“But there’s no working relationship and there never will be ever again.”
CM Punk tried to ruin Thanksgiving.
I kid, I kid. Last Thursday morning, in a 2 hour surprise appearance by CM Punk on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling, the Best in the World talked in depth about his departure from WWE and subsequently broke the internet. The interview has crashed Cabana’s site, the Stitcher and iTunes links have been troublesome for 4+ days, and social media afire with discussion of Punk’s revelations. Once Colt’s feed is back up, please download the interview from the source and support the content creator.
However, since the podcast has been hard to locate for some we’re going to go through some of the biggest claims, revelations, and quotes from Punk’s side of the story. That’s one thing to keep in mind when recapping this interview as well, this is one side of a two-sided story. Unfortunately, we probably will never hear the WWE’s side, especially since some of the allegations/statements made by Punk especially about WWE doctors is pretty damaging from a PR standpoint. Whichever “side” you fall on, the fact that Punk is now happy and healthy is the most important takeaway from this whole shebang.
A lots of the rumors about Punk’s problems with WWE are confirmed by Punk in the interview: he was unhappy, creatively frustrated, injured, and in disputes about money, but it’s evident the biggest thing that caused him to walk away was his physical well being.
Transcriptions via Cageside Seats.
1. The biggest thing that led to his departure was his health.
If there was one major indictment of the WWE in this interview, interpersonal & business relationships aside, it would be the medical problems brought up by Punk. There are several detailed accounts of Punk rushing/being urged to rush back from injuries, but the biggest health concerns occurred in the year leading up to his departure from the company.
The laundry list of problems included:
- In his Night of Champions ’12 match with John Cena, Punk twisted his knee requiring surgery. Punk had the surgery in December ’12 and then was booked for a TLC match with a “dangerous” competitor (more on this later) just 3 weeks into a 4 to 6 week recovery.
- Strained his ACL, tore an MCL, tore his meniscus, tore his PCL, and bruised his patella versus the Undertaker at WrestleMania 29.
- Broken ribs from a Ryback kick.
- Concussed in a match with Luke Harper before a European tour, goes on the European tour and dry heaves after every match because he had nothing in his stomach due to lack of appetite.
- Due to all the various antibiotics he was given by doctors he couldn’t sleep and experienced intestinal problems.
- Suffered a concussion in the 2014 Royal Rumble.
- Punk alleges WWE doctors misdiagnosed a lump on his back as a fatty deposit and refused to drain for 3 months, which Punk chalked up to the doctor being lazy. The lump turned out to be an MRSA staph infection, a very difficult to treat and highly dangerous staph infection.
The MRSA staph infection is the most shocking problem based on what his wife’s doctor told him while treating the lump after his departure from WWE:
“And he was like ‘you should be dead. You could have died.'”
2. Punk detailed his meeting with Vince McMahon and Triple H when he decided to walk away.
“And I just looked Vince in the eye and I said: ‘I do not love this anymore, I’m fucking sick, I’m fucking hurt, I’m fucking confused, I don’t know as a business what we’re doing anymore, every day you tell me this is a team effort but every day it’s a fucking individual effort by me to find what’s necessary to even fucking come here. It’s not fun. I have zero fucking passion for this. I’m fucking concussed, I’m fucking hurt, and all you care about is what segment I am and how soon I can fucking get my gear on and when I can pee in this fucking cup. And I don’t want to do it anymore.'”
“I did all these fucking things and all I wanted was the main event of WrestleMania and it’s fine if you don’t think that is me and that I’m that caliber of a fucking superstar but then you need to fucking fire me because I do not want to be here and I do not want to be anything less.”
“I said ‘it boggles my mind how Daniel Bryan has not figured into your plans to be in the main event of WrestleMania because this is his fucking year. Just like two years ago it was my fucking year and I was white fucking hot just like he is now and what did you do? You fed me to this guy’ and I pointed right at Hunter. And Vince was just like ‘this is the concussion talking. I can’t believe you’re saying any of this. It is a main event. You’re wrestling Triple H.’ And I turned to Hunter and I said ‘all due respect, I do not need to wrestle you, you need to wrestle me. I do not want to wrestle you. I seriously resent you for not putting me over three years ago when you should have. That would have been best for business, but you had to fucking come in and squash it.”
3. Punk has questions about WWE’s concussion protocol, but at the same time takes some of the blame for that situation.
“I got a concussion in the Royal Rumble, it’s pretty goddamn obvious. I knew I had a concussion. Everybody knew I had a concussion. They were like ‘we want you to take this test.’ And I was like ‘your test is bullshit.’ I took the test while texting you and listening to my headphones and I ‘passed’ with flying colors. Then they were like ‘we want you to go to the ring and run the ropes’. And I was like ‘but I just passed your test.’ They’re like ‘yeah, but we still think you have a concussion.’ I was like ‘so, your test is worthless. I’m not going out in the fucking ring like a two week rookie to run the ropes in front of everybody. Let’s just call it now. But I was doing this stubborn thing where I was like ‘I’m fine, I can work’ because that’s the way I’ve always been and that’s what they instill in you.”
4. Punk got his termination on his wedding day.
“No, it’s the 11th of June and he texts me if I have time to talk and I said ‘I’m a reasonable guy. I’ve always had time to talk, I’ve always been just a phone call away. But I’m getting married in two days and I’m going to my honeymoon. How about we talk the instant… the day I get home, I’ll fucking call you. In the meantime, reissue me that royalty check that I’ve been asking about for the past two months. Send me my royalties that I’ve been asking about for two months. That is reasonable, and then I will talk to you when I get back from my honeymoon.’ He did not respond to the text. The day of my wedding I got a FedEx in the mail. It was my termination papers. I was fired.”
5. He wanted to change up his look after Money In The Bank 2011 by adding sponsors on his gear before Brock Lesnar.
“I had legitimate companies approaching me wanting to just give me money to sponsor me. Because obviously UFC is all the rage and guys wear shorts and they have shit all over their shorts and they get paid a ridiculous amount of money to promote these companies. So I had a pretty big money deal on the table so I went to Vince and I was like yeah, okay, there’s going to be a new CM Punk and when I do things new there’s going to be a new hairstyle, a new look. New whatever. So I was like ‘you know what, fuck it, maybe I’ll switch to fight shorts because then I have sponsors and these guys are already in place. I told them my idea, said I wanted to do this sponsorship thing and I felt like I deserved it. I got all these new eyes on the product, you know, people were going fucking bananas about it. And he says ‘nope, you can’t do that. Sponsors for Raw would get mad, the other wrestlers would get mad, this, that.'”
6. Vince urged him to turn heel because the Rock wanted to work a bad guy before Cena.
“I didn’t want to turn heel. Vince came to me and was like ‘Rock’s coming back and he wants to work a bad guy. You’re the champ.’ It was either I turn heel or I drop the title to Daniel Bryan and I was like ‘well, I would like to work Rock, that sounds challenging.’ ‘Well, you’re going to have to turn heel.’ And I was like ‘uh, all right. Well, I would rather be a heel than a babyface anyway, even though I’m making these sweet checks that are going to get cut in half because of merchandise sales.”
7. The Shield was Punk’s idea.
While it sounds bombastic the genesis of the Shield stems from a writer suggesting guys to be in a stable with Punk. After turning down Big Show & Daniel Bryan (both of whom he speaks highly of), Punk had his own suggestion.
“Their idea was a stable with me, Big Show, Daniel Bryan, and the only name they ever mentioned was Seth Rollins but they kept saying ‘a guy from FCW.’ So I went to Pankowski and I was like ‘I don’t like the idea. I’m willing to do the heel stable thing but why don’t we pick three guys from FCW that are ready instead of using two guys, you know what I mean?”
“So I took the idea to Hunter, I took it to Vince, they agreed. Vince was immediately like ‘who do you have in mind?’ And I said ‘(Dean) Ambrose, Rollins, Chris Hero, or Kassius Ohno.’ Hunter shot down Hero. They wanted Roman Reigns. They came to me and they were like ‘what about Leakee?’ I didn’t… it wasn’t my hill to die on. I said ‘sure’ because it made sense to me. Oh, they want their guy in, he’s the pretty guy, but that’s good because this guy can learn from working under me. The idea was they were supposed to be my group. Things fucking change.”
It’s worth noting here that on Chris Jericho’s podcast Seth Rollins says the group was pitched to him as a foursome of Ambrose, Reigns, Big E and himself.
8. He’s not a fan of Ryback (to put it kindly).
“That took 20 years off my fucking life.”
“He’s very hurty. Sometimes deliberate. There was one time he kicked me in the stomach as hard as he could and he broke my ribs, right at the tail end. And I never got an apology for that. He was something else. A real piece of work, that guy.”
“First night out, gorilla press through a table, fucking misses the table, dumps me on the concrete fucking ground, tilts my fucking pelvis, fucks me up for weeks.”
“And then, like, now it’s at the point where I walk up to him and I tell him ‘you can’t tell me you didn’t do that on purpose because you’ve done it so many times now. You either tell me right now you’re dumb as fuck and you suck or you did it on purpose.’ And he was like ‘I’m dumb as fuck. I’m sorry.’ And like, there’s nothing, at that point there’s nothing I could do.”
There will be a follow-up podcast next week with Punk answering email questions. Let’s hope their actual intelligent questions and not an hour full of “why were you mean to me” and AJ question emails.
WWE issued a statement to Yahoo Sports on Thursday evening, not directly addressing specifics of Punk’s side of the story but the validity of the Wellness Policy.
“WWE takes the health and wellness of its talent very seriously and has a comprehensive Talent Wellness Program that is led by one of the most well-respected physicians in the country, Dr. Joseph Maroon.”
Ryback also responded to Punk’s comments in his own “Tweet. Delete. Repeat.” way with several deleted tweets:
“For the record if I quit for being fragile and insecure I would make up excuses too. Things didn’t go my way for a long time and I kept going day in and out.
Slander is a powerful thing and to state complete made up nonsense for no reason shows his insecurities. I will continue to bust my ass study matches every chance I get, cut promos when driving and push myself for hours on end even when hurt. Thank you”