Major news came out of the 2024 edition of The Royal Rumble and it wasn’t news about Cody Rhodes and Bayley picking up big victories. Wrestling Observer first reported that CM Punk had sustained a triceps injury, which PWInsider reported would require surgery according to sources. This is a huge hit as the company prepares to head into WrestleMania 40, where Punk was expected to face Seth Rollins. If he is unable to go WWE will have to pull a major audible that should come in the form of GUNTHER.
During the match, there was a moment when Drew McIntyre hit the Future Shock DDT on Punk and he can be seen grabbing his arm. He would then crawl over to the corner where a referee would check on him momentarily. That did not stop him from heading into the final sequences of the match that would see Rhodes toss him out to pick up the win.
Punk has suffered multiple injuries since his return to wrestling. His two tenures as AEW World Champion were hindered due to injuries, one of which was a triceps injury to what appears to be the opposite arm. Those situations caused AEW to scramble to change creative which led to Jon Moxley and MJF getting title runs in his stead.
WrestleMania 40 is scheduled for April 6 and 7. Estimated recovery for a torn triceps usually takes around three to four weeks with surgery. That would put Punk out of the equation for the big event and the build-up to a match. This comes at a time when Seth Rollins is also struggling with an injury of his own.
If Punk is out of the equation, Gunther is the best option to go to. He is the only man on the WWE roster other than Rollins and Roman Reigns who is consistently presented as a major deal. He’s approaching 600 days as WWE Intercontinental Champion and this comes after an 870-day run as WWE NXT United Kingdom Champion. The fear around how WWE would book Gunther from years ago is completely negated as it’s clear he’s one of the most important pieces on today’s roster.
The opportunity to see Gunther’s build through WrestleMania should begin now. Place him into the Elimination Chamber where he can pick up the victory and declare that he’s challenging Rollins. At WrestleMania he and Rollins would battle in a Champion vs Champion match, where the winner takes both belts home. Gunther is ready to be the main event focus on WWE Raw and putting the title on him would also give Rollins time away to heal up. Yes, he’d have to drop the IC title, but WWE has a stacked mid-card and there’s opportunity to do some interesting “sports-based” tournament-style booking to build an interesting story to a new champion.
In the past WWE has done some clever work when forced to call an audible. If CM Punk is unavailable for WrestleMania 40 then The Ring General needs to be the next man up and get crowned with the biggest win of his career.