The following is an editorial contributed by Ryan Sarosick:
Some would strongly argue that a high class talent leaving wrestling when he’s feeling unappreciated, burnt out, stressed, or for his own unique reasons, has paid off in the long run for those wrestlers.
For example, Chris Jericho left after his original contract was up – sighting that he’s feeling under-appreciated as well as being basically told he was going to have to receive a pay cut on his contract. It’s strongly arguable that Jericho was justified in leaving; the newfound time off gave him the ability to pursue other life goals (which he accomplished), as well as the opportunity to rest and recuperate his body and mind. When he got the itch, he decided to return to wrestling. Chris reinvented his character and went on to being paid what he and many others believed to be his self worth, as well as getting the respect he perhaps didn’t have before his first departure.
Batista: If the cards fall the way they are expected, Batista’s homecoming run won’t be such a bad idea after all. He took a few years off from wrestling due to the WWE’s new “PG” rating direction and other underlying reasons. In those years away, Batista had his hand firmly into the cookie jar of acting, even successfully landing a main villain roll in a upcoming major Marvel film. He also dabbled in the sport of mixed martial arts where he might not have been so successful. However, he retired with a positive record which is more than a lot of professional wrestlers can say (Brock excluded). The current run Batista is embarking on is looking to be bright. He has a nice new two year contract. He’s already won the “Royal Rumble” and is rumored to win the WWE (Undisputed? And world heavyweight?) championship at “WrestleMania.”
Stone cold: Possibly the easiest professional wrestler to compare to CM Punk, he walked away one fateful night before a Raw broadcast after learning he was scheduled to “put over” Brock Lesnar that same night on Raw. However, he no-showed the event. He also was rumored to be upset about Hulk Hogan’s return prior to that time, and a proposed match which had Hogan beating him at “WrestleMania”. (The match never happened due to creative differences between Austin and Hogan.) Austin also had many creative differences other than the Hogan match, (any of this sound vaguely familiar?). It is my understanding that Stone Cold and Vince’s relationship basically didn’t exist after the “no-show” incident. They did not communicate for a couple of years until they eventually realized it was time to mend old wounds. Upon Austin’s return he was the same kick ass S.O.B he always had been, and had a short, highly paid successful run with the company before retiring.
My feelings regarding CM Punk are that he hasn’t been appreciated, and I suspect his creative mind has been confined to enduring cheap wrestling cliché matches over the last year. CM Punk isn’t a selfish man, he loves wrestling and needs to be in engaging matches. The best two wrestlers in the company are CM Punk and Daniel Bryan – it’s obvious to anyone who is a fan of wrestling. With Punk’s ability as a heel and Bryan being so “over” as a baby face it’s almost unimaginable that a match with them hasn’t even been discussed by the creative department. The man clearly cares, wants to contribute to good angles and good storytelling and fantastic matches. The WWE is not letting Punk do what he does best. It’s no wonder he’s frustrated and burnt out. However, this may be Punk’s greatest career move ever. It is just like an under-appreciated girlfriend when she leaves – you notice all the things she brought to the table and how empty your life is without her. It won’t be long b
efore Vince notices Punk’s absence as much as he’d like to feign that he doesn’t.
Punk needs to rest. He’s equally fatigued emotionally and physically. He’s a brilliant wrestler and performer. I’m very sad to see the best in the world go (no pun intended). This time off won’t be undeserving and it will be liberating. I’m hoping the WWE is, or eventually will be, on good terms with his departure since I’m aware his contact isn’t up until July, I’m sure he’ll be welcomed back if and when he gets the itch. Punk loves wrestling – let’s not pretend here. The product is the problem and if it’s ever fixed I’m sure we’ll see the return of “The Best in the World”. Most notably, if he ever does grace us with his in-ring ability and charisma again, he’ll be sure to put over a couple of the young guys before he starts gunning to claim some white-hot kid’s “WrestleMania” spot. Best of luck CM Punk, you’ll be missed.