CM Punk Quit WWE in 2014 Because He Felt He Wasn't Living Up to His Potential


Nov. 27 2023, Updated 10:43 a.m. ET

CM Punk at San Diego Comic Con in 2022.
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • CM Punk made his return to WWE in 2023 after leaving the league in 2014 because he felt they weren't helping him live up to his potential.
  • CM Punk was fired from AEW in August of 2023 after several physical altercations and other behind-the-scenes drama.
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Following his surprising return to WWE in 2023 for the league's Survivor Series WarGames 2023 Premium Live Event, many wrestling fans are now looking back at CM Punk's legacy, and at his 2014 decision to leave WWE behind.

Many fans thought that the wrestler would never be back following his departure, with many believing he had left the league behind for good. In his prime, CM Punk had an incredible following, and he's continued to wrestle outside of WWE in recent years. One question remains for many fans though: why did he leave the league to begin with?

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CM Punk speaking into a mic at Riot Fest 2021.
Source: Getty Images

Why did CM Punk quit WWE?

CM Punk, whose real name is Phillip Jack Brooks, announced his departure from WWE in 2014, and explained afterward that he felt the WWE never allowed him to fully live up to his potential.

"I feel almost that the 10 years that I spent in WWE was wasted," he explained. "Because I feel it is Management, Owner, Booker, whoever's job, is to get the most out of all the talent. I feel that I never [reached my full potential]."

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"I reached the potential that I could have given the limitations they constantly put on me," the wrestler continued. CM Punk even won the WWE championship in 2011 with Albert Del Rio, but said that he ultimately felt burnt out by his time with the league, and felt like he was losing his passion for the sport. Now, CM Punk is back with the league he once blamed for cratering his artistic ambitions.

Why did CM Punk leave AEW?

From 2021 until 2023, CM Punk had been wrestling with All Elite Wrestling (AEW). His return to WWE comes after he departed from AEW, and this time, it wasn't his choice to leave.

CM Punk was fired from AEW with cause after he got into a backstage physical altercation with fellow wrestler Jack Perry. CM's stint in the league had been rife with injury and behind-the-scenes drama, and this was just the last of several altercations he was a part of.

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Source: YouTube

It's unclear what CM's future with WWE will look like, but it's clear that many senior people in the organization are excited to have him back.

"This was one of those lightning-in-a-bottle moments that came together very quickly," WWE chief content officer Paul "Triple H" Levesque said in a news conference following CM's return. "But we are incredibly excited about it. It's been a long time. In some ways, it's been a long time coming."

"You can say this about CM Punk: Love him, hate him, positive, negative, whatever you want to say, people talk about him all the time," Triple H continued. "He is a magnet for that. He's a conversation starter, and it's tough to look past that."

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