Former WWE superstar CM Punk has finally broken his silence.
In a surprise exclusive sit-down interview with his longtime friend Colt Cabana on his podcast, The Art of Wrestling, CM Punk talks in-depth about what led to his departure from the WWE and why he doesn’t have intentions on returning to the company any time soon.
Upon listening to the entire sit-down between CM Punk and Colt Cabana, I’ve gathered a few observations from the conversation:
CM Punk’s candor
There was nothing shy about CM Punk’s point of view about his final year and change on the WWE roster.
CM Punk never struck me as guy that lied to gain an advantage. He always struck me as a guy that was genuine even to a fault, even when it didn’t do him any good.
Whether his candor and openness does him any good here remains to be seen, but he didn’t shy away from very much. He didn’t guard any feelings about people for fear of backlash in any sort of way.
For the most part, he let it all hang out, which is worth the price of admission alone. I’m not sure if he revealed a ton of new information more than he confirmed or discredited a lot of what has already been reported by various media outlets.
Regardless, this was CM Punk almost cleansing himself of what people have been begging him for as far back as January. As you could imagine, CM Punk did most of the talking. Cabana chimed on a few occasions, but it’s mostly CM Punk going through a specific timeline of events.
He essentially starts around the time he re-signed with the WWE in 2011 and quickly worked his way to the point where he turned heel in 2012 in order to face The Rock in 2013. Facing The Rock was good to CM Punk, but turning heel was not, as he felt he had a lot of momentum and was making good money off of merchandise sales.
A lot of ground is covered in 2013, which is his final full year with the company to date, before going through a detailed description of his final day and the aftermath of his departure.
CM Punk was fired on his wedding day
The story was supposedly that the WWE simply let CM Punk’s contract expire, but according to CM Punk that wasn’t the case.
The problem was that CM Punk was owed a royalty check and he wanted another that he had found, but didn’t cash to be reissued.
After what he said was two months of chasing the WWE around for these checks, he received a FedEx in the mail. Inside that package were his termination papers. They arrived on the day of his wedding to WWE superstar AJ Lee.
CM Punk took legal action against the WWE to receive his royalty checks and while he didn’t disclose the specific details of the settlement, he did say that he got “everything he wanted and some.”
In the aftermath of the litigation, CM Punk said that there is no working agreement with the WWE and that there never would be ever again.
CM Punk was really, really banged up
It was kind of noticeable on television, but the extent that CM Punk was hurting for more than a year before he abruptly left was not known until this interview.
CM Punk recounted numerous times where he was suffering from various ailments, but decided to stay on the road and work due to a combination of pressure from the powers at be in the WWE and the pressure he put himself to carry the mantel as a top star, especially when he was the WWE Champion.
He said that he often asked himself, “What would Harley Race do?” referring to the numerous times the multi-time NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion worked around the world injured in the name of carrying the torch.
Among the ailments CM Punk said he was suffering from were broken ribs, a bad knee, a bad elbow, multiple concussions and even a staph infection/MRSA that wasn’t diagnosed until after he left the WWE.
According to CM Punk, because he unknowingly worked with a staph infection for at least three months, the doctor he went to told him that it could have killed him.
CM Punk wanted a number of things, but one of the biggest things he wanted was time away from the ring to heal his body. He rarely received that time, and the time he did receive was either brief or cut short.
He really wanted to be in the main event of WrestleMania
This was no real secret. CM Punk made it abundantly clear that the only real goal he wanted to attain was to be in the main of WrestleMania.
In his mind, a match against The Undertaker wasn’t enough. He wanted to be in the closing match of the show and wasn’t satisfied until he got it.
CM Punk talked about how he figuratively chose his hills to die on. He thought he deserved to be in the main of WrestleManias 28 and 29, but with both being headlined by John Cena and The Rock, it was going to be pretty hard to force his way into that spot.
He may have climbed that hill, but in my mind, that wasn’t his hill to figuratively die on.
He wanted to somehow work his way into a triple threat elimination match against Cena and The Rock, but the WWE slotted him against The Undertaker instead.
My guess is that he saw WrestleMania 30 as his spot to finally be in the main event, but with the original plan to be Randy Orton going against Batista in the main event, combined with the fact that Daniel Bryan wasn’t getting his rightful spot set CM Punk off.
What was confirmed here was that Bryan was not originally figured into the main event of WrestleMania, which still boggles my mind until this day. In fact, I believe CM Punk used the same phrase to describe the logic behind that decision as well. CM Punk was originally scheduled to go up against Triple H. Vince McMahon tried to sell him on the fact that going against Triple H was a main event, but CM Punk wasn’t buying it.
He was also against having Batista come back as babyface, as was Batista for that matter. CM Punk chalked it up to Vince McMahon being an old man that was out of touch with what the fans really wanted.
In CM Punk’s mind, putting fresh faces in the main of WrestleMania would help not only the person involved, but also the company, as the person involved would learn from that experience and get better. Getting better would help make that person a larger draw for the company overall.
CM Punk really, really didn’t like losing to part-timers
I don’t think CM Punk was really against losing to big names such as The Rock, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar in high-profile matches all within the same calendar year, what he really was fighting against was the fact that he was losing to guys that weren’t going to be on every show like he was.
CM Punk said multiple times that he had all of the respect for all three men, but losing to them without any recourse didn’t make any sense to him.
CM Punk never got along with Triple H
In my eyes, CM Punk had his issues and arguments with Vince McMahon, but always had a respect for him.
When it came to Triple H, that wasn’t the case. CM Punk said that he resented Triple H ever since their match at Night of Champions 2011, when Triple H came out of retirement to defeat CM Punk.
In CM Punk’s eyes, Triple H’s sole motive of working the match and winning was to halt the momentum of CM Punk, who was on absolute fire at that point. In CM Punk’s mind, Triple H simply wanted to douse the flames.
CM Punk recounted another time in 2012 when he was offered to do a WWE Studios film. Although he was reluctant in taking it, CM Punk agreed to do it, as it would give him acting experience in case he chose to pursue that career once he stopped wrestling.
CM Punk said that he spoke to Triple H about the role, but the shooting of the film coincided with an upcoming tour of Europe. CM Punk said that he knew that there would be a scheduling conflict because there’s always a European tour two weeks after WrestleMania and two weeks before Thanksgiving.
According to CM Punk, Triple H went to double-check the schedule, but in turn, gave the part to Randy Orton instead. CM Punk, finding out only through the Internet, was furious and thought that Triple H should have at least had given him a phone call.
CM Punk believes that the only reason why Triple H didn’t give him a phone call was because Triple H didn’t like him.
CM Punk is not a fan of Ryback
CM Punk did not like working with Ryback at all. He thought that Ryback wasn’t safe to work with and injured him multiple times.
CM Punk claims that Ryback injured at least once on purpose and other times just by plain mistakes, but he made it quite clear that he was not fun to work with.