According to Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc., McMahon spoke on a conference call Thursday and was asked by an investor about Punk’s status. The CEO replied, “He's taking a sabbatical, let's just put it that way."
Punk has been absent from WWE programming since the Jan. 27 Raw following the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, and the company has made no attempt to talk about Punk or address his situation with the company since the rumors surfaced.
Former WWE champion John Cena told Zap2It.com about Punk’s stance with the company, ”Don't even know. I think there's one dude who knows all the answers to that, and that's him."
There are few stars in the wrestling business as touted as Punk, and the timing of his reported sabbatical couldn’t be worse. WrestleMania XXX is scheduled for April 6—the biggest event of the year for the company—and the creative minds in charge of booking the show want all of their top stars on the card to ensure the most buys for the WWE Network.
Punk was the longest reigning WWE champion of the last 25 years and has built a diehard following with wrestling fans. He has been one of the top sellers in terms of merchandise for the company since 2011 and has been one of the most consistent performers on the mic and in the ring.
There have been reports claiming that Punk’s contract is up in July, but there is no doubt that the WWE would rather have the former champ on the active roster and not sitting at home until the deal expires.
The hope is that his reported sabbatical is temporary and that Punk will return to the WWE at some point in the near future. If the company wants to make the most possible money for its biggest PPV of the year, WrestleMania, Punk should be involved.
For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics or catch the latest episode in the player below (some language NSFW).