The WWE's Royal Rumble is over, and "The American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes is standing tall once again and ready for a big rematch with Roman Reigns. Many wrestling fans were thrilled about the victory, but it appears something far less thrilling may have occurred in the midst of the bout, as CM Punk may have injured his arm during the event. I will be super upset if that's true, and I know I won't be alone.
CM Punk was one of the favorites to win the Royal Rumble, and now there's a chance he might've sustained an injury that could keep him out of upcoming WWE events down the road, depending on how serious it was. Here's what we know about the situation, and why I'd be bummed if "The Best Of The World" might have to watch WrestleMania 40 from the sidelines.
When CM Punk May Have Injured Himself During The Men's Royal Rumble
Fairly deep into the Men's Royal Rumble match, CM Punk took a brutal "Future Shock DDT" from Drew McIntyre, presumably still pissed he wasn't on the Royal Rumble poster. Punk landed awkwardly and immediately began gripping his right arm on the ground. At first, it seemed like Punk was just overselling McIntyre's signature move, but the superstar remained grounded for several minutes, and could be seen in a sidebar discussion with referee Jessica Carr and other officials while the match continued.
Punk eventually got back to his feet and wound up being the last man standing between Cody Rhodes and his rematch in the next WrestleMania main event. They grappled back and forth without Punk taking any big bumps, and Rhodes eventually pulled Punk over the top rope and emerged victorious. Now, as we head into Monday Night Raw and everything beyond, I'm wondering if CM Punk is going to be healthy enough to compete.
Why It Might Not Be Too Serious
It's important to note that at this time, we have no official word on whether or not CM Punk is injured long-term. At the same time, he definitely seemed to be hurt in the moment, and an unexpected source on social media alleged to know what Punk and Jessica Carr talked about on the ringside apron. Chris "Swaggy C" Williams, a Big Brother 20 vet and contestant on The Challenge, was seated near where the exchange took place, and shared his two cents to a post on X asking about Punk's possible injury.
I was right behind him. He told the ref he felt he separated it but he still wrestled after. So I don’t think he did [injure himself].
Assuming the above is true, it's possible that CM Punk temporarily separated a joint on his elbow or shoulder, and then it popped back in place. This would explain why he was able to get back in the mix eventually, and remained with what we'd assume was the planned finish to the match.
And if there is an injury, the fact that the superstar was able to complete the match might indicate that it wasn't as severe as he might've thought originally. He even had Cody on his shoulders for a prolonged time at the end of the match as he prepared for the GTS, which I don't think he would've done if it had triggered a debilitating amount of pain.
Why It Might Be Worse Than It Seemed
While it's true that CM Punk finished the match, WWE fans already have a recent example of proof that finishing a match doesn't mean there's nothing to worry about. Seth Rollins finished his match with Jinder Mahal on RAW two weeks ahead of the Rumble, injuring his knee in the process, and finishing the match aided in making it severe enough that he'll be missing a chunk of WrestleMania season to recover.
The WWE backlog (available with a Peacock Premium subscription) is full of past matches in which superstars hurt themselves fairly badly, but still finish their respective matches anyway due to the kayfabe mentality that "The show must go on."
As such, I'm still not sold on Punk finishing the match being A+ evidence that he's okay, especially given how long he was in the corner talking to officials. To me, that seemed like the conversation was about whether he could physically finish the match and worry about getting it checked out later.
Why I'd Hate For CM Punk To Be Hurt Going Into WrestleMania 40
I'm going to be crushed if CM Punk is injured and can't compete in WrestleMania 40. While we have no idea what all is planned for the event, this seemed like the perfect time to finally let the long-time legend co-anchor a main event for the biggest wrestling show in existence. It's a goal he's talked about in the past, and one I'd love to see him achieve.
Punk has been a polarizing figure in pro wrestling in recent years, no doubt, but I don't think anyone will deny he's owed that honor after what he's given to the industry. As such, I'm really hoping that he's and will be given a chance to pursue the heavyweight championship before too long.
Monday Night Raw airs on USA on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. If there's more to hear about CM Punk and an injury, we'll probably hear about it there. If not, let's ramp up the feud with Seth Rollins, and hope they're both happy and healthy by April.