Daniel Bryan and CM Punk’s careers have a whole lot of parallels. They have even both called themselves “The Best in the World” at one point. But their career trajectories have varied wildly ever since Punk left WWE and went into MMA. Bryan has main evented WrestleMania and retired, while Punk has trained for two years to suffer a UFC defeat so humiliating that it was referenced in a WWE pay-per-view match.
The Philly Voice recently sat down with Daniel Bryan for a lengthy interview about becoming the Smackdown Live General Manager, his thoughts on NXT and a ton more, but perhaps the most interesting bit was Bryan’s thoughts on CM Punk, MMA fighter:
“I did watch the fight. Punk and I have never been best friends or anything like that. I don’t even think I have his number in my phone, but I really support him in that fight. I was really hoping he would win. The reality is that even though he lost, he was dead on in his promo afterwards. It’s the whole thing with me and him, and guys like Sami Zayn and Neville even trying to wrestle. Right? It’s just this idea of you have this dream that everybody tells you that you can’t do, but you just keep going after it. Sometimes, you’re not successful, right? He wasn’t “successful” in the fight. But he fought a professional fight in UFC. That’s crazy! You know? It’s crazy and it’s awesome and he may have lost and he may have gotten beat up, but hey, he tried it. How many people would be afraid because of their ego to not even put themselves out there like that? I like to train jiu jitsu and I like to muay thai and the number of people who train all the time but won’t put themselves out there to even do like a tournament and nobody knows who they are. The ego part of you that says, ‘Well, if I go and I do it and I lose, what does that mean?’ Well, [Punk] went out and did it, right? He’s a huge public figure. I have the utmost respect for him trying to go do it.
“It’s hard, too. At that age, and I know at my age and how many injuries I have, just getting up out of bed every morning, you know, for the most part, I feel really good. But then to get up and go train with killers – that camp is a great camp. And so you go in there and train with great guys and getting beat up every day. It’s tough. That’s the job. The job is getting beat up every day. And right towards the fight, then you have to lose a bunch of weight. So, it’s like, ‘OK I get beat up every day, now go lose 15 pounds. Oh, just like that? Oh, OK.’”
He doesn’t even have Punk’s number in his phone! Now all I can think about is who Punk is willing to give his number to. He probably gives a burner number or writes “1-800-COLLECT” on patient documents when he goes to the doctor. I’m guessing the list of people who actually have Punk’s number is: AJ Lee, Lars Frederiksen, everyone in the Bouncing Souls, and maybe Ace Steel.