While we still do not have a definite answer as to how long he has been upset with the company, we do know now that CM Punk was already contemplating a departure from WWE as early as Royal Rumble 2014. He vented to Mick Foley at the time about not being happy within the company and having trouble dealing with injuries.
The expectation was that ratings for Monday Night Raw would rise this week because fans would tune in to see if CM Punk would make his return or not. However, the opposite took place. WWE saw a 12 percent drop in viewership, which has to be a bit alarming since it is the time period between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania 30.
Since the company wanted to sell the brutality of Brock Lesnar for his match against Big Show at Royal Rumble 2014, they had Mark Henry work an injury angle and take a couple of weeks off. It looks the former world champion is returning to WWE, possibly as soon as Monday Night Raw this week.
After what took place at Royal Rumble 2014, WWE officials were concerned that the audience at Monday Night Raw was going to hijack the event by voicing their opinions, so in order to help squash some of that and control the crowd, management had Daniel Bryan cutting a promo to open up the show.
Wrestle-1, the new promotion founded by the Great Muta, is about to get an influx of talent from TNA for an upcoming live event in March. Austin Aries, Abyss, Bobby Roode, Brutus Magnus, Christopher Daniels, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Frankie Kazarian, Gail Kim, Madison Rayne and Samoa Joe have been confirmed for the trip.
"It's tough, even Hulk Hogan was a tough loss to accept. Sting has been the cornerstone of the company, Jarrett founded the company and I think he might be the best heel in the business, and AJ Styles is just the best athlete I've ever been in the ring with. From three different perspectives it is a tough pill to swallow because they are three of the best. When you don't have them in the company you hope to god that the young talent steps up, guys like Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, and James Storm seem to be stepping up. Will they replace Sting? You can't replace Sting, will they replace AJ? Probably not, AJ is irreplaceable, but will they become their own characters and do really well, yes they will do phenomenally well and it's not about replacing anymore, it's about making new stars."
- Kurt Angle on TNA losing stars recently
"From a wrestling standpoint, I'd love to have a guy like AJ Styles within the company to wrestle. I think the fans would, too. There was a tease of what could have been, but I don't think anybody saw what me and AJ Styles could do in there. On a personal level, I want AJ Styles to do whatever is best for him and his family, and if that's coming back to TNA that would be awesome. If that's working elsewhere, I completely understand that. If that will happen, I have no idea. I guess we'll find out. We all have to stay tuned and see what happens."
"Well, my opinions don't really matter because the storyline, for me, is just to entertain the fans and keep them engaged in what's going on with the company. I will say that any time that you have the opportunity to take the top prize in the company and take it internationally, and maybe compete and defend it in some territories and in front of some sets of fans that don't normally get to have that honor, I think that's a great thing for the company. That helps get the brand out there and helps put the product out there. A guy like AJ Styles is obviously a great talent and he's going to go out there and put on a performance that's befitting of a man who is the World Champion. So, from that standpoint alone, I don't see how there could be anything negative coming from AJ taking that belt all over the world and defend it against anybody that wants an opportunity. I know that's the same mindset I've had in my past when I've been world champion. Bring 'em all on, near and far, we don't like to sit here and pretend that the only wrestling is the wrestling that happens in our universe. There's professional wrestling going on all over the world and we want to acknowledge it and put our best against their best at any time."