CM Punk Still With WWE, Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, Jake Roberts Helping Bray Wyatt, Don’t Fire Anyone

Has the whole CM Punk thing kind of just been blown over? Has everyone given up on him returning? I feel like it was the biggest story for a couple days and now no one seems to care.

The story of CM Punk’s WWE departure has started to cool but I wouldn’t say it’s over. The last detail we were able to confirm was that Punk left the Royal Rumble pay-per-view banged up. WWE is moving on under the assumption that Punk is gone and isn’t coming back but he remains under contract through July. Rumors that have him in MMA fights or even pornographies (trust me, they’re out there) are premature as WWE has the exclusive rights to his services throughout the duration of his contract. Once Punk’s WWE contract is up, he’ll be free to do what he wants.

Hypothetically, if Daniel Bryan and Triple H face off at Wrestlemania XXX, what is the chance that Hunter goes over in the match? Moreover, would WWE have the guts to do something like that after the recent fan backlash that has occurred?

WWE seemed to take a step forward in Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan [at Wrestlemania XXX] in this week’s kayfabe interview with Michael Cole. For those that have been paying attention, this is a change from the progression they were going with in Triple H vs. CM Punk. As noted here in Ask WNW, the plan as of this week was for Bryan to essentially replace Punk at the show in April. It’s premature to start talking outcomes without a match announced. I like to take things one week at a time and I feel better about Bryan’s status on WWE television after pinning Orton clean on Raw this week.

With the inclusion of Jake Roberts in the Class of 2014 Hall of Fame, can you see WWE utilizing him as a possible manager for The Wyatt Family?

Jake Roberts has had informal contact with Bray Wyatt as apparently Bray has consulted Jake for some of his promo work. However, I do not think the Wyatt Family needs a manager. The group is getting over and accomplishing their goals every week on their own. Adding Roberts would only take the attention off the new up and comers and put it on someone that is not in the long-term plans. I am very happy to see Roberts take his place in WWE Hall of Fame and think his story to sobriety is a great one.

Why has WWE not acknowledged the departure of CM Punk?

Technically CM Punk is still employed by WWE. As I mentioned above, his contract is through July. There are not plans to release him from that contract and this will prevent him from working with other entities. Obviously Punk could request his release but I’m not sure that would make sense considering right now he’ll get paid for doing nothing. WWE is moving away from CM Punk under the assumption he isn’t coming back. They don’t want him to leave and didn’t plan on him leaving but it seems as though he’s made his decision. Several months ago Triple H enacted what I like to call the “no fire edict.” This is a policy where the company allows for contracts to lapse and not renew them as opposed to terminating them early. This way the company doesn’t have to acknowledge releases and it saves them the negative public relations hit of addressing them. This is why the release of the original Sin Cara was so quiet.

From the Ask WNW vault…

July 2012: Throughout the past several weeks we’ve heard from WWE names about their favorite Raw moments. What is your favorite Raw moment? - As a long-time wrestling fan, I have many favorite Raw moments but for the sake of conversation I will mention a few. One of my best memories of the Attitude Era was Steve Austin driving the beer truck in the arena and hosing Vince McMahon. A lot of my favorite Raw moments from the Attitude Era included Austin as it was edgy programming that was very entertaining. The night that Shane McMahon showed up on WCW Monday Nitro was a memorable one as it was something I don’t think anyone would have imagined just five years prior to it happening. As for a recent memory, CM Punk’s worked shoot promo on Raw last summer was one of my favorites and elevated him to an entire different level.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Friday, February 7, 2014.

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  • Nostaljack

    I’m confused by something and this may read stupid: If they have Punk under contract to work, can’t they make him do it? Does that contract state that he’s just allowed to sit at home and collect cash? I’ve never seen a contract that allowed that before.

    • kyleferretti

      I was wondering the same thing

    • http://www.wrestlingnewsworld.com/ Richard Gray

      They’re not going to release him. So they can call, text, etc and if doesn’t want to work, he’s not going to work. Obviously they could say he was “breaching” his contract but again, they’re not going to release him. It’s kind of like The Undertaker and Wrestlemania. He has a WWE contract but there have been situations where he was non-committal about a match (he was more hesitant last year). WWE wasn’t going to terminate his contract, so he had leverage. It’s a similar situation here with WWE understanding as long as the worker is under contract, they retain exclusive rights to their services.

      • Nostaljack

        If they’re paying someone to perform, why wouldn’t they apply pressure legally – whatever they decide that entails? I wouldn’t pay someone to do nothing. That’s just bad business. WWE didn’t get where they are doing that. CM Punk is a fantastic worker and I’m a fan but he doesn’t have the right to just sit there and collect a paycheck. He works for them, not the other way around. Undertaker is different in that he hasn’t taken his ball and gone home. Also, he’s been there for a thousand years and his health is an issue. Coming after Punk legally seems the only thing that makes sense if he decides not to return.

        • http://www.wrestlingnewsworld.com/ Richard Gray

          Well, they’re paying his downside. He still gets his merchandise bonuses but he doesn’t collect show bonuses, etc. I can’t explain the logic. WWE paid Mistico’s downside until it was up even though they made the decision to can him long before. Triple H doesn’t like acknowledging main roster releases. Vince McMahon still very much wants Punk back. He’s not going to upset him further by cutting his contract. I’m not sure what legal options they have other than terminating the agreement but that’s not something they’re going to do.

          • Nostaljack

            Mistico’s a little different, though. He would have worked had he been called on. CM Punk is refusing to work and has gone home. They should be able to force him to do something. I’m sure his downside is rather large so why not make him work for it. That he gets his merchandise bonuses is, to me, really silly. That’s a perk for working, no? I’d love to see a blank contract just to see the rationale behind some of this stuff.

          • opie

            It wouldn’t make a difference. If they made him work against his will, he’d be the most dangerous man in the company. He could flip scripts without caring at all. Book someone over him? He could lie down for the pin, a la Jarrett v. Hogan. Book him over? Watch him leave the match and sit on the ramp just to see if the ref will count to ten. If they made him work, he’d do everything he could to get out of the contract. At least now he’s not a problem.

          • Cubed56

            WWE has removed all CM Punk merch from live events, and although I haven’t looked, I’m sure there isn’t much of his stuff available on the wwe shop as well, so although he gets his merchandise bonuses, I’m sure WWE is making it rather hard to get your hands on CM Punk merchandise.

          • Snap

            As far as merchandising revenue, I actually think that one is a no-brainer. There’s no way WWE can outright own CM Punk’s likeness considering Punk was born with it and, if WWE is going to continue to sell merchandise with Punk’s likeness then he is entitled to compensation.

            There was a rather notable incident in the 70s involving Heineken producing billboard ads featuring Leonard Nimoy’s likeness as Spock. This was, of course, after the cancellation of Star Trek and after Nimoy’s involvement with Paramount came to an end and even though the character itself belonged to Paramount, it was clearly Nimoy’s likeness.

            Nimoy didn’t know about these billboards until someone had pointed them out to him and it led to a lawsuit between Nimoy and Paramount which nearly resulted in Nimoy not being involved with the first Star Trek feature.

            With CM Punk’s merchandise, on the other hand, he created the CM Punk character long before he arrived in WWE so WWE doesn’t even own the character, therefore if WWE were to refuse to compensate him for the sale of any of his merchandise, he would be able to take legal action.

            This is also why once the contract with Mike Tyson expired, Punch Out was released without Tyson’s name attached or his character featured within the game. They can’t just say “Oh, he’s not actually working so he doesn’t deserve to get paid.”

          • Nostaljack

            Yeah, they can. If he’s decided he doesn’t want to work, he shouldn’t get paid. That’s how it would work in any other job. Why should WWE be any different. Of course, this is slightly different, I know. However, one shouldn’t just be able to take their toys and go home without any punishment of any kind. Losing show bonuses for Punk is clearly meaningless or he wouldn’t have walked away.

        • Lewis

          They probably could take him to court or stop paying him, but I think if they are still trying to get him back, doing anything like that right now would kill those chances. But that’s just me speculating.

        • _lawrenc1

          Actually, it’s probably cheaper to pay is downside than to pursue legal action against him.

    • Bob’s Diner

      Pretty sure the independent contractor status means there are no set hours or days of work required, so their only option is to terminate. I think terminating his contract right would be bad because with WrestleMania on the way, it would free CM Punk to do interviews where he may be negative about WWE.

      Or it could be that Vince himself gave the OK for CM Punk to go home.

      Personally, I think there is something we are not being told and will most likely find out later.

      • JR Texx (Jamie)

        Also there is still a chance that he could be back for ‘mania. Even though it’s slim.

      • Nostaljack

        You make a very good point (John does too.) I’m just questioning continuing to pay someone for doing nothing. Independent contractors are paid when the company they’re contracting for gives them work. When they don’t, they get nothing.

        • Bob’s Diner

          Totally – they are paying him to stay home because of his downside guarantee. Maybe his show bonuses are really high and they don’t want to have to pay those as well?

        • J Vomkrieg

          They are paying for his exclusive rights. That means they are paying him not to work for anyone else. If these contracts had no downside at all, WWE could sign you up for X years, not use you, and stop you working elsewhere.

    • John

      As Bob says, Punk is an independent contractor, he is NOT a WWE employee, they have no rights to make him do anything. Totally different fields, but when Georges St-Pierre vacated his UFC championship and announced he was taking a break from the sport, there was nothing the UFC could do to prevent him from leaving or to make him fight as he is not a UFC employee.

  • JR Texx (Jamie)

    To be fair people saying “CM Punk quit” is wrong, as he only walked out. Although I personally don’t see him returning. There is still that chance.

    There is only one situation where i see HHH going over Bryan at Wrestlemania, that is if there is going to be a rematch of some sort, like Rock & Cena did, but then again, HHH hasn’t won many matches in recent years.

    HHH’s “don’t fire edict” is really smart, I think he’s doing pretty well.. the only bad things people are saying about HHH at the moment are from the WWE fans.

    • http://www.wrestlingnewsworld.com/ Richard Gray

      WWE wants investor confidence to be at an all-time high, especially with the launch of the WWE Network. Earnings are expected to take a hit in the short-term as they shoot for 1 million Network subscribers. PPV revenue is going to take a hit, not to mention the costs that have already been realized by Network development. Hunter’s opinion is if they are a successful company and a job creator, it’s better to pay the downside throughout the duration rather than terminate the contract and take the PR hit.

    • Ben

      After seeing him so selfishly go over Punk and Lesnar at NoC 2011 and WM last year, I see no reason to believe he’ll put his ego aside to put Bryan over. I like a lot of what Triple H is doing overall, but when it comes to him doing the honors I’ll believe it when I see it. Frankly, with how horribly the powers that be have handled Bryan’s booking and them helping to push CM Punk to leave the company, I don’t see a whole lot of reasons to have faith in them in general right now. And yes, I know Bryan just went over the champ clean, but the result was him being laid out to end the show. Again.

    • Bob’s Diner

      I’ll say bad things about him. He is in charge of creative and that side of the company is terrible right now. He is also in charge of talent relations and that means we see his buddies on tv more than we should, like Kevin Nash at the Royal Rumble and Batista coming back to win a world title for no reason

  • _JIM_

    The CM Punk situation is really similiar to back in the day when Austin walked away. Because the company wanted him to do a job for Brock Lesnar, and Austin refused to do it and basically quit for 8 months. Austin was just talking about this on his Podcast today, and I bring it up because of something you said in your answer to the Punk question. You said Punk would get paid for doing nothing, but I don’t think that would be the case. According to Austin when he did the same thing and walked away, he wasn’t paid during the time he was off. So I think the same will be done with Punk. Because when they both walked away they were in breach of their conttracts. Which means that WWE doesn’t have to pay him while he is in breach of his contract. So I don’t think he will “be getting paid for doing nothing” as you said he would be. They may still be paying him now, but I don’t see them continuing to do so the longer he is gone. If they are still paying him now it’s only to keep the company looking good in Punk’s eyes so they have a better chance of him coming back. Cutting his pay off now would only reinforce the negative feelings he has towards the company right now. If you remember correctly when Austin walked away they had JR talk about it that night on Raw. He gave the whole “Austin took his ball and went home” speech. So at some point I do see them bringing up Punk’s situation on TV to let the average fan in on why he’s no longer on TV.

    • Justin

      Austin also said that it’s the biggest mistake of his professional career.

  • David F.

    Im sorry but the fans want to see Bryan win the title at Wrestlemania or I would be fine with him beating Taker anything less is a disappointment in my book. Give the fans what they want and put Bryan in triple threat Bootista and Orton otherwise Bootista v Orton will be crapped on by WM fans, Also can WWE please give Bryan a cooler shirt. I would buy Bryan shirt to support him but the troll shirt is just too cartoonish

    • NYYANKEES

      and what if Vince/Hunter already plan on having Batista win the championship at Mania? Would you still want want Bryan in that match?

      • David F.

        They can always change it to have Bryan winning title at Mania and have Bootista win it later in the year. Bootista can always win title at Summerslam. Just saying the fans attending Wrestlemania will not be interested in Batista v Orton and it will get loud boring chants and We want Bryan chants

    • Jimmy

      I don’t want to see Bryan win the title and i sure as hell don’t want to see him beat Undertaker.

  • Patrick

    Jake Roberts doesnt need to be manager of the Wyatt’s BUT Bray Wyatt talking to Robert about his promos is a smart thing. Roberts was one of the best in the bussiness and his input would help Bray alot.

    • Nostaljack

      Bray doesn’t need anyone’s help and he started proving it from the day that character debuted. However, if you must talk to someone, there’s no one better than Jake. As for a manager, Bray absolutely doesn’t need one but if anyone needs a manager, I’d love to see Jake brought in to be one.

      • opie

        Maybe as a manager against the Wyatts. It could be as crazy as Jake training Warrior to face Taker in a casket match. I’d watch it.

        • Nostaljack

          Can you imagine the mic work we’d get from a feud like that? WOW! I would *love* to see something like that!

  • illdecide

    Looks like Punk might be starring in an XXX after all….

    Thank you I’m here all day!!

  • jason

    There is still tons of cm punk merchandise on wwe shop.com

    • Bob’s Diner

      He is still the number one seller on that site as well and the number two overall

      • Gary Robert

        but no ice cream bars??

        • Bob’s Diner

          That’s probably why he quit

  • Gary Robert

    Isn’t the strangest part about this whole CM Punk story the fact that Punk himself has been so silent about everything?

    • Bob’s Diner

      That’s why I think there is more to this than what is out there. Not necessarily a work, but for him to be so quiet tells me there is something we don’t know. Which is why I don’t agree with everyone complaining and saying he ‘took his ball and went home’.

      • Gary Robert

        Well, just waiting around to see how it plays out is all we can do.

  • BotchedComments

    I have a signed CM Punk Pepsi can, I wonder since he’s gone if his stuff would be rare now…Just a thought.

  • Jay El Bee

    Why would the WWE acknowledge Punk’s departure, unless it’s for storyline purposes they almost never mention when someone leaves. Take RVD for example I’m pretty sure they never mentioned him leaving except for maybe claiming that Del Rio took him out or something like that.