CM Punk is reportedly leaving the WWE, but wrestling insiders say the popular wrestler’s move to sever ties with the league may be all a “worked shoot,” known outside of wrestling jargon as a hoax.
Reports emerged this week that the wrestler decided to quit just weeks ahead of the WWE’s headline event, Wrestlemania 30. CM Punk reportedly told his bosses that he is “going home” and has been removed from the schedule of future wrestling events. Punk, whose real name is Philip Jack Brooks, then missed a scheduled appearance at a Smackdown event in Toledo, and his future appearances have been scrubbed from the WWE website.
Wrestling followers seem torn between whether Punk’s move was a “work” (slang for a wrestling storyline) or a “shoot” (slang for something that actually happens outside the script).
The wrestler’s history with the league only muddies the situation. CM Punk was known for his run-ins with WWE chairman Vince McMahon, and his contract was set to expire in July.
After the reports emerged that he was leaving the WWE, CM Punk reached out to fans with a series of cryptic tweets, including one that read, “Thanks for all the support. Keep being you guys, it’s pretty cool”
But wrestling insiders note that CM Punk has been part of other “worked shoots” in the past, events made to seem like off-the-cuff criticisms of the league but really were part of the script for wrestling events. In 2011, he gave a heartfelt speech during a WWE Raw event in which he called out the McMahon family and fans who had criticized him, but many fans regarded the speech as all part of the show.
Many insiders now believe the same of his latest stunt, though there could be indications that CM Punk is really leaving the WWE. Last week, CM Punk gave an interview in which he said he wouldn’t even be a fan of the WWE if he wasn’t wrestling today. Then, after requesting the weekend off from WWE house shows, CM Punk turned up at a UFC event.
Yahoo! WWE writer Patrick Michael said he believes the latest event is something in-between a “work” and a “shoot.”
“I don’t believe CM Punk has left the WWE,” he wrote. “CM Punk goes through these phases of unhappiness, but he always returns to the WWE. So I seriously doubt he has worked his last WWE wrestling match.”
Though with Wrestlemania 30 just three months away, if CM Punk plans to compete he would need to return to the WWE relatively quickly.