Reconstructing a Timeline of CM Punk’s Exit from WWE

December 10, 2014 - WWE

A smashed physique and backstage politics compelled CM Punk to travel divided from WWE. His story is one of frustration, of wading by pain and wiping a puke off his lips before trudging on, all to grasp his suspicion of headlining a WrestleMania.

Looking behind during a final few years of his wrestling career through a lens of what Punk told his crony Colt Cabana on The Art of Wrestling podcast (h/t CagesideSeats for a transcription, contains NSFW language), a signs were there that he was on a proceed out for good.

The sometimes-bristly Superstar exited WWE unexpected in January. Fans were left to assume about what accurately triggered his departure. That impulse was no remarkable romantic outburst; a wick was land behind in 2011, a commencement of a delayed bake to that contingent explosion.

Reality and kayfabe bled into any other when WWE used Punk’s failing agreement as a pivotal partial of a storyline. He became everyone’s favorite anti-hero when he delivered a scathing, now-famous worked-shoot promo on Raw.

Onscreen, he threatened to leave a association with a WWE title. Backstage, he motionless to re-sign.

After a five-star masterwork conflicting John Cena, Punk’s stardom rose. His movement swelled. That fugitive mark on a WrestleMania marquee waited for him on a horizon.


Sept. 18, 2011: Triple H Wins

The Summer of Punk fizzled out. Many censure Triple H, who extrinsic himself into Punk’s trail and knocked him off during Night of Champions 2011.

Punk’s movement faded during this point. Triple H went behind to his onscreen corporate role.

Years later, Punk says that he barked during Triple H about that really moment, revelation him, “I severely resent we for not putting me over 3 years ago when we should have.”


Nov. 20, 2011: Day 1 of 434

While WWE never put Punk on a same tier as Cena, The Rock and Undertaker, it did put a WWE Championship on him for a ancestral volume of time.

His year-plus power began during Survivor Series 2012. Cranking Albert Del Rio’s arm behind with a Anaconda Vise warranted him his second WWE pretension reign.


Nov. 23, 2011: Punk Talks Nearly Walking Away

Punk wanted to put WWE behind him behind in 2011. In an speak with The Hot Clicks Podcast (h/t Wrestling Inc), he talked about scarcely not re-signing that summer.

“My agreement was adult and we was like, ‘You know what, my contract’s up. we over my obligations to you. You have over your obligations to me, and we let me outing by your fingers.'”

He still had nonetheless to supplement “WrestleMania headliner” to his resume, though. He pushed by in office of that fugitive goal.


Feb. 19, 2012-June 17, 2012: Cena Headlines over a Champ

Punk was not “the guy” notwithstanding holding a company’s ultimate prize. Cena, champion or not, was clearly a company’s tip star.

WWE bearing Cena into a core of a spotlight again and again, withdrawal Punk to mount usually outward of it.

At Elimination Chamber 2012, Cena vs. Kane in an Ambulance compare took tip billing. Cena vs. The Rock headlined WrestleMania 28, withdrawal Punk’s pretension invulnerability opposite Chris Jericho to reside reduce down on a card.

Cena vs. Lesnar was Extreme Rules’s categorical event. Over a Limit finished with John Laurinaitis vs. Cena, not Punk vs. Daniel Bryan for a strap.

And notwithstanding a movement of a storyline featuring AJ Lee, the lady Punk would eventually marry, Cena vs. Big Show served as a tip compare during No Way out, not Punk vs. Bryan vs. Kane.


July 23, 2012: Punk Turns Heel

In a midst of a universe pretension reign, Punk switched sides. At Raw 1,000, he pounded The Rock.

This was to set adult The Brahma Bull eventually plucking a championship off Punk. 

In his speak with Cabana, Punk says that Vince McMahon told him, “Rock’s entrance back, and he wants to work a bad guy. You’re a champ.” He combined that McMahon pronounced that he would owe him one afterward.


Oct. 28, 2012: Ryback in a Cell

Needing arm surgery, Cena had to step divided from a conflict with Punk during a Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.

Enter Ryback. The rising star entered a biggest compare of his career carrying not mislaid once. The association told Punk that could lift him, that a powerhouse was “definitely not ready.” 

Punk contends that the Hell in a Cell bout “took 20 years off my life.”


Nov. 18, 2012: The Shield Debuts

Not certain what was subsequent for him, Punk and WWE talked about a probability of his heading a heel faction. Punk’s suspicion was to call adult Kassius Ohno, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose from developmental. The association chose Roman Reigns over Ohno nonetheless ran with a idea.

The organisation helped Punk retain, aggressive Ryback during a Survivor Series pretension bout. 

It didn’t, however, turn his group. Plans changed. It was pragmatic that The Shield was operative for Punk, nonetheless their attribute was not what Punk had envisioned.


Dec. 4, 2012: Undergoes Surgery

Already traffic with a series of accumulating injuries, a partially ripped meniscus forced Punk onto a surgeon’s table, as WWE announced.

WWE didn’t frame him of a title. He would not be out of movement long. 


Dec. 5, 2012: Punk Surpasses Cena

As Cena himself remarkable on Twitter, Punk’s power became a longest in a complicated era.

This remarkable 381 days for Punk as champ, pulling him past Cena’s 380.


Jan. 7, 2013: Returns to a Ring

Less than a month after surgery, Punk was wrestling again. He battled Ryback in a TLC compare on Raw, a compare WWE had teased for a pay-per-view of a same name before Punk’s injury.

Upon discussion of WWE’s skeleton for him, Punk was shocked. The association positively wasn’t easing him behind into things.

Of a situation, he tells Cabana:

I was like ‘That’s in two-and-a-half, 3 weeks?’ He’s like ‘Yep! Prognosis for your medicine is four-to-six weeks.’ And we was like ‘So we book me in a horribly dangerous compare with a horribly dangerous opponent.’ He’s like ‘Well, that’s when Rock’s entrance behind so we’ve got to start that module right away.’

Punk talked about toughing things out as Harley Race would have. He talked of meditative that if he did what he was asked that he would save adequate preference with McMahon to get him that WrestleMania pretension spot.


Jan. 27, 2013: The Rock Takes His Title

The longest pretension power in a final 25 years finally ended. The Rock fended off an conflict from The Shield to better Punk during a Royal Rumble.

That was a second conflict that Punk lost. He had been perplexing to remonstrate McMahon and association to let him keep a pretension until WrestleMania. 

He pronounced he was “actively perplexing to remonstrate him that dropping a pretension to Rock was not a right thing to do.” Punk offering adult a probability of his losing it in a Triple Threat during The Show of Shows. WWE was set on Cena vs. The Rock. 


April 7, 2013: The Undertaker

Cena and The Rock were a showcase match. Punk and Undertaker stole a show.

Their collision was not a categorical eventuality during WrestleMania 29. Instead, Punk and The Deadman flourished before Cena and The Rock went on.

The Second-City Saint became a Undertaker’s final victim, a 21st uninterrupted male to remove to him during WrestleMania.

Punk wasn’t happy about what this would do for his career. McMahon attempted to sell him on how most feverishness he would get following this bout.

Punk disagreed, saying, “Explain to me how losing to a 45-year-old male that wrestles once a year is going to make me a hottest heel in a world? No disrespect. Explain to me how that works.”

Mel Evans/Associated Press

The compare left Punk some-more hurt. He says he walked divided with a painful patella and his knee in worse figure than ever. In a way, that was by design.

He pronounced of his proceed to it, “They did not give me what we suspicion we should have made. But we wrestled that compare like we had a genocide wish.” With WWE not giving him a time off he asked for, he wondered if a usually proceed to acquire a mangle was to get hurt.


April 8, 2013-June 15, 2013: Time Off Post-WrestleMania

Punk gave us a preview of what a Punk-less WWE would demeanour like. After WrestleMania, he took time to heal.

Meanwhile, Jericho and Paul Heyman built adult his compare during Payback.

Unlike in a past, he had no itch to come back. The time off authorised him to rediscover life, he explained to Cabana.

This contingency have been in his mind when he counsel quitting months later.


June 16, 2013: Payback in Chicago

Punk wanted off until SummerSlam. WWE wanted to give Chicago a favorite son.

In Punk’s words, McMahon told him, “This is Chicago, so we need you. It’s not sole out yet, so we put we on, it will sell out, and we wish we to work.”

Chicago welcomed Punk behind with a rough reaction. He responded with a best compare of a night. He and Jericho continued what they had going around WrestleMania time in 2012.


Aug. 18, 2013: SummerSlam

A argument with Heyman led Punk to conflict Lesnar. Punk was vehement about operative with both The Beast Incarnate and his advocate.

He was reduction anxious with how things were set to go down.

Scheduled to remove to another part-timer, Punk thought, “So I’ve gotta put over The Rock and he goes away, I’ve gotta put over ‘Taker and he goes away, and now I’m putting over Brock and he goes away.”


Again, McMahon betrothed that if he did this, he would owe Punk. To The Best in a World, that meant a suspicion of headlining was still alive.

He and Lesnar put on a classic. Punk lost.


Sept. 23, 2013: Ryback Misses a Table

With Lesnar gone, a argument shifted toward Heyman’s cronies—Ryback and Curtis Axel. The commencement of that communication saw The Big Guy supplement to Punk’s collection of injuries.

Ryback powerbombed Punk onto a table, nonetheless a pile-up didn’t go as planned. Punk fell on a dilemma of it before acrobatics onto a concrete.

The blunder messed Punk adult for months.


Dec. 3, 2013: Punk Defecates on Himself

Suffering from damaged ribs (which Punk blames on Ryback) and concussion symptoms, Punk struggled to work. He tells stories of himself on all fours, queasiness after a match.

The WWE medical staff treated him with a circuit belt of antibiotics. Punk says that led him to dirt himself in a center of in-ring movement on SmackDown.


Jan. 23, 2014: Interview with Ariel Helwani

As a Royal Rumble approached, Punk sat down with MMA’s Helwani (h/t Wrestling Inc, contains NSFW language). Little did we know it, nonetheless Punk offering hints that he was going to leave.

He talked about how harmed he was, saying, “Some days we feel so kick up, we don’t know if we can put my boots on.” More telling, though, was that when Helwani asked him about his agreement (set to end in July), he seemed boring about it.

“Everything is adult in a air,” Punk told him.


Jan. 26, 2014: The Royal Rumble

Punk saw a Royal Rumble as one some-more possibility to uncover WWE he deserved a aloft stage on a ladder.

He told himself, “I’m going to change their minds. I’m going to have this overwhelming Royal Rumble, and they’re going to be like, ‘Goddamn, all right, Punk needs to be in a categorical event. He hasn’t been in a categorical event.'”

He entered a 30-man conflict first. During his scarcely 50 mins in that match, he suffered a concussion.


The damage sent him into a corner, hurt, confused, his conduct spinning. He told a ringside alloy about a concussion, and Punk says a doc simply said, “What do we wish me to do?”

Kane eventually came down to a ring, pulled Punk out of a compare early and threw him, concussed and all, into a announce table.

That finished adult being Punk’s swan song.


Jan. 27, 2014: No-Shows Raw

Punk quit. In a closed-door meeting, he told Triple H and McMahon, “You have shackled me, we have creatively mutilated me, we have finished this a really poisonous environment, we no longer wish to be here.”

Fans didn’t hear of any of this. WWE finished no announcement. Punk stayed silent.

One could usually go on rumors and what outlets like TMZ reported, that forked to Batista’s being in WrestleMania as a pivotal reason for Punk’s departure.


Feb. 20, 2014: Vince McMahon Comments on Punk’s Departure

McMahon didn’t give adult wish that he could speak Punk into entrance back. In a discussion call, he referred (h/t PWTorch) to Punk’s deficiency as a “sabbatical,” as against to a banged-up, angry, discontented worker quitting.


March 3, 2014: Punk Doesn’t Come Home

When Raw came to Chicago, a Internet buzzed with reports saying that Punk was on his proceed back. 

His song played. Fans erupted. 

Heyman showed instead.

He talked quickly about how not being means to kick Undertaker gathering him divided before starting a offered routine on Lesnar’s shot during The Phenom. The uncover went on. The appurtenance kept humming.


June 11, 2014: Triple H Texts Punk

Triple H reached out to Punk around text. Punk says he told him, “Send me my royalties that I’ve been seeking about for dual months. That is reasonable, and afterwards we will speak to we when we get behind from my honeymoon.”


June 13, 2014: Wedding Day

As F4WOnline reported, AJ and Punk were married on Jun 13. This is a day he perceived his walking papers from WWE to go along with his ring.

McMahon would after contend in an interview with Steve Austin on a WWE Network (subscription required) that a timing was a outcome of a mix-up. Punk believes otherwise. 

He says, “I was fired, on my marriage day. Very distributed and really deliberate.”


June 24, 2014: Mick Foley Comments on Punk Cutting off Communications

Punk didn’t usually leave WWE; he left a wrestling universe behind.

Talking with USA Today, Foley said of Punk, “I will contend he doesn’t respond to me. we used to be means to strech out to him. we consider he’s usually cut off all communication with people from a business.”


June 25, 2014: Heyman Reveals Punk’s Mindset

With no matter from Punk or WWE yet, it was Punk’s former manager who supposing discernment into what triggered his walking away.

On Jericho’s Talk Is Jericho podcastHeyman said the following: “He was unhappy. He had enough. He couldn’t take it anymore, and it wasn’t a delayed build. A year before he walked, there were daily conversations of ‘I don’t know how most longer I’m going to be means to take this. we don’t know how most longer I’m going to be here.'” 

Heyman embellished a design of a male who had prolonged mislaid his passion for a exhausting art form. He was not astounded in a slightest that Punk left.


July 14, 2014: Moved to Alumni Section

Punk’s career strictly finished in a quietest proceed possible. WWE changed his form to a “WWE Alumni” territory of a company’s website.

In a NSFW tweet, Punk took a eventuality to contend his square to a fans:


July 15, 2014: “Best in a World” Documentary Airs on WWE Network

WWE might have been finished with Punk and clamp versa, nonetheless his prior work was still a intelligent proceed to boost seductiveness in a WWE Network.

The association put a documentary detailing his arise on a streaming service.


July 17, 2014: Contract Expiration Date

Per Mike Johnson of PWInsider, this is when Punk’s agreement would have ended. Not that many folks knew this during a time, nonetheless WWE had already dismissed Punk.


July 21, 2014: Never, Ever

In an speak with Chris Van Vliet, Punk pronounced he would “never, ever” lapse to a ring. (Note: Video contains brief NSFW language.)

Punk looked happy, some-more enterprising than he had in years. Fans didn’t wish to trust his claims that he wasn’t entrance back, nonetheless it certain looked as if he was enjoying not wrestling anymore.


Aug. 11, 2014: Punk Announced for WWE 2K15 Showcase Mode

As Vince Ingenito wrote for IGN, Cena and Punk’s adversary would be one of dual featured in a WWE 2K15 video game.

Punk wasn’t pleased. He dull adult a posse of lawyers.


Sept. 4, 2014: Punk’s Attorneys Send WWE Lengthy Letter

According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required, h/t, Punk’s lawyers sent WWE a 22-page letter. Royalties from a video diversion were of arch concern.

If 2K Sports and WWE were going to distinction from Punk’s name, he clearly wanted to as well.


Sept. 9, 2014: Legal Discussions

Later, Punk’s authorised group went so distant as to speak about his dismissal from a game. reported, “Legal member for pro-wrestler CM Punk are intent with WWE officials to settle a operation of disputes.” 

He stayed in WWE 2K15. And as he tells Cabana, he can’t plead a volume of his settlement, nonetheless that he got all he wanted “and afterwards some.” 


Sept. 29, 2014: Stephanie McMahon Reacts to Chants

WWE’s subsequent outing to Chicago saw fans resounding Punk’s name. McMahon extinguished that glow in a hurry.

She asked why people would hearten for quitters.


The chants haven’t totally left away, nonetheless their volume has lessened in a months following this moment. 


Oct. 22, 2014: Report on WWE Removing Punk Signs

WWE didn’t wish fans to dawdle on a male who had left a company. It private several signs ancillary Punk from fans during a live event.

A news from PWInsider Elite reports (subscription required, h/t WrestingInc) supposing some discernment into WWE’s thinking. The reports pronounced that a association would try to equivocate bringing courtesy to Punk’s absence.


Nov. 26, 2014: The Podcast Breaks a Internet

On a day before Thanksgiving, Punk spilled his courage onto a microphone. In his speak with Cabana, Punk dismissed shots during Ryback, Triple H, McMahon and a WWE medical staff.

He told a unfortunate story of a misdiagnosed staph infection and explained his reasons for leaving. It was a story of ascent unhappiness, of his never removing that eventuality that so mostly hung swinging in front of him.

Punk never headlined a WrestleMania. Instead, he sat during home and watched his crony Bryan get that chance.

Just a week later, Punk suggested that he had a new suspicion in front of him—success in a Octagon.

Dec. 6, 2014: Signs with UFC

At UFC 181, a tip MMA graduation in a universe announced that it had combined Punk to a roster. He will make his entrance someday in 2015.

Fans will finally get to see Punk quarrel again, nonetheless it won’t be in a kind of conflict he has thrived in for so long. A new terrain awaits, one that is unknown and unwelcoming.

Being a beginner entering a competition during age 36, his medical record longer than some books, many envision disaster for Punk. In his mind, during least, he’s accustomed to that feeling.

He says he believes that he “failed during wrestling” since he never headlined WrestleMania. His classics-rich resume and romantic fans contend otherwise.


All quotes from Punk’s podcast coming with Cabana unless differently noted.

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