As confirmed yesterday, WWE Champion CM Punk has been cleared for in-ring action by WWE physician, Dr. Michael Sampson, four weeks after undergoing knee surgery (STORY). Consequently, he’ll defend his title as promised in a long-gestating Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match against Ryback on Jan. 7, the first Raw of 2013. The news came as somewhat of a surprise, given The Straight Edge Superstar’s status was in doubt as recently as New Year’s Eve, when Punk’s personal physician refused to clear the champion for active duty. But now that the word has come down from on high and Punk is set to return to the ring, it seems a few weeks on the bench hasn’t cost The Voice of the Voiceless any of his trademark confidence.
“‘WWE sources’ can kiss my a**,” the champion said in a pointed statement regarding the initial, unconfirmed report that cleared him for duty. “Of course I’ll be cleared. Of course I’ll wrestle Ryback in a TLC Match. Of course I’ll win.”
Punk’s associate, Paul Heyman, was a bit more loquacious if not respectful of WWE sources and management in his own response. Despite Punk’s return absolving “The Voice of the Voice of the Voiceless” of having to face Ryback himself (Mr. McMahon named Heyman as Ryback’s replacement opponent if Punk was still not medically cleared to compete), the ECW mastermind had no positive sentiment on the verdict that will send the champion back to the front lines.
“In an obvious effort to appease the WWE Board of Directors, the Chairman of the Board has once again publicly demonstrated his vulgar obsession with denying the WWE Universe of its rightful undisputed reigning defending champion,” Heyman said in a statement. “Vince McMahon’s unconscionable tactics now include forcing CM Punk, less than 30 days post-surgery, to defend this industry’s most prestigious championship in a barbaric match known as TLC. The description ‘flesh-peddling promoter’for Vince McMahon is a terrible understatement. The medical clearance is a sham, and it is apparent this corruption starts at the top.”
Despite the duo’s bile, however, one thing is certain: Sampson’s word is final, and the time for statements and sources will soon be at an end as the bell starts the TLC Match against Ryback and tolls for the defending WWE Champion on Jan. 7.
As WWE Champion CM Punk’s potential title defense against Ryback approaches on the Jan. 7 edition of Monday Night Raw, WWE.com sources indicate that The Straight Edge Superstar has been medically cleared for in-ring competition several weeks after his undergoing knee surgery. The decision, if confirmed, returns Punk to action effective immediately, meaning he will defend his championship as scheduled in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match against Ryback.
The bout had originally been scheduled for the WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, but Punk’s sudden trip under the knife suspended that contest until the champion was fully recuperated. His status was in doubt as recent as Dec. 31, when his recovery timeline from the procedure was called into question by Punk’s personal physician (WATCH). WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon had gone so far as to schedule a potential replacement match should Punk prove unable to compete, but pending approval, it appears The Chairman’s worries are assuaged.
Our sources also indicate that a final decision on the champion’s status will be presented to the WWE Universe on WWE Main Event tonight at 8/7 CT on ION Television.