Since departing from the WWE in January of this year, CM Punk has remained mostly quiet, only showing up for rare appearances at random events. None were WWE-related, sadly. We’d see him at sporting events, but even when WWE was in his backyard of Chicago, Punk was nowhere to be found. The world has awaited a CM Punk appearance or anything WWE related with Punk. Well, we finally got it. Sadly, not in a way we wanted.
CM Punk’s lawyer recently sent a 22-page letter to the WWE Corporate Offices demanding royalties be given to Punk for the use of his name rights. The WWE 2K15 video game was mentioned, as it used Punk’s likeness and name, obviously. The problem that WWE had with this is that they paid Punk for months after his unscheduled absence and refusal to return. WWE felt that things would blow over and wanted to give the former WWE Champion time. However, he was breaching his contract the entire time by doing as he did.
They tried getting back numerous times, but he kept on refusing. Even WWE Chairman Vince McMahon himself tried to get him back, but was not successful. WWE is well within their rights to show footage of Punk or use any former WWE related material of him like with anything else, due to the fact that he was under the WWE banner at the time of the production.
The kicker is, they were all also put out during the period of his contract being active.
WWE 2K15 will not be coming out at the time of CM Punk’s contract, as it’s set for an October 28 release. 2K Sports worked with Punk and put the game together, using him in a featured role well before any problem with WWE occurred. If this issue would have happened in 2013, 2K most likely wouldn’t have included him in the game.
According to the Wrestling Observer, this potential lawsuit with Punk could delay the release of the WWE 2K15 video game. This is due to the fact that both 2K and WWE would be part of the lawsuit. So if 2K put the game out before something was settled, they and the WWE would have to not only pay royalties, but more. If a case were to materialize, of course.
WWE does have the ability to claim Punk breached his talent contract, however. While no lawsuit has happened yet, the Observer claims this is why WWE has withheld payment for his use in the game as well as other money that is usually guaranteed. They had stopped paying Punk a while before his contract was up in July. There was thought of extending his deal, which they had a right to do in their clause. However, WWE seemed to not feel that was necessary and decided not to deal with Punk anymore. However, Punk’s latest actions might have made WWE upset enough to go ahead with their breach of contract lawsuit.
2K Sports could always settle with CM Punk independently, which would allow them to release the game on time with him as part of it. This would not stop the WWE potentially suing Punk, but it would allow Punk to get paid for his use in the game. Both Ultimate Warrior and Sting signed with 2K Sports to be used in the game the last few years before they signed with WWE. So this is not out of the norm for Take Two Interactive to work independently with former wrestlers.
If they cannot settle things quickly, the game will have to wait, simply because it would be trapped in the lawsuit. Releasing it would only help Punk, so WWE would put a halt on it. 2K would have to as well as they would be part of the lawsuit.
Until there is word on a delay, we can still expect the game to be released on its expected October 28 ship date. It is set to be available for PS3 and Xbox 360 and, for the first time, on PS4 and Xbox One. WWE 2K15 has been highly anticipated, so fans will be disappointed if the release was delayed. If Punk has not done enough to upset WWE fans, I imagine this would take the cake.
[IMG Credits: smarkoutmoment.com, WWE.com]