CM Punk underwent emergency knee surgery to fix an injury, but the setback appears that it will hurt WWE as much as it does the wrestling champion himself.
It was unclear what exact injury forced CM Punk to the famed Dr. James Andrews, who performed surgery on Tuesday to remove a piece of torn meniscus that had locked up the wrestler’s knee. But the recovery period is expected to keep him out for several week as he recovers.
The timing is difficult for WWE. As one of the brightest stars, CM Punk is a major draw, and losing him two weeks from the TLC pay-per-view special has caused the WWE to scramble to replace him.
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon responded quickly to the CM Punk injury, saying that his intended opponent for the TLC Event, Ryback, would now team up with Team Hell No to battle the upstart group The Shield.
As Bleacher Report writer Bryan Haas notes, it will still be difficult to replace CM Punk at the event:
“This marks the first pay-per view in recent memory that Punk will not be competing at, as well as the first in about a year where he will not be defending the WWE title.
“This is a fairly large loss for the company, because love him or hate him, Punk equals ratings. The fact that one never knows what he will do or say keeps the fans eagerly anticipating his next move.
“For Punk, it somewhat knocks him off of his pedestal, as he will not be able to compete at a pay-per view for the first time in several years. It does nothing to damage his legacy of course, since the injury does not appear to be very serious, just enough to knock him out of this match. And we can likely still look forward to Punk’s promos week to week even while he is healing from his surgery.”
The injury does not seem to hurt WWE too much in the long-term either, the Poughkeepsie Journal’s Under The Ring blog notes. CM Punk is expected to return within a few weeks, in plenty of time to defend his title against The Rock at January’s Royal Rumble.