Man, if he’s going to #BreakTheInternet, I wish he’d do it on a day of regularly scheduled content.
As you’ve probably heard by now, former WWE superstar and current pariah/recluse/Marvel writer CM Punk made an appearance on The Art of Wrestling two days ago. AOW, for those of you who’ve never listened, is a wrestling discussion podcast hosted by Punk’s BFF Colt Cabana. While it usually draws a pretty steady audience, the new episode with Punk went nuclear over Thanksgiving, routinely crashing the AOW host site and skyrocketing the podcast up the iTunes charts. Aside from the occasional tweet, Punk has been silent about his departure from WWE, so this two-hour chat session is blowing the doors off a lot of rumors. The whole episode can be found on YouTube due to the hosting issues – here’s where I found it, hopefully the link still works by the time I post this. If you don’t have two hours to kill, here are some of the major bullet points.
- Punk acknowledges he can be “difficult.” “Whenever they had me backed into a corner, I know I wasn’t the easiest guy to deal with, and I wasn’t the nicest guy to deal with…” But, he says he’s now the happiest he’s been in three years.
- He now dislikes the term “pipebomb.” “I despise that word now… It feels douchey.”
- He wanted to switch to MMA gear in 2011, complete with sponsors on his trunks. Vince McMahon turned it down, but he let Brock Lesnar continue being a walking Jimmy John’s billboard.
- Vince McMahon also rejected Punk’s idea to accompany Chael Sonnen to the octagon in Chicago just before the Royal Rumble. Apparently, he looks down on UFC as “barbaric”… at least until he can get a hold of Lesnar.
- Punk was originally supposed to be in the 12 Rounds sequel, but the part went to Randy Orton. This was due to a dispute about what dates he would miss while filming.
- He’s not really fazed by his Twitter critics. “This is nothing anybody would ever say to my face in public, because they just wouldn’t have the f*cking balls, because I would punch them in the throat.” I have zero difficulty picturing him doing this.
- He had his doubts about the WWE Network. Vince McMahon claimed they would “figure things out.” Still waiting on that, frankly.
- WWE’s concussion test is a bit iffy. Punk says he passed the test while listening to music on his headphones and texting Cabana.
- Punk didn’t want to turn heel in his program with The Rock. McMahon said he would “owe him one” if he turned. Interestingly enough, the alternate plan was for Punk to remain a babyface and drop the WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan.
- The Shield was CM Punk’s idea. The Big Show was actually supposed to be Punk’s backup at Survivor Series, but he suggested a trio of developmental talents instead. Also, Chris Hero (Kassius Ohno) was supposed to be a part of the group, but he was replaced by Roman Reigns.
- Ryback “took twenty years” off his life. Punk suffered broken ribs and other assorted injuries at the hands of “the steroid guy,” as he calls him.
- Punk does NOT enjoy making part-timers look good. The Rock, The Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar in particular.
- As of the 2014 Royal Rumble, he was supposed to wrestle (and beat) Triple H at WrestleMania XXX. Sick, injured, and feeling neglected, Punk said he wouldn’t “give him that privilege.” Punk did NOT quit the night after the Royal Rumble, but he did walk out.
- WWE doctors refused to treat a staph infection Punk had for months. The doctor who eventually treated him told him he could have died after going untreated for so long.
- Punk was fired on the day of his wedding to AJ Lee. He suggests that this was a deliberate move from Triple H.
- He considers that he failed his goal of main-eventing WrestleMania. He’s come to terms with it though, mainly on the merits of his match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29.
- There will be a follow-up episode of the podcast where Punk will take questions from fans. I am 100% certain this will end well.
That’s a lot of information to deal with, needless to say. The fallout is just beginning – WWE sent a statement to Yahoo Sports last night reaffirming their faith in their medical team, while Ryback took to Twitter to defend himself. If you’ll allow me to hot-take this, I’m definitely going to give Punk his due here. Up until this point, all any of us could do is speculate. We didn’t even have one side of the story, we had nothing but guesses. If he’s to be believed, Punk was treated like crap, all thanks to dangerously out-of-touch management. If I saw him in the street, I would probably owe CM Punk an apology for assuming things I knew nothing about. However, there’s still a big problem here.
The problem (to me, at least) is attitude. Punk has always been a “Me against the world” type of guy. There’s nothing essentially wrong with that, but you have to be careful. If you spend long enough convincing yourself that the whole world is out to get you, you’ll eventually piss off enough people to fulfill your own prophecy. Personally, I think CM Punk earned back a lot points that he’d lost with me, but he’s not exactly back to Austin’s All-Time Role Model status like he was in 2011. I think I’d rather look to the legacy being woven at NXT and independent wrestling venues all over the world. If we’re lucky, maybe Punk’s legacy will be teaching those young wrestlers how not to get screwed like he did. Maybe that’s what we can take away from all this.