CM Punk

RedEye's pro wrestling pundits debate whether CM Punk leaving WWE is for real this time. (Phil Velasquez / Chicago Tribune / March 8, 2012)

When news broke that Chicago's own CM Punk—aka Phil Brooks—walked out on the WWE, some wondered if it was part of a storyline. Two of RedEye's pro wrestling pundits tell us what to believe.


I have been watching wrestling somewhat regularly since 1990. In that time, I've learned a thing or two: Don't turn your back on the Wolfpack, everyone has a price for the Million Dollar Man, and Samoa Joe is going to kill you.

One other life lesson? Don't believe anything until it's all worked out. As Elliott points out, the whole point of CM Punk's last "exit" was to stir the fans and get us wondering what was what. They couldn't get away with that this time.

See, there are little notes here and there that make me believe this will play out with Punk not only wrestling at 'Mania but, when it's all said and done, stealing the show for the second year in a row.

If this was a real spot, would John Cena have tweeted earlier today about exciting times at the WWE both in front of and behind the curtain? Nah, he would remain mum and do his job.

The WWE is a lot better than we think about leaking information to the "dirt sheets," and I think this is an example. This has the makings of a wonderful angle, and I for one, am going to say we're getting Punk'd one more time.

Oh, and one more thing: Daniel Bryan needs the title YESTERDAY.

—Ernest Wilkins, Chicago's wingman



Call me a gullible wrestling fan—or "mark"—if you will, but I really believe this time it's for real.

Sure, Punk did something similar not long ago, in a storyline that had him "quitting" the WWE while still holding the championship belt. But in retrospect, it was obviously an angle to stir the fan base and get us questioning what was "real" and what was scripted in the world of sports entertainment.

The current situation just feels different. The last time Punk did the "I'm outta here" angle, he played it up until his contract expired. This time his contract reportedly isn't up until July, and there was no build-up.

All we have is a vague tweet from Punk, issued the day before he reportedly told Vince McMahon he quit:

"The view never changes."

One could assume this was in reference to taking a backseat to some of the "names" the WWE has called back into action.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson headlined the past two "Wrestlemania" pay-per-views, despite leaving the WWE to pursue a film career. This year the WWE has called on Dave "The Animal" Bautista to be in the main event of their biggest pay-per-view of the year after a four-year absence.

Brooks has said he's always wanted to be in the main event at Wrestlemania. And despite being one of the WWE's most popular superstars, it has never happened.

So I could see how getting overlooked and shown up by his bosses time and again would make Brooks quit his job. For real.

—Elliott Serrano, RedEye special contributor

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