Since his job is to entertain us, we should be mad at him because he quit a job that no longer rewarding to him? That's not fair.
I don't blame CM Punk. Whether he wanted to stay or go is up to him. Am I disappointed that CM Punk isn't on my television for the foreseeable future? Yes, I'm very disappointed. He's one of the main reasons that I watched RAW. However, it's his life, and I can't tell him what to do. The one thing that I thought he should have done was that he should have gotten word on through his twitter account on Monday morning that he would not be on RAW. The fans at the arena were clamoring for Punk to make his return on this past week's RAW. When the WWE had Paul Heyman cut a promo where he discussed CM Punk, the fans in the arena had to think that Punk was there. After all, when was the last time the WWE talked about a wrestler on the air that left the company? Probably not since Bret Hart left for WCW, if my memory serves me.
The first 75 minutes of RAW was probably the best start to the wrestling show in at least the last year. From Heyman's promo and Brock's destruction of Mark Henry, to the Usos winning the tag team title match, to an unbelievable six man tag team match between the Shield and the Wyatt Family, RAW was really good. While the second hour dragged, the storyline advancement between Daniel Bryan and Triple H, along with Batista, Kane, and Randy Orton added to the mix helped the WWE rebound to a strong third hour. When the show ended, the fans should have left feeling that they received their money's worth. Instead, the Chicago faithful left with the disappointment that their hometown hero was still on the sidelines. A simple tweet from Punk would have prepared the fans to watch the show knowing not to expect to see Punk in the WWE ring that night. It would have been the right thing to do.
According to the new rumors making the rounds, Punk is not only done with WWE, but pretty much mentally done with pro wrestling. If that's the case, I wish him well in his future endeavors and thank him for the memories. However, I don't think this is the end. I just think this is a roadblock in the storied career that CM Punk put together. I am still going to predict that he'll be back for next year's Road to WrestleMania. Will I be right? Only time will tell.