WWE Superstar CM Punk walked out of Raw the night after the Royal Rumble, seemingly content to let the remaining time on his contract expire and to never be heard from again. The reported reasons for his walkout are varied, from being frustrated at another part time star returning to main event WrestleMania (Dave Batista), to being upset that he or his fellow internet darling and friend Daniel Bryan were being saddled with feuds that meant little.
One thing all the reports seem to agree on are that the walkout was not a work (fake), and in addition to being a shoot (real) event, that at the time it was as permanent as can be. Tonight Monday Night Raw returns to CM Punk’s home town of Chicago, the site of one of the best worked shoots (using things smart fans know against them to suspend disbelief) of all time, his escape at Money in the Bank 2011. The question on everyone’s lips is whether or not the Second City Saint makes a return tonight. Here are the reasons why I think it’s all but a certainty.
New York/New Jersey. That’s it. Those are the only two places I could put at above the level of the Chicago crowd. Those are the only crowds that I have seen that will match the passion, vitriol, and ability to hijack an entire broadcast the way this crowd plans to. Don’t believe me? Watch CM Punk’s entrance at Money in the Bank 2011. Don’t believe me? Check out the tweets by @ChicagoRAWcrowd like this
— Monday March 3rd (@ChicagoRAWcrowd) March 3, 2014
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Best for Business
HHH’s new catch phrase has reached Meme levels as he continually talks in the ring about what is and what isn’t “best for business.” The WWE is as hot as it has been in years with more and more casually fans, the WWE network a rousing success, and the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania weeks away. What would look better going into this important time? CM Punk on his couch, maintaining radio (twitter) silence as the Super Bowl of professional wrestling nears, or him in the ring playing his anti-hero gimmick in front of the fans that love him most?
Stone Cold Steve Austin
There is many a precedent for the talent being unhappy with the creative direction that the WWE has gone in, amongst the most notable and the most comparable is when Stone Cold Steve Austin refused to put over (lose to) the rising Brock Lesnar. Austin has gone on record multiple times stating that was the worst decision he has ever made in his life. Everyone knows that CM Punk like many wrestlers of a certain age holds Steve Austin in high regard, and they are close enough that a text conversation between the two has happened in the past. If you saw someone you were friends with repeating what you deemed to be the worst mistake you ever made just how would you respond? Believe this, Austin has spoken to Punk about this at least once in the past few weeks.
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CM Punk said it best, Vince McMahon is a millionaire who could be a billionaire, and while the old adage saying “you don’t get rich by writing checks” holds true, Vince has the money to make just about anyone of his employees past or present an offer they can’t refuse. Remember the stink Brock Lesnar made on his way out? Ever hear of the rift between The Ultimate Warrior and the WWE? Remember when Eric Bischoff tried to run Vince out of business? Google “Montreal Screwjob” and Bret Hart. All of these men eventually for personal or financial reasons eventually came into to the WWE fold. Vince is the greatest promoter the world has ever seen and for all of his reported faults the man has never failed at much for long. One has to think there is only so mad that CM Punk could be until Vince makes the proverbial “Godfather offer”, one that even the rebellious Punk, can’t refuse.
If Not Now, When?
Hometown? Check. Uncertainty of “will-he-wont-he?” double check. A guaranteed way to put asses in the seats for next week and beyond? Checkmate. The WWE has plans to make this a Raw that even the staunchest of its critics will not be able to take umbrage with. The vast majority of WrestleMania tickets sold months before any matches were finalized. The WWE Network includes WrestleMania as part of its package of included pay per view events. That part of the equation has already been taken care of. That’s not to say that the coming weeks ratings don’t matter and there is no better way than to trot out the Straight Edge Superstar, let him cut one of his infamous, reality warping, social media breaking “Pipe Bombs” and send everyone home happy and have them looking forward to next weeks.
Kyle Collins is by day a not-so mild mannered drone for one of the world’s largest tech companies, by night he’s a sports enthusiast/wrestling smark/videogame geek/travel nut/chicken connoisseur/ comic book nerd and self- proclaimed “hopefully non-threatening black man.” Follow him here for tweets that he hopes get more RTs, because that’s how he validates his existence.
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