Source: The Wrestling Observer Newsletter

UPDATE: As noted last week here on the website, WWE is still selling new CM Punk merchandise. The company had numerous new items on display during the WrestleMania AXXESS festivities in New Orleans, LA. In an update on this, we can now report that Punk is still getting royalties on his merchandise. Those royalties are said to be pretty substantial as he is still selling a TON of merchandise. As of two weeks ago, Punk was second to John Cena as the top merch. seller in the company.

The official word from WWE is that he's not suspended, fired or released. He is simply on a "leave of absence" with the hope that he'll eventually change his mind/cool off and return.

CM Punk's real-life friend - UFC star Chael Sonnen - recently told a source that he spoke with CM Punk at one point within the past several months. At first, Sonnen said he thought the entire thing was a "work" but as time goes on, Chael now thinks it's the real deal.

ORIGINAL: Despite initial reports to the contrary, the latest word going around is that CM Punk is still receiving his merchandise checks from WWE. As noted on Thursday, WWE has been continuing to sell Punk merchandise, including the distribution of new Punk merchandise at WrestleMania AXXESS in New Orleans this past weekend.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin has mentioned several times when reflecting on his walkout of WWE that during his hiatus, he was not receiving money from WWE, including profits earned on his merchandise being sold. He noted when talking about Punk walking out on the company during recent podcasts and media interviews that Punk is leaving tons of money on the table, but apparently that is not the case.

At the time Punk walked out on the company, he was the number two merchandise-mover, trailing only John Cena. At this point in time, while the latest official figures have yet to come in, it is believed that he is still among the top five wrestlers in the company in terms of current merchandise sales, and possibly as high as number three.