CM Punk, one of the WWE's biggest stars, appears to have retired from the company, reportedly telling bosses he is 'going home', being removed from future wrestling events and thanking fans for their 'support' on Twitter.
The wrestler has had numerous run-ins with the promotion's chairman Vince McMahon in the past and it seems an undisclosed straw broke the camel's back on Monday night, with F4WOnline.com reporting that Punk – real name Phillip Jack Brooks – announced that he was going home ahead of an edition of weekly show RAW.
Punk missed this scheduled appearance and also his next at a Smackdown event in Toledo, Ohio the following day, with his name having now been removed from all future events (bar Elimination Chamber) on the WWE website.
This comes just weeks before the promotion's biggest annual event, Wrestlemania, which will take place in New Orleans on April 6.
Thanks for all the support. Keep being you guys, it's pretty cool.— Coach (@CMPunk) January 27, 2014
Furthermore, Punk has been sending out cryptic tweets to his followers the past week, culminating in the ominous "Thanks for all the support. Keep being you guys, it's pretty cool," which came on Monday night and was not in reference to any in-ring action.
UPDATE: WWE has unfollowed CM Punk on Twitter. All a work setting up for a surprise Wrestlemania main event? You decide!
The wrestler's contract with the WWE is due to expire in July and many believe he will not renew it, with Punk previously stating "everything is up in the air" amid fears he is battling injures and generally burning out (or else just angry about Batista's push in the Royal Rumble).
The reports should be taken with a whole vat of salt however, given wrestlers' propensity to announce their retirement only to return at a later date.
Either way, it has not been a good week for the WWE, with former ambassador and wrestling legend Mick Foley tweeting on Monday that he was 'disgusted' with the company after its most recent pay-per-view, Royal Rumble.
WWE wrestlers who headed for Hollywood
WWE wrestlers who headed for Hollywood
1/6 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin
One of the biggest names in WWE made his Hollywood debut in ‘Recoil’ in 2011. The action film, which also stars Danny Trejo and Serinda Swan, sees Austin play a vigilante cop trying to exact revenge on a gang who murdered his family.
2/6 Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson
Arguably the most successful actor to stem from the WWE industry, 'The Rock' has appeared in 27 titles to date. Johnson's latest role sees him feature in 'Fast & Furious 7', set to be released next year.
3/6 Hulk Hogan
The 60-year-old is the longest-serving wrestler in WWE, but he also played lead character Randolph Spencer in TV series 'Thunders In Paradise', which aired between 1993 and 1995. He also starred in reality TV show 'Hogan Knows Best', as well as taking on several cameo roles in films such as 'Rocky III', 'Muppets from Space', and as a voiceover in 'Gnomeo and Juliet' in 2011.
4/6 John Cena
In run-of-the-mill action thriller 'The Marine', John Cena sets about tracking down a group of thieves who kidnapped his wife. Other small roles have followed, and Cena is set to feature in a new Scooby Doo movie, 'The Curse of the Ghost Bear', sometime this year.
5/6 Randy Orton
Relatively new to the acting scene, Orton appeared in his biggest role so far in '12 Rounds 2 Reloaded' in 2013. The 33-year-old plays an emergency medical technician who finds himself caught in a deadly 12-round game of cat and mouse. With his wife's life in danger, he has to find out why he was chosen before she is killed.
6/6 Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin
Nearly eight years after making his debut in WWE, the wrestler bagged his first film role in 'The Campaign' in 2012, which starred comedy kings Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, 'The Miz' was then chosen for the lead in 'The Marine 3: Homefront'.
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