By now every wrestling fan has heard the news: CM Punk is gone. It’s not an angle or a story. This time real life has gotten in the way of entertainment. Since we spoke with him last year around Summer Slam, wrestlings hottest commodity hasn’t been happy with the product WWE has been turning out lately and their emphasis on bringing back part time talent to top spots normally reserved for wrestlers on the WWE’s rigorous schedule full-time. Especially around WrestleMania time.
We still don’t have the exact why, or how it happened and we may never really find out as both sides are keeping quiet on the matter. WWE still has hope that Vince McMahon can sweet talk Punk into coming back to at least work the remainder of his contract which expires this summer. But what if that doesn’t happen and we’ve truly seen the end of CM Punk in WWE? It’s not a good sign that WWE.com has taken down mostly anything having to do with CM Punk.
For the foreseeable (short term) future watching the product will be like watching a lactose intolerant cheese maker work, entertaining but a little sad. However, in the end the WWE will still be the machine its always been. This won’t deter anyone who was thinking about signing up for WWE Network on February 24. In fact it might be a boost. One thing we wrestling fans love, especially when things are grim, is living in the past. For $9.99 a month, this situation doesn’t take away anything from that value.
Ultimately in the long term WWE will survive this like they’ve weathered the Monday Night War or the steroid investigations. But the biggest obstacle to WWE right now is the crowds. We know about the confiscated CM Punk signs at arenas, but now we’re getting unverified reports that groups of people being ejected for chaining “CM Punk!” If it’s true, this is minor compared to what could happen in March when the WWE returns to Chicago (in March), which is the hometown of CM Punk and one of the best crowd towns in America. If there isn’t a return or an acknowledgement of some kind by that time then it could turn out to be a tornado of controversy. Really, what are they going to do? Eject an arena of 20,000 plus fans?
As for the fans, keep being vocal. With the Daniel Bryan “Yes” chants and “CM Punk” thunder you’re letting the machine know that what you want to see counts more than following a program you’ve already seen numerous times. We’ve already seen some rewriting that could have Daniel Bryan be a headliner at WrestleMania. There’s still time for WWE to completely wright the ship. While the CM Punk thing isn’t a storyline; how awesome would it be to turn it into one and have him come back to the company in Chicago? March 3, 2014 is going to be a date wrestling fans will not want to miss.