Many fans over the years have compared “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and CM Punk. Today, I’m going to be one of those. However, this will be a comparison of their walk-outs from WWE.
First, let’s go back to 2002 with Austin. Austin was the most popular star on the recently form Raw brand during the beginning of the brand split. The way Austin was being booked at the time left a lot to be desired. He wasn’t the Undisputed Champion and was seemingly being booked as an upper-midcarder, with his fueds not taking top or even second from the top billings on pay-per-view. Austin was, understandably frustrated, after being the top guy on the roster in 2001. This came to a head on June 10, 2002 before Monday Night Raw. On this night, Austin was booked to be defeated by Brock Lesnar in a KIng of the Ring tournament qualifying match. I don’t believe Austin had a problem putting Brock over, it seems the problem was a match between the two should have had weeks of build-up, not just given away randomly on free TV. Austin eventually returned to WWE and had his last match with The Rock at WrestleMania XIX in 2003. If you hear Austin talk about this in interviews, you know he has major regrets about walking out.
Two weeks ago, CM Punk walked out before Monday Night Raw. Similar to Austin, it was brought on by frustration. Punk’s contract was coming to an end in July, and his last goal was to main event WrestleMania, with this year possibly being his last chance. Due to circumstances he couldn’t control, he was rumored to be booked for a match against Triple H, a high-level match, but not the main event. It’s also suggested that Punk is banged up, which would make sense for him to want time off. The difference here is, unlike with Austin’s walk-out, WWE isn’t mentioning it all at. They gave Austin a farewell on Raw the next week, while Punk hasn’t even gotten a mention, minus the fans chanting his name at events. Will he come back, time will tell.
As fans of both, I didn’t agree with the walk-outs, but I could understand in both situations where they were coming from. Both were huge draws, both were banged up with no rest time to heal, and both felt the weren’t being used to their full potential. Walking-out isn’t the best way to handle it, talking it over with your employer is the best way to solve any problems. They could have simply asked for time off to refresh instead of just leaving. Austin regrets it, maybe down the line Punk will as well. As a fan, I would love to see him come back, even if it’s just to have a proper send-off. Who knows, maybe he’s coming back and this whole walk-out is a work. That’s a possibility, but it’s hard to tell.
Until next time, when you’re feeling unappreciated, just walk away, but only if you can afford to