When Kane Chokeslammed CM Punk through the announce table during the 2014 Royal Rumble match, few fans expected it to be the final time they would ever watch the Straight-Edge Superstar in a wrestling capacity in WWE.
Punk walked out on Vince McMahon the following night and refused to compete for WWE. In July 2014, the world’s leading promotion released the Best in the World from his contract.
As a multi-time World Champion who owned victories over WWE’s best, CM Punk had a profound, far-reaching influence in the world of professional wrestling.
Why did CM Punk leave WWE?
According to CM Punk, his main reason for quitting was that his health was a concern. Reportedly, the former WWE Champion was working through a potentially fatal staph infection, broken ribs and several concussions. Moreover, Punk lost his appetite and wasn’t able to sleep. Allegedly, he was in a miserable physical condition and had enough of the pain.
For CM Punk, the health issue was just the tip of the iceberg. He was frustrated with the backstage creative team and Vince McMahon. As most fans will recall, Punk was WWE Champion for 434 days, but he was pushed out of the main event of WrestleMania 29 to make way for John Cena vs. The Rock.
It was a massive failure for CM Punk as this was his best shot at headlining the Showcase of Immortals and it didn’t happen. For a man of his caliber, it comes across as a surprise and disappointment.
Compared to bigger stars like Brock Lesnar and Cena, Punk earned less. Moreover, part-timers and the face of WWE John Cena were always more significant priorities as the creative team had long-term plans in store for them.
One should also note the controversy that surrounded the two parties between January and July 2014. CM Punk walked out on WWE the night after the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Mr. McMahon claimed that Punk was on a “sabbatical.” The Straight-Edge Superstar presented a completely different side of the story, saying he was suspended for two months after walking out.
No one contacted him upon the end of his suspension. On his wedding day, the promotion handed him his termination papers. The two sides soon reached a legal settlement and permanently parted ways.
Does CM Punk need to return?
It’s been almost seven years since Punk last wrestled for WWE. Before the live crowds disappeared due to the pandemic, fans occasionally chanted CM Punk’s name. However, this was mainly in Chicago or when they weren’t particularly interested in what was happening in the ring. While fans missed him, much of the hope had died down.
Some fans rekindled their hopes when CM Punk returned to WWE Backstage in 2019 as an analyst and expert. Interestingly, he was under contract with Fox and not WWE. Moreover, he had no interest in an in-ring return and was not particularly keen on the conversation either.
Although not entirely so, Punk and the WWE Universe have moved on from the former’s departure. The Straight-Edge Superstar has no desire to return to the ring and wants nothing to do with the world’s top wrestling promotion.
As always in wrestling there is an element of ‘Never say Never.’ No-one thought that Bret Hart would return to WWE following the Montreal Screwjob but he eventually did.
It would be interesting to see if Punk ever returns to the WWE ring. However, all in all, it is rather unlikely.
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