WWE: Is CM Punk walking out a storyline, or has he legitimately quit?

CM Punk reportedly walked out before the Raw following the Royal Rumble and has quit the WWE - But is this reality?

With Bryan hijacking the Royal Rumble the internet's second favourite wrestler also stirs up controversy. CM Punk reportedly walked out before the Raw following the Royal Rumble and has quit the WWE. But is this reality, or a storyline?

It's becoming harder and harder to tell where the lines of reality end with professional wrestling entertainment, and the big question on everyone's mind is has CM Punk really quit the WWE? I mean the evidence supporting the fact that this isn't a storyline is fairly high, but there are one or two things niggling at me.

Obviously the Raw after the Royal Rumble had no mention of Punk, Kane or his authority storyline. After that the news broke that Punk met with Vince McMahon and told him he's 'going home'. The WWE has gone into damage control and have started removing Punk from advertising, scheduled live appearances and on-screen promos.

The Shield even mentioned Punk at a live event and stated that the fans were better off that he wasn't there. Several superstars past and present have also commented on the situation, and for the second time in the same week the story made all of the major news outlets. So, everyone is certainly acting like it's really happening.

But there are one or two small alarm bells that have me questioning the reality of this situation. For one CM Punk has tweeted marginally about his 'exit' and then has kept quiet, he literally hasn't said anything. The timing of the 'exit' is also quite the coincidence, it strikes me as WWE taking the opportunity with Daniel Bryan's buzz to capture lightning in a bottle and a superstar walking out would certainly add fuel to the fire in a feud with the COO of the company.

This wouldn't be the first time that the WWE have broken 'kayfabe' to further CM Punk, his pipe bomb and storyline where he walked away from the WWE with the title was genius, and this could be the second instance of this. I for one can't believe that Punk would walk away before Wrestlemania and the pay check that comes with it. Secondly I can't believe he'd walk away from his obligations towards the fans and not even let the WWE write him off with a storyline reason.

Then there's also the fact that several WWE hall of famers currently still employed by the WWE such as Jim Ross or Mick Foley have expressed sentiments along the line of 'CM Punk should return for Wrestlemania and steal the show' or 'CM Punk should come back and face Triple H'. This smacks me as deliberate building up of the clash between the two. And it's certainly worked, fans have hijacked pretty much every live event with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan tweets, they took over the WWE's Facebook page with Punk comments. Basically there's a general furore to get him back.

Perhaps the most telling thing though is that Punk is still on the WWE website, normally when a superstar leaves they are forcibly ejected from the superstars page and moved into the alumni after receiving a 'good luck with your future endeavours' message. The absence of this makes me think that Punk is still very much employed by the company and this is in fact a work.

So, I'm putting myself out there, I'm probably going to look like a fool but I think Punk WILL be back for Wrestlemania. He will either appear in a scheduled match, or he'll make a surprise return during the event. If you really want me to go out on a limb I think he'll interrupt the Triple H Vs Daniel Bryan match (yes, I think that match-up will happen, and if Bryan wins he'll get a title shot at Extreme Rules) and cost Triple H the match leaving Punk Vs Triple H and Bryan Vs The Champion at Extreme Rules. There I said it.

Daniel Wood is a graduate from Bristol, who can't seem to shake off that WWE bug. His favourite wrestler is Kane, and he still pretends he's a wrestler in his head. Follow Daniel Wood on Twitter.

More articles from Daniel Wood:

WWE: Apart from Daniel Bryan, who were the stars of the Royal Rumble?

WWE: My 2014 Royal Rumble Pay Per View recap

WWE: Is Unifying the WWE title and the World Heavyweight Title a good thing

My thoughts on the new 'Corporate' Kane character

Should Damien Sandow have lost his Money in the Bank briefcase cash-in?