While most would expect the "Royal Rumble" to be the biggest story in professional wrestling at the moment, it has taken a backseat to the surprise exit of CM Punk from WWE programming.
After being a key player in WWE for several years, he reportedly walked out Monday, unhappy with the direction of the company. Punk and WWE have both been quiet about the issue, but several wrestlers have offered their opinions.
One of the most notable is "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who quit WWE himself in 2002. Austin appeared on "Arsenio" Thursday (Jan. 30) to address the situation.
"I was back in a place when I walked away from the company. I didn't like what they had to tell me," Austin says. "I think he was backed against a corner, he got a little frustrated and went home."
However, Austin doesn't think WWE fans have seen the last of Punk, as he continues, "I think one of two things will happen: Vince [McMahon] will fly down there to Chicago, or wherever he is, and work some Jedi mind tricks and convince him to come back, or maybe he will think through the process, he's got a lot of years left in the tank. Never leave money on the table when you can go ahead and make that money."
At 35 years old, Punk may have a long career ahead of him, but has said more than once that his injuries are starting to catch up with him due to wrestling since he was 15.
While the general consensus is Punk will be back eventually, Austin points out that the situation is "bad timing because you got 'Wrestlemania XXX' going down in the Superdome." He was originally scheduled to face Triple H at "Wrestlemania," WWE's biggest annual show.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images, Arsenio Hall Show