He’s the Best in the World, the Second City Saint, and record breaking WWE Champion. He’s CM Punk. This Sunday, Punk steps into the ring for what many may consider the real main event of WrestleMania 29 against the Undertaker. It’s plain to see that Punk is comfortable with himself and his spot in WWE, and thus, opens up and is very candid on a number of topics like his interest in MMA, the new title belt, the Streak, WWE’s direction, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
In the modern era of wrestling, the internet (largely male) fan base often rebels against heroes like John Cena and root for the anti-hero, like Punk. Dukes and Punk opened their interview discussing this phenomenon of being the popular Heel champion.
I don’t think it’s as predominant as you might think. It’s like John Cena, huge hero, good guy and he gets booed half the time. We both have the same thought process: I don’t care what people do. They’ve paid their money to enjoy the show. They should yell, scream, cheer, or boo whoever they want as long as they’re really really loud.
Ever since Money In the Bank 2011, I’ve always said that John Cena and CM Punk is the Austin/Rock; Rock/HHH; whatever you want to call it of our time. Punk and Cena have to be considered the two current locker room leaders in WWE. They are natural opponents/rivals within wrestling storylines and how they are positioned by fans. The two are like different sides of the same coin.
Next the topic turned to onen of Punk’s outside the ring passions: MMA. It’s been well documented that CM Punk trains jiu jitsu with Rener Gracie, but would Punk ever step into the octagon?
I don’t think Vince would let me do that.
Am I interested? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. Doing what I do now, I would not be able to train how I would need to, but we’ll see what happens.
During his lengthy 434 day title reign, news and rumors were consistently flowing that a new championship design was forthcoming. One of Punk’s unreached goals was to debut such a title:
That was actually one of the goals. I never would have spoken about it on TV if there wasn’t a new title belt ready to go. So, I did that and I just got the run-around forever about it. It was talked about, it just never happened.
Punk may not have been “rewarded” in the conventional sense that he was the one to debut the new strap, but he has to feel the appreciation for his record breaking reign from fans and WWE management by being rewarded with what some consider the real main event of WrestleMania, against the legendary Undertaker. However, is there any animosity that he couldn’t be defending his title streak against THE streak?
No, because I’ve got the Undertaker and I think the streak, ultimately, is bigger than the title. Twenty years undefeated at Wrestlemania and the way this thing’s been built up, no I’m not salty about not even having the title anymore. I think I built that thing (the WWE title) up and I worked very hard to do that, to get it ready for the next guy. So no, not salty at all.
During yesterday’s WrestleMania Press Conference, Punk caused quite the stir by seemingly being the voice of the voiceless for Antonio Cesaro, by wearing his shirt during the worldwide event. While he does support Cesaro, Punk’s explanation however, is a bit simpler.
It was a clean shirt that grabbed and I wore that day. It’s not some sort of silent protest because he’s not on Mania, although I will go on record right now that it’s absolutely ridiculous that he doesn’t have a match at Wrestlemania. I will pimp that guy until the cows come home. He’s awesome. He’s everything that the WWE should want in their superstars. He’s tremendous. He can wrestle, he’s a brick house, he’s looks the part, he acts the part, he walks and talks that part. He can speak seven different languages! You’re missing the boat on this guy.
CM Punk is of course always outspoken, and if you’ve seen his DVD you know his struggles to make it to the top. What’s refreshing is that as a guy in the top spot, he never stops advocating for talented superstars to get their shots.
This is not my company; if it was it would be run very differently and I’m not saying that the way Vince does things is 100% right or 100% wrong all the time and I’m not saying that I know the answer to everything. Vince does what he thinks is best for business and he’s right a lot of the time and there’s just sometimes I think he’s missing the boat on stuff, Cesaro being one of them. Barrett’s another good one. I think we start and stop guys too much. They did it with me forever; they did it with Sheamus forever. You’re the flavor of the month. You’re doing this, you’re doing that, and then you just kind of get shuffled to the back. I don’t think anybody can truly organically grow and become these superstars that they say they’re looking for when you start and stop guys all the time. But it’s just a difference of opinion on how the business is.
To close out the interview, Punk and Dukes discussed the famous WWE ’13 panel that trended all over the internet and the possibility of a Punk-Austin dream match.
It’s never been really acknowledged within the WWE. This isn’t me trying to promote something that isn’t there, but there was just this hilarious tension in the room when me and Steve were in there. It’s funny to actually be in a room live, everybody else is uncomfortable except me and Steve. There’s this weird magnetism. It’s this unspoken thing. The only way I can describe it, and Paul Heyman completely 100% agrees, it’s the Old West and there’s the two gunfighters – and they’re buddies – but everybody always goes “I wonder what would happen…what if?” And that’s all it is. It’s fun.
A huge thank you to CM Punk for joining CDW at WWE Fan Axxess at WrestleMania 29!
Order Wrestlemania LIVE on PPV this Sunday from Met Life Stadium in New Jersey. If you’re in the DC/MD/VA area be sure to join us at the CDW Wrestlemania 29 Viewing Party!
Thank you to our Das Wunderkind, Alex Wright for contributing to this article!