CM Punk appeared on the The Hot Click podcast and did not hold back his opinions on The Rock, Vince McMahon, The Miz, his near exit from the WWE and a slew of other topics. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
On not sleeping: “We just did a European tour. I would honestly say on the European tour if you want to average it all out, I slept two hours a night… Eventually it gets to you. I know when I start seeing things that I really need to try… It’s not like I’m forcing myself to stay awake. It’s a thing. I got in late last night. I met up with my buddies, H20, the band and we went out. I got back to my hotel maybe at two in the morning and I had to meet in the lobby at 6 AM so I got a 5:30 wakeup call and next thing I know it’s 3:30. I’m reading comic books in my hotel room.”
How hard it is being straight edge: “It’s not hard at all. A lot of people ask me that. I almost think it’s a really weird question. How hard is it for you to wear glasses? How hard is it for you to have back hair? I was born this way so, no, it’s not hard at all.
“I just turned 33 so I’m assuming I’m what you call an SEOG: Straight Edge Old Guy. There are not a lot of us. I know everybody that was straight edge when I first claimed straight edge, when I was like 15-20, everybody fell off; everybody sold out. There’s like me and my friend Natalie back in Chicago. It’s like you find somebody else who’s straight edge and you stick together.”
On almost leaving WWE: “The last 12 months… I was leaving, I was out the door. I wasn’t quitting. My contract was up and I was like, “You know what, my contract’s up. I fulfilled my obligations to you. You have fulfilled your obligations to me and you let me slip through your fingers.” That was my attitude and I was leaving. One of the conditions of me resigning, I was like, look, if I resign I’m all in. I’m back to old form CM Punk. I’m not sleepwalking through this. I’m not just going to be a robot. I’m going to get excited about things again. I’m going to
watch all the matches and I’m going to praise people, yell at people, give people my opinions, and help out guys. That’s what I’ve been doing.
If he ended up staying for the money: “No, it’s not about money. It’s funny; on Twitter I get a lot of hilarious tweets. I’ll be crabby and complain about somebody. I’ll have my headphones on in the airport and I’m eating. I don’t know if anyone knows what it’s like to have someone legitimately walk up to you and wave their hand like an inch away from your face because I have headphones on and I can’t hear them. I don’t know if anyone knows what that’s like but that happens to me multiple times a day then I complain about it, and then on Twitter I get, ‘Oh, shut up crybaby. That’s why you’re rich.’ I was rich before I had any money. Being rich has nothing to do with anything monetary. No, it wasn’t about money. I’m not a money guy.
“I know people who are wealthy and they’re miserable. I was miserable. I was coming to work every day and I was like, ‘This is ridiculous. I’m seeing all this stuff. Miz is the main event of WrestleMania. What is wrong with this world? Okay, I gave it all.'”
If The Miz has a problem with his comments: “No, Miz knows exactly how I feel. I’ve told him about it… I think Miz doesn’t know how to deal with that. It’s just my brutal honesty. I think you got to just let it roll of your back or you get confrontational about it.
“I was strictly basing it on the fact that I was the best bad guy. In my world, the best bad guy wrestles the best good guy. I was specifically told, ‘Hey, leading up to WrestleMania we don’t really know what you’re going to do yet but you’re going to be John Cena’s little TV feud.’ I was like, ‘I’m nobody’s TV feud. That’s bullsh-t.’ They just continued to piss me off.”
What made him re-sign with WWE: “The chance to change this place. One of my best friends in the world is Lars Frederiksen. He plays guitar for a band called Rancid. He told me a story about when the Ramones went into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Marky didn’t want to do it; half of the Ramones were dead. The Ramones, as a band, were always musically shunned and he didn’t want to do it. He didn’t want to show up, accept the award. Lars told him, “Look, you have to. It’s your responsibility. You paved the way for guys like me. You have to go accept this award because you think not accepting it is this big middle finger to the establishment but actually accepting the award and being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – that’s the middle finger.
“Lars and Joey Mercury, two people who are wise beyond their years, told me, ‘You can’t change the place from your couch.’ I said that on television. That was all real. That’s the truth. I couldn’t change this place from my couch so I resigned and I’m trying to change it.”
If he’s happy about re-signing: “I’m very happy. I’ve never been busier in my entire life. I had conversation with Vince McMahon. I was like, ‘Look, I’m not holding you up for money. I’m not holding out for this contract but if you’re going to sign me you’re going to sign me to the best money deal possible and if it’s your prerogative to not use me but pay me that ridiculous amount of money. I don’t see you being that stupid.'”
His relationship with Vince McMahon: “Honestly, I don’t think if Vince ever got me. I don’t think he does. I don’t know what’s not to get but some people just don’t see things. I don’t know if this is a good example but I don’t know if Vince gets The Rock. Vince gets Cold Stone Steve Austin. He gets that guy. I don’t know if he gets The Rock but he recognizes that he’s a hell of a talent. I might throw myself in that category. I don’t know if Vince 100% gets me but he finally has recognized, ‘Alright, this kid is the real deal.’
“I’ve been the same guy since I stepped foot in the WWE. I’ve always acted like a top guy, not in the regards of, ‘I need a limo and first class travel.’ I have never let anybody tell me that I can’t or I suck or anything like that. I’ve always had an air of confidence about me, which always rubs people the wrong way. It’s like the whole ‘best in the world’ thing. If I didn’t honestly believe that, and it’s obviously borderline narcissistic and egotistical but it’s like, well, if you don’t think you’re the best in the world at what you do then you should at least aspire to be the best. Why do you do what you do?”
If Vince likes to knock people down: “I don’t try to run the show. It’s his company; it’s his baby. I think the WWE has knocked me down a peg or two. That’s the most frustrating thing about what we do. I don’t know if this is the Brock Lesnar legacy. It’s just like holy crap, strap a rocket to this guy and give him everything. Then all of a sudden a year later Brock’s like, ‘Oh, I want to go home.’ I don’t know if there’s a fear that that’s going to constantly happen, which is legitimate. I can see that. You put yourself in Vince’s shoes and it’s like, okay, I get that.
I take this responsibility very seriously. When you are the champion and you are on top, you’re pulling the train. It’s the tradition in pro wrestling where everybody thanks everybody. ‘Thank you for the tour.’ The guys on top are the ones that are drawing the houses. You’re the reason why everyone on the undercard is getting paid. I get being spooked about that. We’ve done it way too often with guys like Wade Barrett, Sheamus, with me. I remember the first time they made me champion. Raw ratings went up. I got numbers, house show attendance went up. Then it’s like you just constantly cut these guys legs out from under them. After awhile it’s just like everyone’s middle of the road.
Clashes with Vince McMahon: “There was the Tony Atlas story. Tony wrote about it in his book but I didn’t read it so I don’t know exactly how accurate it was. I was ECW Champion at the time. I was still living in Louisville, Kentucky. I would go to OVW still and I would maybe work a Dark Match for them and watch the show, talk to guys. Long story short, there was some backstage OVW politics that unbeknownst to me was going on. I went up to Tony to introduce myself because he was down there to talk to the guys about saving your money and drugs and what not.
“I said, ‘Hi, Mr. Atlas. My name’s CM Punk. How are you doing?’ He grabbed my arm and he’s like, ‘What is this?’ I didn’t get where he was going. I was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. Oh the X’s. I’m straight edge and I explained it to him.’ He’s like, ‘No, no, no, your arms. They’re taped up.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I tape up my arms so I can ‘x’ up. It’s a straight edge thing.’ He looks at me and he says, ‘It looks like you have two broken arms.’ I was just like, ‘Great, okay.’ I didn’t know where he was going and I was confused. ‘Okay, sir, alright.’ He said, ‘I don’t think you get it. If you don’t listen to your coaches, you’re never going to make it to television.’ Then I was like, ‘Alright I appreciate whatever this is. Thank you, sir.’
“Then I worked the dark match and we had this great dark match. It was like this eight man tag and there was a whole bunch of talented guys in it. Then in the post show meeting, Tony Atlas goes on and on about how everyone’s great, everyone has a great attitude, the show is great, the only match he didn’t like was that last one. That last match sucked. There was a guy in it with a bad attitude. He basically just started singling me out. I had already lost my mind at this point. I stood up like legit De Niro, ‘Are you talking to me?’ He was like, ‘Yes, you have a bad attitude and I’m going to put it in the report and I hope you get fired.’ He said a lot of ridiculous things.
“I stood up and started walking down and was like, ‘Are we fighting?’ It turned into this big legendary thing where he just started giving me a bunch of s–t and I gave it right back to him. I was like, ‘Look, I’m on television and I’m one of Vince’s champions.’ It turned into this thing and two weeks later we were in England and Vince is like, “I need to talk to you for a minute.
“He’s like, ‘The Tony Atlas thing – what happened?’ I explained to him the story and he’s like, ‘These old timers don’t watch the show. You got to be respectful.’ He said, ‘Sometimes, you just got to eat a little s–t. I eat s–t all day. I eat red s–t, green s–t, blue s–t, all kinds of s–t. I’m eating s–t all day.’ I laughed and I looked at Vince and said, ‘I had eaten enough of his s–t and I was full and he looked a little hungry so I thought maybe he wanted to eat a little s–t of his own.’ He smiled and said, ‘I like that. That’s good.'”
The Rock returning to WWE: “I think it’s great. Bottom line is it’s a business. If Rock is going to put asses in seats then yay for us. There are a lot of misconceptions about how I feel about it. Obviously people love asking me because they know they’re going to get the 100% truth. He comes back and he says that he’s never going to leave again and then he doesn’t come back for months. Yes, he’s doing Survivor Series and, yes, it sold out in a half hour. Let’s be honest. It’s the Garden and it’s the 25th anniversary of Survivor Series. The show was going to sell out but I get the bragging. ‘Oh, it sold out in a half hour.’
“I sold out the Garden – me and JBL in a cage match so I have that distinction. I can say that I sold out Madison Square Garden, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. The problem I have with Dwayne is that he came back, he said he’s never leaving again and I don’t appreciate all this, ‘Oh, the WrestleMania buy rate was up. Oh, it’s because of Dwayne.’ Was it? Or was it because of me and Randy Orton or was it because of Miz and John Cena? That’s unfortunately something that you can’t really ever figure out. A lot of people like to live and die by the ratings.
“It’s a big news story that he came back, absolutely. I think he even tweeted me one time saying something like, ‘The Rock in the main event makes more money than CM Punk could in a lifetime,’ which is obviously a fallacy. That ultimately is where I have the problem with Dwayne. He lives in a fantasy world. No matter if I like or hate whoever I’m working with, I say, ‘hello,’ to them. I fraternize with them. It’s a brotherhood backstage. I’m with these people more than I’m with my little sisters and my family. I just don’t appreciate going from limo to dressing room, from dressing room to the ring and not saying ‘hi’ to any of the boys.
“That’s what he does. I was just at a Guns N’ Roses show backstage in Chicago and that’s exactly what Axl Rose does and Axl’s a lot cooler than Dwayne. Part of me gets it but for anybody who wants to say I have a bad attitude or a chip on my shoulder about it – absolutely. I think anybody should. There are guys in that locker room that bust their ass and there are guys that should be in the main event at WrestleMania. Eventually it will happen for everybody as long as you’re passionate about it. I’m passionate about. Yeah, it pisses me off.”