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By Mike Johnson on 2011-04-26 10:23:42
As we initially reported last night in the Elite section, former WWE World champion CM Punk has not signed a new WWE deal and there's been a lot of talk that Punk is looking to exit the company when his deal expires in a few months.

Internally, that possibility has been discussed for some time but during the European tour, discussion of Punk's exit came more and more to the forefront.

According to WWE sources, Punk has been offered a new long-term deal but has balked at signing, citing burnout with being on the road for years and unhappiness with his position in the company over the last year.

As one source pointed out, Punk has been something of an "Iron Man" for the company, working full-time on the road with the exception of his hip injury needing to be rehabbed last year. At the same time, despite delivering with whatever was handed to him creatively, Punk has watched as other talents developed since he debuted ended up pushed as bigger names and treated as more important than Punk, including Miz and Alberto Del Rio.

"When you look at how the company brands it's characters, Punk is never among the top 5-8 names that are promoted or pushed," said the WWE office source. "It's Cena, Orton, Miz, Undertaker, Rey, now Alberto, etc. these days and Punk is sort of floating right under there. He didn't fit into the youth drive a few months back but he's not treated like a top veteran either. He's just there, doing his job and while everyone knows he delivers, he's never really treated like someone who does. He's never dropped the ball but we don't give it to him really, either. He's treated like a guy, but not THE guy. For a driven guy like him who's made wrestling his entire world, it's got to drive him crazy. Now, the excuse will be don't push Punk because he might be leaving, but the reality is the environment and situation is what is probably making him want to leave to begin with. Either it gets fixed or it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, just like it did when Batista walked out."

As is the norm with such situations, a new deal could be struck at any point, but as more and more sources discuss Punk leaving the company as a distinct possibility, time will tell. We'll have more when we get it.

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