CM Punk’s words have divided fans of ‘sports entertainment’ and pissed off numerous former colleagues in the past week; Dom Kureen takes a look at the straight-edge 36 year-old’s departure from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and belated subsequent revelations.
CM Punk, aka Phil Brooks, walked out on World Wrestling Entertainment after the 2014 Royal Rumble event took place in Pittsburgh in late January, only breaking his silence last week as the subject of a podcast interview with good friend Colt Cobana.
Having walked out a full six months before his contract was due to expire, Punk cited the fact that he was officially an independent contractor with no obligation to stay put, later suing Vince McMahon’s company for not honouring royalty cheques.
Some points of note made by Punk during the near 2-hour podcast were;
– He had worked his final dates in poor health, dry heaving and with broken ribs.
– He suffered a concussion in his final match at the Royal Rumble, but continued working the match, referring to WWE’s concussion tests as “bullshit” after they tried to make him run the ropes to prove that he had in fact been concussed.
– The WWE chief doctor continually misdiagnosed an expanding growth on his lower back, feeding him so many antibiotics that he actually defecated into his trunks during a match.
– He was placed in a feud with ‘Steroid guy’ Ryback, who was so clumsy and useless in the ring that he caused Punk to suffer the afore mentioned broken ribs and messed up a spot where he was supposed to drop him onto a table, missing it and dumping him face first into the floor.
– He was sent his official termination papers on the morning of his wedding day, having received a peculiar text message from the company’s executive vice-president ‘Triple H’ a couple of days previously.
– He hired a vicious lawyer after the termination/wedding incident and won a case against WWE, refusing to disclose the details of the settlement, Punk revealed that he got ‘everything he wanted’.
All in all it was a fascinating listen for fans of CM Punk or wrestling in general. There didn’t appear to be any punches pulled, and the man who held the WWE heavyweight title for an astonishing (in the modern era) 434 days was both articulate and engaging.
Still, his comments left a sour taste in the palettes of a clutch of those who received dishonourable mentions during the piece.
Ryan ‘Ryback’ Reeves took to Twitter with a series of tirades, the muscle bound former Tough Enough contestant was consequently told to remove some of these by the powers that be in WWE.
Company owner Vince McMahon was himself the subject of a podcast only days after the initial dialogue had been divulged by his former employee, with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin posing the questions this time.
Going out live on the WWE Network, Vince was relatively candid and apologised to his besmirched former standard bearer, insisting, amongst other things, that the timing of his release was merely a coincidence.
Meanwhile, Punk himself gave a follow up interview on Cabana’s Art of Wrestling show, suggesting that it would be his final word on the subject. The second stanza was inevitably less insightful than the first, but did seem to suggest that he wouldn’t be stepping back into the ring any time soon, albeit his wife AJ Lee remains an active member of the WWE roster.
Above all, Punk made a good case for WWE talent forming a union, with their current scenario void of basic medical insurance and guaranteed contracts.
Unfortunately that change is unlikely to occur for the foreseeable future, with the English speaking wrestling circuit monopolised since McMahon acquired his two main rivals World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling back in 2001.
As for the man born Phillip Jack Brooks, writing as a fan I would love for him remain in the public eye in some manner. Such is his charisma and flair for storytelling that it would be somewhat lamentable not to witness those traits flourish on a widely visible stage of some description.
More likely the self-proclaimed ‘best in the world’ will disappear from public conciousness, with circa $20m in the bank and a thrifty lifestyle he has no need to work again, a self confessed loner, it would be more of a shock at this point if another sabbatical from the spotlight wasn’t forthcoming.
…And for a man whose views during a podcast temporarily broke the internet when all the servers went down on relevant websites due to overwhelming traffic, that’s no mean feat.