Ever since he mysteriously disappeared from WWE TV in January of this year, wrestling fans all across the world have been waiting to hear exactly why CM Punk stopped wrestling for the WWE. His departure just after the Royal Rumble left many feeling it was simply a work surrounding WrestleMania season, but as the weeks and months have gone on, it's become more and more evident that this is very much a real situation.
Well, Punk fans who've been waiting for his side of the story need wait no longer, as Punk has finally opened up on his good friend Colt Cabana's podcast, "The Art of Wrestling", which is available to download now. Those who were expecting it to be a mellow, timid interview are in for a huge surprise - Punk opened up on a whole host of subjects from relationships with other talents, right through to just how bad things got with the WWE.
It's an interview that makes for an incredible listen, and something that clearly goes way beyond the realms of what we come to expect from professional wrestling. This is a very real insight from one of the hottest wrestlers (or former wrestlers) in the world as to what happens behind the curtain. What happens next is anyone's guess, but given how revealing and open the interview actually is, it's safe to say this could rumble on for a while yet.
There were plenty of things to digest throughout the podcast, which lasts almost two hours. However, above all else, there were a few statements and a few stories that really did set the brain motoring. Here are the top 10 most explosive revelations that CM Punk told the world during that podcast that is certain to be talked about for months and months into the future.
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10 Only A Handful Of Guys Stand Up To Vince McMahon
Punk pulls no punches when he discusses WWE's backstage politics, most notably discussing how few people seemingly stand up to the boss, Vince McMahon. Naturally, Punk includes himself in the group of guys who did stand up to Vince, but says that only John Cena and "maybe (Randy) Orton" were the other two that did, and not because of the same reasons as Punk. He went on to explain that while Vince did listen to him during his great run throughout 2011, towards the end of his time with WWE, he was simply getting ignored.
9 He Was Going To Defeat Triple H At WrestleMania
By the time CM Punk had come to the end of the road with WWE, relations were clearly far too strained for them ever to be repaired. A whole host of issues had compounded Punk's misery, and he was ready to walk - which of course, he eventually did. However, he mentions during the podcast that in a bid to prevent Punk from going, Vince McMahon assured him he was headed for a huge WrestleMania bout with Triple H.
Punk's response though, was anything but welcoming. He told Hunter he didn't want to wrestle him, before revealing that he was actually being planned to win the match against Triple H, on the biggest show of the year. Punk however, said he didn't care: “I didn’t want to give him the privilege.” As there was clearly no way back, all parties shook hands and went their separate ways, just like that.
8 He Believes He Failed As A Wrestler
Despite being one of the most beloved WWE superstars of the past 20 years, CM Punk is quick to admit one thing on Colt Cabana's podcast - he thinks he failed at wrestling. Why? Because he never actually got to headline WrestleMania, something he pushed on the WWE on a couple of occasions. As it is the ultimate goal for almost every single guy who enters the wrestling business, it's not hard to sympathize with him on that score. However, considering how he went a remarkable 434 days with the WWE Championship, the longest reign in 25 years and also created some of the most memorable moments this side of the WWE's Attitude Era, there are probably a lot of fans who'd disagree with Punk's claims that he failed.
7 Double Standards With Other WWE Stars
Punk describes the double standards that were apparently at work during his time with the WWE extensively throughout the interview, picking up on a couple of prime examples. The first comes when he mentioned to Vince McMahon that he had been asked to accompany UFC fighter Chael Sonnen to The Octagon for his fight in Chicago, Punk's hometown. Vince however, was having none of it, and told Punk he couldn't do it because UFC was too "barbaric", and someone could die in a UFC cage (to which Punk responded by mentioning the death of former WWE star Owen Hart). A few weeks later though, Triple H walked Floyd Mayweather to the ring for one of his fights.
Punk also recalls how major companies had approached him in the past over potential sponsorship deals. Naturally, Punk approached the boss with the news that he had a "big money" deal on the table and said to Vince it would be a great draw for the company. Vince though, immediately dismissed the idea, due to the fact it would upset the rest of the roster and the WWE's existing sponsors. Fast forward a year though, and Brock Lesnar was wrestling in a WWE ring with shorts laden with sponsors.
6 He Was Fired On His Wedding Day
Believe it or not, according to Punk, this is 100% true - CM Punk was formally dismissed by the company on the day of his wedding with AJ Lee. It didn't start out that way though; initially, Vince had made contact with Punk not long after he left the company, asking if he was ready to return. Punk's response was, as we all know, that he wasn't. Eventually, Punk learned that he'd been suspended for two months by the company.
By the time June rolled around, Triple H attempted to break the ice and text Punk, asking if he could have a chat. Given how Punk was getting married the next day, he simply wasn't able to do it. You get the feeling the WWE knew that, too. On the day of his wedding to current WWE Diva AJ Lee, Punk was sent his termination papers from the company for breach of contract. His reaction to that was inevitably volatile, saying that they went" too f---n far".
5 He Got A Major Payoff From The WWE When They Settled
Shortly after what we now know to be his dismissal from the company, CM Punk admits he hired what he described as a "vicious" lawyer to go after the WWE in a major legal battle. Punk believed he had grounds to get a major claim from them, and as it turned out, he wasn't far from being correct. He doesn't really open up too much on what happened after that, but he does reveal that the company eventually ended up settling with him.
What's interesting though, is Punk's claim that he got "everything he wanted and more" from the WWE when they settled. He got a major payout from WWE 2K15 too, given how he is one of the major stars of the recently-released video game. Interestingly, Punk also mentions that the WWE wanted to do a joint statement to announce a settlement had been reached. Punk's response was pretty swift; he told them to "f--- off".
4 His Dislike For Ryback
In the months prior to him leaving the WWE, CM Punk was working a program with Ryback, which included a heck of a lot matches. Punk revealed his thoughts on Ryback's wrestling ability after a revelation of sorts on the podcast with Colt. He says some of those matches were what caused him injuries to his knees and ribs, and that wrestling Ryback "took 20 years off my life". But it gets even juicier, when Punk says: “I’m already beat up and I have to wrestle steroid guy. I call it like I see it. He’s very hurty… sometimes deliberate.” With comments like that, you get the feeling the WWE may be firing something back in the near future.
3 How Ill He Was During Last Year's European Tour
Out of all the reasons Punk gave for leaving the WWE in January, the most prominent and perhaps understandable reason he gave was due to his health. Punk explains that during his final months with the company, his body was in such a bad state that he was working with broken ribs and injured knees. However, it is his account of the WWE's European Tour last November that is perhaps most shocking.
During that discussion, Punk details how he was so ill on that tour, that he was throwing up and dry heaving after each and every match he worked throughout the entire tour. He says it's the most ill he's ever felt in his entire life. It got worse and worse, so the WWE's doctors gave him antibiotics to try and fix up him while they were away from the U.S. Amazingly though, the effects of all those drugs caused him to literally soil himself in the ring during a match he worked on SmackDown.
2 Punk Came Close To Death After Misdiagnosis
When everything came to a head and Punk left the WWE, he was so beaten up that he decided to go and get himself checked out via a neutral doctor, having only previously seen the WWE's medical staff. One of the things that was bothering him more than anything, though, was a peculiar swelling on his back, something that had clearly worried him for quite some time.
WWE doctor Chris Amann dismissed the swelling, misdiagnosing it. However, when Punk left the company, the first doctor he saw told him it was actually a MERSA staph infection, and immediately treated it. When the doctor found out that Punk had been wrestling with the infection for months, the doctor replied that technically Punk "should be dead." When Punk had approached Amann to cut it out after it turned purple and painful before the Royal Rumble, he was told he had to wrestle.
1 He's Never Coming Back To Wrestling
There is undoubtedly a fraction of people out there who still believe this is all a work. Anyone who is in any doubt should tune into Colt Cabana's podcast - because Punk emphatically closes the door on WWE. As if the things he said in the interview weren't destructive enough for his relationship with the WWE, Punk insisted that as far as he and the company goes, he's done.
In fact, Punk mentions the fact that the WWE was seemingly worried about how he'd compete elsewhere. He details during the discussion about his termination that the WWE installed a No Compete Clause in his contract, which meant he couldn't compete with the likes of UFC. However, despite the WWE's fears that he may eventually go to TNA, Punk insisted he's done with wrestling, and says he despises the business.
Hopefully this will provide the closure fans have been seeking for months.
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