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CM Punk Wins the WWE Title…and Then Skips Town?

The unthinkable has happened in the WWE — the WWE title has been taken hostage!  CM Punk (Phillip Jack Brooks), who was recently suspended, and who has admitted his desire to leave the WWE for another organization, won the WWE Championship by defeating John Cena at the “Money in the Bank” PPV.  CM Punk was reinstated after his suspension (which resulted from an on-air tirade against the WWE-owning McMahon family) presumably for just one night.

Wrestling fans predicted that Cena would defeat CM Punk, as is the WWE tradition, allowing Punk to end his WWE career in shame.  This tradition is as old as the sport; as Vince McMahon once explained to the press, it would be an insult to the company for a wrestler to take the WWE Championship to another organization.  The last time this happened was when Medusa (Debra Miceli) took the WWE Women’s Championship to WCW Monday Nitro and threw it in the trash–thereby mocking the company at the peak of the “Monday Night wars.”

Vince McMahon prevented this scenario from happening in 1997 when he “screwed” Bret Hart out of the WWE Championship, just before Bret Hart could jump ship to WCW the next week.  McMahon suffered massive backlash from the fans, from the press, and from Bret Hart himself (who punched him out backstage as the documentary “Wrestling with Shadows” pointed out).

In another words, by all conceivable logic, WWE management (or scriptwriters, or whatever you call them) should not have let CM Punk anywhere near the WWE Championship — especially if the dissatisfied employee was on his way out.  Nevertheless, we witnessed one of the most surprising match finishes in recent years at Money in the Bank.

So what happens now?  CM Punk is still in possession of the WWE Championship, though he is no longer under contract to the organization.  This has led many fans to speculate that the entire angle is a work.  Is it possible that CM Punk signed an extension with WWE in secret?  Or is this a bizarre case of real and fake worlds colliding?  Perhaps the WWE was unhappy with CM Punk but decided to keep him around (and give him the WWE title) in spite of bad blood, simply because Punk is the most “over” wrestler in the sport today.  Indeed, Punk’s shoot promo was one of the most talked about moments in the WWE within the last 10 years.

Perhaps the WWE and Punk are testing each other, seeing just how much interest they can build up with this angle before making an official decision regarding contracts.  We do know from the follow up Monday Night RAW, that Vince McMahon is no longer a player in this scenario, since Triple H has now resumed McMahon’s duties as chief executive officer of the WWE.  Triple H is not punishing John Cena, as McMahon indicated he would, should CM Punk do the unthinkable.  For the first time in ages, WWE is the talk of the sports world!

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