As just about everyone knows at this point, shortly after the 2014 Royal Rumble, Punk "walked out" of the WWE, citing fatigue and a slew of "I need to get away from this craziness before it kills me" reasons. The E was silent on the matter. The crowds were loud as hell about it, but up until Payback, CM Punk all but ceased to exist in the WWE's world, script or not.
(The look on Bryan's face is priceless)
Meanwhile, Punk's painting chairs in Chicago, singing at the Cubs game, playing intermission games during Blackhawks games and
So, at the end of the day, does Punk need WWE or...does WWE need Punk? Well, with WWE being in a bit of a downward spiral in most storylines not involving Seth Rollins at the moment (not to mention Daniel Bryan possibly not returning until after Summerslam), I'd say it's probably the latter. Yes, the show goes on without Punk. It went on without Cena. It went on without Rock and Stone Cold. And, yes, it went on without Ho Kogan. But, right now, "worked shoot" or not, the WWE needs--or would at least like to have--Punk more than he needs--or would at least like to be around--them. Why else would the WWE pretty much not destroy him in promos like they tend to do with many departed talents who leave on "bad" terms?
And, honestly, retiring at 35? I'd do it too if I could. So, if you don't return, thanks for the memories, Punk.