SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
C.M. Punk said his debut was “something” and discussed the reasons for his departure from and return to professional wrestling with Busted Open Radio’s Dave LaGreca and Tommy Dreamer.
Punk discussed his return promo and his choice of saying he left professional wrestling. He stated, “And there is a distinction, the other place will tell you and beat you over the head, ‘Hey, we’re not pro wrestling,’ so why do you want to go to bat for that company and say it is?” He added he never hated wrestling and that there are and will continue to be “funny rumors” about him.
LaGreca asked about the biggest changes Punk’s seen in the business over the past seven years, and Punk immediately identified the changes due to the pandemic in the lack of house shows and diminished travels. He said predominantly, that’s the biggest change with companies now making their most revenue through television deals.
Dreamer then discussed Tony Khan, saying Khan has delivered on all of his promises. Punk said he’s heard a lot of criticism about Khan, mainly that “he’s a mark,” but Punk said he’d rather have a fan of wrestling wearing the headset than someone who doesn’t. He added with Khan, the good far outweighs the bad.
LaGreca asked if Punk’s love for professional wrestling had returned when he decided to sign with AEW, but Punk said “it came when I came out,” but it was creeping out. He noted that even being his hometown, he doesn’t know anyone who’s that liked in their hometown. He ended by saying, “You weren’t going to get that for me or anybody else in any other situation in any other company.”
Dreamer asked who Punk wanted to work with besides Darby Allin, and he said “everyone” before stating some names. He said he has never worked with The Young Bucks or Kenny Omega, and the last time he worked with Cody Rhodes was 2009 (he had a questioning inflection). He added these are the names he usually doesn’t say because he wants to highlight Allin, Powerhouse Hobbs, Ricky Starks, and other talent who have potential. He said he loves how they’re “rough around the edges” and it reminds him of older wrestling he watched growing up where not everything was polished.
LaGreca brought up his own divorce and needing to put his happiness first, asking if Punk “had that conversation with himself.” After prefacing his comments by saying “the WWE drones” won’t like anything he has to say, Punk said he was “going to die” and said there were only so many times you can get hurt and keep going. He mentioned he never got enough time off after elbow or knee or hip surgeries because he was needed and though it’s nice to be needed, “they will run you dry.” He called himself a “cycle-breaker” for leaving the situation and that he’s proud of himself for taking a step back, telling himself the WWE won’t listen to him even though he’s sick and hurt, and that he needed to take care of himself. He said it sounds dramatic, but “it’s not bullshit.” He said he wanted to be able to kiss his wife and walk his dog before imploring everyone to do “what’s best for you.”
Other topics discussed included how Punk’s emotion came through the television screen; Punk seeing old friends backstage like Mark Henry and if he was more excited to see old friends or new stars; Dreamer’s praise for Punk as a Dusty Rhodes and Ricky Morton level babyface and how the fans needed closure; getting the “stamp of approval” from legends like Rhodes and Harley Race only to be told he’s nothing and will never make it; how outlets like ESPN covered Punk’s AEW debut and return to professional wrestling; Dreamer reminiscing on injuries versus the need/desire to wrestle and relating Race’s example to Punk’s comments; and more.