CM Punk walked out of WWE between the 2014 Royal Rumble going off the air and the January 27th 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw going on the air. In doing so, Punk cemented his legacy as the Stone Cold Steve Austin of his generation. Punk also showed the difference between the real thing and a cheap imitation; the Chicago Made Punk is the real thing.
WWE Superstars make guaranteed money nowadays, thank you Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. In a way they are like sales people who makes a base salary but makes their real money from commission checks. From 1985 to 1996, WWE Superstars were like sales people who were 100% commission based, and were literally dependent on a fat WrestleMania check for their livelihoods. CM Punk walked out of WWE over creative differences and burnout the night after the Road to WrestleMania began. He is definitely going to miss out on the biggest pay day of the year.
If CM Punk was some cheap imitation he would have bit his lip, sucked it up, faked a smile, gotten his WrestleMania check, then not resigned with the company when his contract is up in July or maybe just drove home from the Superdome and never looked back. But he didn’t, he got into shouting matches with medical and creative personnel backstage at RAW and informed Vince McMahon he was going home and not returning. CM Punk left a lot of money on the table by leaving when he did, the way he did. But he’s not about money, just ask Joey Matthews.
Why is he the Steve Austin of his generation? Austin did the same thing in the spring of 2002. Also like Austin, Punk is the best on the mic and in the ring simultaneously as Austin was in his prime, both bucked authority, both are Paul Heyman guys, both were initially held down by WWE management before exploding into mainstream pop culture popularity, and Austin has said Punk is the only guy he would come out of retirement to have a match with.
Will his legacy take a hit? Just the opposite, it is enhanced. In his pop culture cross over “Pipe Bomb” promo Punk spoke about his loathing of The Rock being a part timer and main eventing WrestleMania. What do you think he had to say backstage about Batista winning the Royal Rumble after a four year absence? Punk shouted for change in 2011. As 2014 begins the top spots of WWE are occupied by John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, Sheamus, Big Show, and Brock Lesnar, sounds familiar.
Maybe Punk left because he selfishly felt he should main event Mania. Well he’s a workhorse in the ring, cuts the best promos bar none, moves merchandise, gets paid top dollar, is as over with the female children as he is with the adult males, and Vince trusts him; why not put him in the main event? PS he worked the Rumble for 50 minutes.
I think we all know why he left. It’s directly correlated to the live crowd’s reaction to the last ten minutes of the Royal Rumble pay per view. In 2011 CM Punk shouted for change. The change was Vince needed to start actually listening to what the fans wanted organically rather than using his billion dollar marketing machine to manufacture the consent of approval towards McMahon’s handpicked gym rats. Summerslam, Survivor Series, and the Royal Rumble proved beyond any shadow of any doubt that nothing has changed in the WWE. CM Punk should have quit because of this and he did, like a real McCoy is supposed to do.