This news story broke overnight late Tuesday/early Wednesday. I literally posted the Wednesday Headlines shortly after 1am, then went to sleep and when I woke up it looks like this CM Punk story broke around 2am. The story goes that top WWE star CM Punk left the company during TV tapings this week and as a result has been removed from the live events he was scheduled for this week as well as the weeks ahead.

Here's what F4WOnline.com's Dave Meltzer had to say about it:

C.M. Punk reportedly told Vince McMahon last night that he was going home, and did so.  That's where things stand right now.  At this point, he's off everything going forward.

Here's much more on the story from Mike Johnson of PWInsider:

The belief among those who are willing to talk about the situation is that Punk is no longer factored into company plans. Punk is under contract to WWE through July.

Punk was slated to face Triple H at Wrestlemania 30. This past Monday's Raw instead began teasing Daniel Bryan vs. HHH down the line, possibly for Wrestlemania.

We have heard from several sources that the original script for yesterday's Raw called for Punk to wrestle Antonio Cesaro and lose after Kane interfered, allowing Cesaro to qualify for the Elimination Chamber. It should be noted that another source has denied that and claimed that Punk was never booked to wrestle last night and was only booked to do a promo that would follow up on Kane causing Punk's elimination from the Rumble. But, Punk was originally slated to be on Raw and those segments were yanked. He was not backstage during the taping and was not backstage at Smackdown.

It is believed that when Vince McMahon had the writers re-write Raw late yesterday (6 PM for a taping that was scheduled to start at 7:45 PM), it was because Punk had informed the company he was going home and wouldn't be back.

While we cannot 100% confirm why, the belief among wrestlers backstage is that Punk leaving was not an injury issue. It was described to us as more likely a case of burnout and unhappiness with the overall direction of the company. Punk had been very vocal in the past about the usage of returning and "part time" stars being pushed beyond wrestlers who were working full-time for the company.

Before I get into it, I think F4WOnline and PWInsider are the best sources for news, so I take their word for it. The wrestling business is crazy with ideas changing all the time, but for the most part they are the most reliable sources out there.

As is the case in anything in wrestling, the immediate thought is that maybe it's a work. It could just be a storyline that a top babyface is angered with management that he happens to be feuding with. I don't really believe it to be the case in this instance, but it's worth thinking about at least.

It's understandable why Punk is frustrated. He's a guy that has busted his ass in WWE for nearly 10 years (as he mentioned to Ariel Helwani last week) and he's done a lot in the company, but he really had a desire to main event WrestleMania. Obviously that's not going to happen since Batista won the Rumble and maybe Punk is even mad about that because he may have thought that his friend Daniel Bryan deserved it. We don't know the exact details as to why, but there are plenty of reasons that makes sense from an outside perspective.

This story reminds me of when Steve Austin walked away from WWE in 2002 when they wanted him to put over Brock Lesnar on Raw with absolutely no build up and he thought it was stupid. He was right to think that because it was stupid. Soon after they buried Austin for walking out even though he was the top guy. I get why they did it, but it was so surreal to see that on WWE TV considering who he was. Eventually they got back together, he worked WrestleMania 19 in 2003 as his last match and they rarely bring up the fact that he walked out.

While I can certainly see Punk's side of the story, it is pretty shitty that he would just walk away during WrestleMania season. He may not have been in the last match on the show, but his potential match with Triple H would have been one of the top five matches on the card, no question about it.

What really sucks is that he's a heavily advertised guy for WWE live events. For the past couple of months, one set of house shows had Cena & Orton as the top guys while the other set of house shows had Punk & Bryan as the top guys. Now Punk is off the live events he was advertised this weekend, next weekend and who knows how much longer.

Punk likely has a lot of money from his years in WWE. If you're a top guy in WWE you can make millions of dollars per year. I don't think it's really a money issue for him. It's a respect thing. He doesn't like playing the political game and dealing with all the bullshit that comes with it. I respect that about him, but at the same time there has to be a better way than just walking away.

Hopefully Punk can come back to WWE soon. I'm an optimist, so I hope that's where this leads. His contract is up in July and he could sit at home until it expires for all we know. Or perhaps he can hear the right thing from Vince McMahon or Triple H, which will lead to him coming back in the near future. From WWE's side of it, maybe they don't want to talk to him at this point because they're furious right now and I understand that thinking too.

It's a very sticky situation. We'll do our best to update it here on the site, but for now we have to think of WWE as a place where CM Punk isn't a part of. It's not like he's officially off the roster. It's just that he's not on the roster right now either.

As a CM Punk fan, this is really sad to read about and writing about it isn't easy. I was hoping the guy was going to get a big push post WrestleMania, perhaps get another WWE Title run and re-sign with WWE this summer for another couple of years. Now? Who knows?

I can say this as a fact. The last three days in WWE have been among the most bizarre in the history of the company from the booking decisions on Sunday to the crowd reactions at the Rumble to a top guy like CM Punk walking out because he wasn't happy with the creative team. It's hard to wrap my head around it all.

I've never met CM Punk. Seen him wrestle live dozens of times. Said "great job" from a distance. I don't know him. I just hope he's flying to some beach somewhere and trying to clear his head because work stress sucks no matter what job you have. Hopefully he figures this out and does what he feels is the best thing for him.

This is CM Punk's last tweet as of now. That was Monday at around 12pmET before Raw and before he ended up leaving.

Thank you, Punk. Hope you figure this out. We'll be watching.