In an interview with MMAFighting.com, Punk danced around the question of what his intentions are down the road.
“Three years ago, I was out the door, it was 100 percent, I’m not re-signing. Now this time, just to avoid some déjà vu, I’m just going to dance around that question. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens,” Punk said.
This is reading into how he said it, but it sounded like Punk wants to return, but maybe on a reduced schedule of some sort. The WWE travel schedule is notoriously “brutal,” to use Punk’s word for it, with the work week starting on Friday with travel for the schedule of weekend house shows, then Monday Night Raw, then the Tuesday taping for Friday Night SmackDown, then get-home day on Wednesday, and Thursday being the only full day off before it all starts up again.
“You really have to want it,” said Punk, who has made no bones in the past about how he’d prefer to have more time off.
WWE would be wise to work to accommodate Punk, as it accommodates stars like Undertaker and John Cena, to varying degrees. Punk is without question the best worker and at worst the second biggest money draw in the company (he and Cena are 1 and 1a, depending on your preference).
He would be a huge draw on the indy circuit, theoretically, but it is at the same time hard to imagine indy promoters having the cash to pay Punk what he’d be worth, given the nature of the indy wrestling business. Still, Punk could decide to pick and choose his spots on the indies, do some part-time work for his ancestral home in Ring of Honor, maybe snag a reality-show gig on the side.
It’s not realistic to think that Punk would consider TNA, or that TNA could afford Punk (or that its creative team would know what to do with him). Intriguing is the idea that the new jeff jarrett promotion that appears to be in the works could have interest and possibly some cash to throw at Punk as the foundation of its roster.
That all said, it’s clear that Punk’s best option, money-wise and career-wise, is to maintain some sort of affiliation with WWE. But Punk doesn’t seem the type to relegate himself to what appears to be the best answer to an outsider.
Which means we very well could be watching the end of the CM Punk era in WWE. Just in case, enjoy watching “The Best in the World” while you can.
Column by Chris Graham