In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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In today’s new episode of “Art of Wrestling,” Colt Cabana discussed how he feels about the jury verdict in his favor in the lawsuit WWE’s Dr. Amann filed against him and C.M. Punk stemming from criticism Punk expressed on Colt’s podcast late in 2014. (PODCAST LINK)
He said: “Spoiler alert. I f—ing won!… I am a non-defamer.”
He noted that the attorney for Dr. Amann took a jab at him at the end of the trial. “Something along the lines of, ‘What, are you going to go to Colt March and buy a t-shirt?’ I don’t know why he did it, but he did it. I take pride in it. That’s just me trying to make a living. We can’t all be high-paid doctors being paid by a giant corporations. Some of us have to go shitty little town to little shitty town and love our jobs. So shout out to you, lawyer, for making fun of ColtMerch.com, but that’s how we make a living these days.”
During the trial, he recorded thoughts each day.
DAY ONE – MAY 24: He said on Day One, he wasn’t sure if he was going to use this. He said he was told not to write or talk about the proceedings during the trial, so he’d document his days but not consider releasing them until after the trial. He talked about the respect he has for the judge and the jobs juries do. He said watching jury selection, he found out it’s easy to get out of jury duty. He said some prospects jurors talked positively about wrestlers and positively about doctors, and they were knocked out of the running. He said of several dozen randomly selected people in Chicago, only two people said they listen to podcasts, and both said Joe Rogan’s. He said he realized in the grand scheme of people, “no one listens to podcasts.” He said he hopes the jury sees this as a big corporation coming at a little guy like him. He talked about paying the attorney by the hour, “So all I’m thinking about is adding up these hours and hours and hours. It’s all I think about.” He said he thinks about his innocence so much, he just thinks about the outcome. He said the worst case scenario is I’m told I have to pay him. “In my head, there’s no way the amount I have to pay him is more than I have to pay this lawyer. So I’m not worried about if I have to pay in the end because I can’t see it being that much because what’s happened to him? He’s still a WWE doctor and he can still do whatever he wants to do. That’s how I see it.” He said the frustrating thing is feeling like he’s innocent, but the hourly attorney bill is getting bigger. “This is just day one of it. Right now, I’m not a wreck or a mess. I don’t feel like I’m going to be. I just want it to be over so bad. We’re so far away, but we’re so close to it being over.” He joked that he had to buy a suit and he has to wear it for eight straight days. He joked that he’ll be wondering if others wear the same suit every day.
There was a long break for Memorial Day weekend, so they took off May 25, 26, 27, 28.
DAY TWO – TUESDAY, MAY 29: He said his lawyer brought up to the judge that there are two cases against this – defamation and negligence for publishing. “They’re saying I defamed this guy in the podcast,” he said. “My lawyer is, like, get out of here. He didn’t say anything. And I didn’t.” He said he brought it up Thursday and the judge said he’d decide before the case on Tuesday right before they bring everyone in. He said his heart was pounding as the judge was about to announce her decision. “It is f—-ing racing,” he said. “I tried to stop it, but I couldn’t. These are my true emotions.” The example they were using is Keith Van Horn vs. Mancow, “which I got a chuckle out of.” The judge said Colt wasn’t defamatory and it was thrown out. He said it was a big relief for him, because now it’s just down to whether he had reason to believe Punk was lying. He said he’s pretty confident and lawyers did opening arguments. He said the lawyers did the opening arguments. He said the plaintiff’s lawyer did about 50 minutes, Punk’s lawyer did about 35 minutes, and his did about 7. He said his attorney has his says and basically said: “You’re going to see he’s not lying and we’re going to get him out of here.” He said they sat through the whole podcast. He said there was a jury of 12 people and a judge and bailiff and stenographer just listening. “Boy did Punk swear in this thing,” he said. “It was very bizarre. Very surreal. My lawyer said it was the most boring thing he’s ever listened to in his life. He said, ‘If you don’t like wrestling, this thing sucks.'” He said they listened to the sponsors, which included the WWE video game, “which is still kind of funny.” He said the plaintiff was sad this all happened on Thanksgiving. “That was kind of their main point,” he said. He said the game between the lawyers was competitive, and it was fascinating to him.
DAY THREE – WEDNESDAY, MAY 30: He said after this trial day, “I’m kind of a wreck.” He said Nick Hausman did some improv with him in Chicago years ago and then “had a bit of falling out,” and he showed up as a reporter for WrestleZone. “It’s such a weird world,” he said. “He’s taking notes on the court. Secretly, that’s what I wanted. I’m not embarrassed about what’s happening. I’m not ashamed of what I did. I believe I did nothing wrong. I think it’s to my advantage to have this out. I can’t see it looking anything but sympathetic to me. I was in real bad shape last night. I felt sweaty, had a headache, had fever symptoms, I had a headache.” He said he talked to his lawyer, who said he didn’t think he’d have the reaction he did when part of it was dropped. He said my body was having a reaction to the stress. He said there’s a lot of anxiety and stress and feelings it’s never felt before. “I pretty much cruiser through life, I wrestle, I have fun, I have podcasts, and there’s no pressure, no stress. It’s been a great life, post-WWE and everything. This is a crazy element. It wasn’t a reality even until I’m in the courtroom and deciding my fate.” He said, “The reality is after this, the jury could tell me I owe a million dollars to this doctor, and that’s sinking in. It’s not up to me. It’s up to a jury of my peers. I hope they’re my friends.” He said the doctor was on the witness stand admitting that he would give Punk Z-Pacs (Zithromax, anti-biotics) and not write them down, and they weren’t on the records, “so that was kind of a big deal.” He said the biggest moment was when his lawyer asked Dr. Amann why he didn’t call Colt and tell him it wasn’t true, and he said HEPPA laws prohibit him from doing that. “Punk’s lawyer had a boner and was going crazy,” he said. Then they showed a clip of a group chat with Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, and individually he’s talking to some of these guys about Punk’s medical stuff. “I think that was a big win,” he said. “My lawyer said slam dunk.” He said his lawyer is 70 years old and he doesn’t take any shit. He said he’s “Chicago through and through.” He said the other lawyers were trying to be nice “to, I think, you don’t want to piss of the jury.” He said his lawyer is kind of an asshole “and I think it’s charming.” He said nobody wants to be there, including the jury. “So my lawyer’s trying to do this as quick as possible, and I think they can appreciate it.” He said he appreciates the way lawyers work. He said when the HEPPA thing came out, the lawyers reacted like when he does when he pops a crowd. “They were so excited to pull it out,” he said. ‘That’s what the job is for them.” He said he was feeling better after popping a Tylenol and getting some sugar in him. He said he’s nervous about being on the witness stand tomorrow. “Here’s the thing,” he said. “I can only tell what I know, and these lawyers know how to get the answer they want to get, and I’m just afraid I’m going to say something stupid and f— it up. I can only say what I know and I can only tell my side of the story. Lawyers know what they’re doing.” He said the lawyer is going to wind him into saying something he didn’t mean to say, and that’s his fear.
DAY FOUR – THURSDAY, MAY 31: He said there were videos of witnesses which included Mark Carano and Kane (Glenn Jacobs). He said he also went on the stand. He said his heart went from racing to not racing, and it was an emotional roller coaster. “This jury could give a f—,” he said. He said there was a video of a doctor in Tampa which was an hour and a half long. “I was falling asleep.” He said he had a million dollars at risk and he couldn’t barely stay awake. He said Dr. Amann’s attorney called him up to talk about the downloads and streams and listens. “I guess I did okay today,” he said. “But I’m getting nervous just thinking about it. My sickness went away a little bit, but I’ve been popping Tylenols and taking medicine like crazy.” He said he’s getting comfortable and used to this trial or the idea of being in court. He said another WrestleZone reporter was there. He said he found it funny. He said from the feedback, a lot of people are interested in the case, “as they should be.” He said he is interested in what the future is for him as a podcast host and if any lessons result form this. “I could be a million dollars down,” he said. “They said by next Tuesday this could wrap up.”
DAY FIVE – FRIDAY, JUNE 1: He said he felt had he had to cancel a wrestling appearance. He said the trial was supposed to start a week earlier than it did, so this messed up his schedule. He said he doesn’t think he is sick, but his body has a ton of flu-like symptoms like nausea and side cramps. He said his lawyer told him this happens. He said he just feels gross. “I never take any kind of pain medicine unless I have to,” he said. He said his lawyer is such a ball buster, even to him. “He’s very vicious.” He said he sat him down and grilled him “and I start sweating through my shirt.” He said he went to the stand 20 minutes later and my shirt was drenched. He said the jury might think that’s nervousness. He said he started answering questions and the other lawyer is objecting to everything. He said he wanted to talk about loving wrestling and get the jury to like him, but the other side objected. He said Punk’s lawyer asked him to read aloud a text message from Punk to him, which said, “Butt-f— him.” The jury laughed. He said maybe that’s a good thing when the jury laughs with you. He hoped it meant they liked him. He said as he’s testifying and telling his story, “and as I’m doing this, a whole classroom of eighth grade children walk in.” He said the fate of his life is being decided and these eighth graders walk in. He said half of him thinks its fascinating for him, but the other half wanted it to be quiet and more empty in the court room. He said he said what he knew on the stand and his attorney said he did good. He said his lawyer assured him there was no case against him, but he hoped the jury agrees. He said Punk answered the nice questions from their defense lawyers, but the cross-examination will happen on Monday. He said Punk “basically did a second podcast on the stand.” He described Punk on the stand: “The doctor told the story of how he was never hurt and never injured and the doctor was just being a great old doctor, and then this side, you hear about this crazy schedule Punk is on, this vigorous schedule, and there’s evidence of text messages of him getting ice-pack and his body hurts and doctors talking about him every single day and constantly being injured. I knew his life was bad, but you really see it on paper – I don’t mean his life was bad, but the vigorousness of how much he was going through and it wasn’t ending and it wasn’t ending. And you see it. I feel like the jury was experiencing it.” He said this made him question why this doctor would bring this to the table knowing this would all come out and they would see how much Punk went through. He said Punk started crying. He said his attorney didn’t know Punk, and he asked him, “Is this real? How do you know?” He asked why he didn’t cry on the podcast. I said then it was cathartic. He said now he’s having to relive “this f—ing awful experience” on top of paying his attorneys and losing a million or more to this doctor “who allegedly treated him like sh–.” He joked that he didn’t know if he could say that or had to run it by his lawyer. He said Dr. Amann’s lawyer put a stop to it, and the judge told him to stop crying and get things together. Colt said his lawyer told him that they don’t want to see Punk that distressed. He said Dr. Amann’s attorney was objecting so often, and his lawyer told him a jury can think they have something to hide, but the lawyer was doing it to stop Punk’s momentum on the stand telling his story. He said on Monday there will be more Punk testimony and some other witnesses and then the jury will decide. He said he has to fly to New York on the weekend to do a show and then fly back for the Monday trial. He said his body was still aching from straight-up weird feelings about being a court system with high stakes, “at least in my mind.”
DAY SIX – MONDAY, JUNE 4: He said the last day of the trial included more testimony, but he felt there wasn’t much on his side. He said Punk, Punk’s wife, and a massage therapist. He said he thought Punk was getting tripped up a bit. “The thing is, these lawyers will ask these questions to get to the answer they want, so if one time in the past you said ‘I don’t know,’ but like a million times you said something else, they’ll be like, ‘Did you not say I don’t know.’ Is that not something you said. They get hung up on that.” He said after court, they went over jury instructions, which is when you tell a jury “this is how you decide the case.” He said the lawyers have to agree. “That is when it hit me,” he said. “That is the most nauseous I’ve ever been, I felt the worst I’ve ever felt. Since I’ve gotten home now, I feel a little better, but I was at an all-time disgust mode just feeling like my whole body, it was the absolute worst – the reality that this is happening tomorrow. It’s an awful feeling. My lawyer feels very confident, I feel very confident, but the reality that this is happening is what made me feel like that.” He said he didn’t feel like going to the gym or do anything. “I just come back home and wait for tomorrow and wait for tomorrow.” He said he’s not sure if he’ll sleep at all. He said it’s made him so tired, he’s been able to fall asleep, but tomorrow is a big day. He said he thinks “the jury wants to get the f— out of here.”
DAY SEVEN – TUESDAY, JUNE 5: He recorded this on the last day in the lobby of the courthouse around 1:30. He said the jury has gone into deliberation. He said Dr. Amann’s lawyer took about 90 minutes, Punk’s lawyer took about 45 minutes, and his lawyer took eight minutes. He chuckled. He said he’s confident in his case. He said they’re lawyer asked for $3.85 million dollars per case, plus punitive damages – so about $40 million. “For a guy who brought this case up because he was so upset about the Tweets and the anti-stuff against him, it’s amazing how much weird attention he’s bringing to himself thinking that will be in a positive light asking $40 million. I might be wrong. Maybe $30 million, something like that. I don’t know how it adds up. But boy did that hit me when I heard that. I feel positive about my case, but if it goes his way, I did a stupid podcast and now because of that, I’m going to owe a man more money than I’ll ever make in my lifetime, obviously. Ahh, we’ll see how much it affects me. Obviously it affects me.” Then later that afternoon, Colt interviewed his attorney, who said the jury decided in his favor and against Dr. Amann. Colt asked what the basis of the trial was. His attorney said: “The basis of the trial was you published statements that Punk made that were believed to be defamatory that were in fact not defamatory at least as far as the jury was concerned. And that was pretty much it.” He said the jury found unanimously that nothing Punk said during the podcast was defamatory or injured the doctor in any way, and Colt had no reason to believe anything Punk said during the podcast was false. And therefore, your publishing what Punk said did not constitute defamation or injured Dr. Amann in any way.” The lawyer said he’s been doing this 45 years and he can’t add up how many trials he had. Colt asked if anything stuck out about this trial compared to those. “The thing that struck me as most different was the length of the trial compared to the length of time it took a jury to reach a verdict. In my 45 years, I’ve never experienced a jury reaching a verdict in a trial that lasted over a week in this short a period of time.” He said the jury was out two hours, and the first hour he figures they were eating lunch, and the second hour they were filling out forms. He said his understanding is at the outset, they were never going to find against Colt based on the evidence in the trial. “My view was, there is no evidence of any misconduct on your part at all presented during the course of the trial, nor was there any misconduct on your part at all during the course of publishing that podcast.” Colt said the jurors told him they couldn’t believe he was part of this. Colt’s attorney said said the jurors told him no one at the outset thought he was culpable in any way. “It was a no-brainer,” he said.
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