It's been over two years now since CM Punk left the WWE. A sad, lonely and completely disappointing two years.
In the absence of Punk, nobody has really stepped up to fill in the void that he left as the crowd favourite that isn't annoyingly nice - we're looking at you John Cena and Roman Reigns.
Well, speaking to GQ Magazine about his time with the company, actor and former WWE creative writer Freddie Prinze Jr spoke about Punk's time in the company.
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Speaking in his interview with Mick Rouse from the magazine, Prinze revealed that he truly believed it took the WWE far too long to realise that Punk was a huge star just sitting under their noses and never really being given the chance to run with his talents.
"My personal feeling was, you know, as a company it was discovered a little too late," Prinze said.
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Years of No Appreciation
In Prinze's view, this is what jaded Punk. The fact that years of being underappreciated and underused weren't forgotten by the Chicago-born superstar even when he was finally turned into a main event player with a big role in every show.
"After frustration settles in, there's a certain point as an employee of any company—even when they say to you, "You really are great!" you're kind of like, "Yeah, well thanks, but I'm out of here." That's kind of what that relationship became," Prinze added.
Despite becoming a star, the damage was still done and seemingly irreversible. That's why the promos that Punk did with Vince McMahon and Triple H were so gripping - it's because they were real! They were real contract negotations and real grievances airing out in public.
"That relationship became the actual story being told in the ring," Prinze said. "All those promos that him and Vince McMahon would have in the ring together, that was all real stuff."
"That wasn't anything that anyone wrote, that was them debating in the ring. And people knew it was real! They knew they were saying real things and that it wasn't a TV show right there anymore."
It shouldn't have been a surprise that CM Punk left the WWE. He should have beaten The Undertaker at WrestleMania, or at least have been given a damn main event. That's the curse of being one of the best wrestlers on the planet, you get matched up with guys you have to elevate, like Ryback - rather than anyone else on top.
Who knows, maybe if the WWE had discovered that Punk was a star a year or two earlier, he might still be around. Instead, he's training for a probable failed UFC career and we have Reigns in the main event for a second Mania in a row. Oh well.