Friday, November 28, 2014

CM Punk finally breaks silence on leaving WWE

Professional wrestler CM Punk, real name Phil Brooks, shocked the wrestling world when he abruptly left WWE in January of this year. He gave no notice and stayed out of the public eye for months. He kept silent on the subject until Thanksgiving Day, appearing on the popular "Art Of Wrestling" podcast, hosted by veteran journeyman wrestler Colt Cabana. Both Punk and Cabana are best friends, having begun their wrestling training together in the early 2000's.

I wrote about this subject in early February. Click here to read that. It looks at all of the popular rumors at the time about why Punk walked out on WWE. Long story short (or in this case, 2-hour podcast condensed into a couple sentences): all of the rumors played a small role, but the biggest reason was Punk's health and mental well being.

Punk was creatively frustrated with what WWE was doing with him, in addition to what they weren't doing with others, such as Daniel Bryan. He had an accumulation of injuries that would not heal: knee problems, elbow issues, broken ribs, and a concussion he suffered during his last WWE match.

Punk notes that he doesn't want the interview to come off as a bitter, "fuck WWE" piece, but admits that he has anger and bitterness toward the company. He tries to see both sides to the story, but gives his honest thoughts about his dissatisfaction with working for the largest wrestling company in the world.

Some highlights:

- Punk was offered the lead role in a WWE-produced movie, but when he brought up a scheduling issue with him being WWE Champion at the time they took the movie away from him and gave it to Randy Orton without letting him know.

- Punk asked Vince McMahon if he could switch to wearing UFC-style fighting shorts with sponsorship deals on them. Vince said no, then allowed Brock Lesnar to do just that when he returned to the company.

- He calls the WWE doctor, Chris Amann (who was a recent guest on Chris Jericho's podcast) lazy and incompetent. He refused to properly diagnose his medical issues, noting that he wrestled with a staph infection for nearly 3 months. 

- He called the wellness policy a joke, referring to wrestler Ryback as "Steroid Guy" and mentioned multiple times that Ryback injured him. He confronted Ryback about it, asking if he did it on purpose or was just "fucking dumb."

- When he left WWE, he was alone in a room with Vince McMahon and Triple H. He ripped into all of them, particularly Triple H for ruining his momentum in 2011 (aka the "summer of punk"). He said Vince McMahon hugged him with tears in his eyes and said they would always be family. He shook Triple H's hand as he walked out.

- Punk was initially suspended for two months. After a few more months, Triple H texted Punk asking if they could talk. Punk replied that his wedding was in two days and if they could talk after his honeymoon. Two days later, on his wedding day, Punk received papers stating he was fired from WWE. He does not believe it is a coincidence.

This is something that needs to be listened to. If you are a professional wrestling fan, this is the biggest, most shocking, hard hitting interview of the year. Even if you don't like wrestling, it is a fascinating look at how Corporate America ruined a man's passion for the one thing he loved. Personally, I liked working in the pizza industry, but I hated working for Pizza Hut. It ruined something that I thought was fun. WWE does the same thing to professional wrestling with CM Punk.

Additional reading:

CM Punk pipebomb promo

CM Punk GQ Magazine interview

CM Punk - Chris Brown feud

CM Punk DVD review

Jim Ross interviews CM Punk and Steve Austin

CM Punk pipebomb II, Rock confrontation

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