Pro wrestling’s most enigmatic superstar CM Punk said in recent interview that “No, never ever ever ever,” would he return to the WWE or pro wrestling.
Punk walked out on the WWE in January, unhappy with the direction of his character. His contract expired last week so now Punk is literally gone from the WWE. It was a fast fall for the superstar who just the year prior was WWE champion and enjoyed a 484-day reign as WWE champion. Punk, however, was pushed aside for more popular wrestlers, such as The Rock and John Cena, and moved from main-event to lesser status.
Punk walked out on top, on his own terms, and although his fans miss him, the WWE ultimately should learn from Punk’s decision. When you have a guy who is the best in the world at what he does, there’s no need to stick him in a tired feud with Triple H, when he should be fighting for the title at Wrestlemania.
Will Punk return? Probably, but for now, he has other ideas and options. Punk, a well-known MMA fan, who sometimes appears as a guest on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour show, and who is buddies with Chael Sonnen, should considering making a new kind of history: Jumping into the UFC’s Octagon.
Would he get smashed into oblivion? Probably. But maybe not right away. And it would be a fun ride along the way. Here are three reasons Punk’s destiny should be MMA:
CM Punk has an ego that makes his time as WWE champion look small. He legitimately believes he is a tough guy. He calls himself a “sociopathic straight-edged jerk.” Punk isn’t some guy who acts like a bad guy in public, but is a softy in private. Punk doesn’t care what you think about him and has a strong opinion of himself. Deep down he must believe he can win a few MMA fights, that he can put someone to sleep with a real move, not a worked one, that he could at least do what WWE wrestler Dave Batista did — earn one MMA victory.
Punk has to be thinking about the next challenge. It’s time for him to write his own story and step into the cage.
2. He’ll make lots of money
CM Punk will always be one of the WWE’s most popular wrestlers. If he never returns, fans will be chanting his name at WWE arenas every time the match is boring, every time the crowd is waiting for a mystery arrival of a wrestler to do a run-in, every time the WWE craves an authentic character in the world of John Cena. Punk is enormously popular. Punk is a ratings and game-changer for any company he works with. If Punk were to sign with Bellator or the UFC, the fans would follow him there.
He would jack up PPV buys single-handed. Punk as a playable UFC video game characters would ignite near-riots among his fans. Punk would make money for himself and any company he competes with. By sitting on the sidedlines, Punk is sitting on millions of dollars. Now some may believe that Punk will hurt his WWE legacy if he gets choked out and beat up Alexis Davis-style in 14 seconds. Probably not. Brock Lesnar was knocked out with a kick to the body by Alistair Overeem, and WWE fans still respect him for his UFC work. Win or lose, Punk taking an MMA match would only boost his stock and earning potential.
1. MMA needs him
Punk was the best talker in the WWE at the time of his departure. Punk’s passion for himself and his craft comes through when he is on the microphone. His interviews alone would boost MMA. Punk knows how to build a fan audience and understands the importance of psychology when trying to build a fight. Brock Lesnar came from the WWE, but it wasn’t because of his microphone skills. He was a beast who looked big and great on TV. Punk on the microphone would reach new fans and help bring freshness the product.
It’s possible that Punk could come into MMA with a big build and then get destroyed quickly and embarrassingly in a real fight. But that happens anyway. Fighters who actually have years of experience fighting get knocked out quickly all the time. The real challenge for Punk would be to have the guts to make the jump. After that, he needs to just do the best he can. The fans, MMA fighters and WWE wrestlers would have nothing but respect for him.