Vince McMahon on CM Punk: “Taking a sabbatical”

cmpunkVince McMahon, on the WWE quarterly earnings call with investors today, offered the first public comments from the company on the status of superstar CM Punk, who has been absent from WWE TV and house shows since Jan. 27.

“He’s taking a sabbatical, let’s put it that way,” McMahon said of Punk, who reportedly walked out from Monday Night Raw a day after putting in a 47-minute effort in the Royal Rumble main event.

What can be read into McMahon’s terse comment? Well, for starters, Punk is still under contract to WWE, so we have our confirmation on the already-quashed rumors from this past weekend that Punk had been granted an early release from his contract, which expires in July.

Other than that … let’s take a look at the word sabbatical. Early reports on the Punk departure had the issue being a health issue, possibly a concussion suffered during the Rumble. Could creative have crafted a “sabbatical” for Punk to cover up for a concussion or other ailment? It’s possible.

More likely with “sabbatical” we’re seeing McMahon holding onto hope that he can convince Punk to return to work in time to be included in the WrestleMania 30 plans. There’s still time for that to happen; consider The Undertaker, who isn’t returning to WWE TV until Monday, and hasn’t been seen or heard from for months. But the time to build a new story for Punk is running short.

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