UPDATE: On Monday, WWE scrapped several RAW segments mentioning CM Punk, including a Bad News Barrett promo as we noted earlier. Word is that Vince McMahon did not want to bad mouth or bury CM Punk on the show because he’s still hopeful he can talk Punk into returning. Punk makes a lot of money for the company in terms of the merchandise he sells, and still has star power. McMahon doesn’t want to burn the bridge with Punk, especially by burying him in his hometown.
The general feeling is that Triple H doesn’t feel the same about the matter, and some think that as he gains more power behind the scenes, Punk’s leverage for a return on his own terms could start diminishing.
ORIGINAL: Here are some notes on the CM Punk/WWE situation:
* While there was speculation and assumption that Punk “had” to return in Chicago, but WWE has had very little if any contact with Punk. Punk has “made it clear” that he’s not returning, as his deal expires in July.
* There was no version of the RAW script that was ever written for a Punk return. The opening with Paul Heyman was planned several days in advance. The company believed they had to face the Punk chants “head on”, as ignoring them would lead to distracting the viewing audience. RAW was loaded up to give Chicago a big show to make them happy instead of giving them a reason to chant for Punk. It’s believed that Vince McMahon made that call.
* One version of the script featured Bad News Barrett delivering “bad news” about Punk not being there, along with the Heyman promo, but the decision was made to remove it. The Heyman promo did not bury Punk but also mentioned that he wasn’t there. Heyman then blamed the fans and The Undertaker to get heat for Brock Lesnar’s match at Wrestlemania 30. Barrett bringing it up again could have angered the audience. WWE hoped to at least tease Punk showing up to help cut down on the chants.
* AJ Lee was not used because of her real life relationship with Punk, to prevent more chants.
* The decision has been made in WWE to remove Punk from all marketing and publicity material, along with live event videos. They will not mention the fact he left outside of this past Monday as Punk is still #2 in merchandise behind John Cena.
* As noted yesterday, there are numerous people within WWE who feel that CM Punk is likely not returning to WWE as he’s “mentally done with wrestling.”
* Finally, WWE will have to deal with the fact that Punk is a part of the WWE Studios Flintstones animated film and their Camp WWE online cartoon. Part of the reason Hunico has been competing as Sin Cara is because Cara was a part of the Scooby-Doo animated film and WWE didn’t want to “date” the project by having someone that had left the company in it. It remains to be seen what they will do about Punk being in their new projects.