How soon we forget what the WWE was like before January 26th, 2014.
How soon we forget Shawn screwing Bryan intending to be the end of Bryan's feud with the Authority. How soon we forget Bryan being put in a meaningless midcard program with the Wyatts. How soon we forget how quickly that program ended once the fans started hijacking shows.
How soon we forget what CM Punk had been doing for the past year.
CM Punk's last "feud", if you can call it that, was him coming to the ring and ranting at the authority for no reason. He'd come to the ring, maybe have a meaningless match, and week in, week out, he'd get on the microphone and he'd whine that the Authority was out to get him. The authority never did anything to him until he spent weeks going on paranoid rants about everything. And then, after the Shield jumped him once, that was it. Nothing happened to Punk, yet he'd come to the ring every single week and just spout paranoid nonsense. We may have been cheering him, but he was being written as a delusional baby, and he resented it. I don't blame him.
As this was going on, Punk saw how Daniel Bryan was just plain not getting a push, no matter what. The Michaels double cross was clearly meant to be the end of it, but when the fans started hijacking shows, it's amazing how quickly the Bryan/Wyatt feud ended. And even then, nothing was coming of it.
Punk is on record in saying that " is Bryan's year". As much as he wanted to be in the main event (for arguably way too much time as it is), he was miffed about how the writers/WWE were treating Bryan. Remember, Punk has gone off in the past about how WWE treated workhorses (Punk's words) like Kozlov and Tyson Kidd, and he's gone off on part timers with cushy contracts returning to take Wrestlemania spots from people who earned it all year. This is an incredibly sore spot for him. And what happens? Batista returns at the Rumble, swooping in on the wings of middle age and skinny jeans - a part-timer with a cushy contract swiping the headline of the third straight Wrestlemania since Punk has been a main eventer. I'm sure the fact that it wasn't the Rock yet again didn't lessen the insult, in Punk's mind.
Punk left partially for selfish reasons - he wasn't getting the match he wanted. Punk wanted to headline Wrestlemania, for the title. HHH no doubt didn't want to give it to Punk because Punk has made it clear that he wants to retire soon, and a title match at Wrestlemania is basically the last thing Punk has left on his list of goals. After that, Punk had no reason to stick around, and WWE didn't want to lose their biggest merch seller behind Cena.
So Punk got frustrated for that, and for how much he despised how WWE was booking things - him, Bryan, and the main event scene. And it's amazing how, once Punk left, Bryan was immediately thrust into a main event feud at Wrestlemania. And the icing on the cake, he got his title match, and we, the audience, finally got a pay per view that was worth the money, let alone the time.
I applaud Punk. He's got enough money to pay off any breach of contract fines with his debit card, and now he's a multimillionaire, set for life. But more importantly, he's the first guy to shove Vince/HHH's noses in it, HARD. He's the first guy to be able to show WWE the price of treating the talent like garbage, and completely disregarding what the fans want. He's the first to show the WWE that it doesn't matter that there's basically no other wrestling on tv to watch - if you ignore what the fans want, you will suffer financially. I honestly can't believe that Punk's merchandise sells second most of all, but I can't believe Cena's sells the most, so what do I know. But Punk's merch put him in this glorious position, and he utilized it perfectly.
Some of you may be whining that Punk isn't gracing your screens anymore, but you need to realize: the whole industry has been made far better by what Punk has done. Punk is the best thing to happen to pro wrestling since entrance themes. His actions, partly motivated by his own selfish interests or not, resulted in the best Wrestlemania in years, and finally put Bryan in a feud and in a spot that we have been wanting for a much, much too long time. You should all be praising him. I know I am.