Last week, CM Punk was a VIP speaker at the WizardWorld comic book convention in Portland, Oregon. This wasn't at all unusual. Punk, an avid comics reader, routinely attends shows of its type to promote himself, WWE and just talk comics and pop culture.
With the news that broke yesterday of the Straight-Edged Superstar leaving the company he's been employed by for the last nine years, scrutiny of his remarks at the appearance on Friday, January 24th began to increase. Given that this Q & A was just two days before Royal Rumble and three days before he apparently left WWE before Raw, it's definitely something that bears investigating.
Thanks to my colleague Keith Harris, who tracked down this clip from the show so we can all hear some of his remarks.
- He's very diplomatic about the return of Batista, especially given that, as he says, "Dave's a friend". But his answer to the first question about the return of The Animal does see him lament that there have been years where he thought it was going to be his chance to main event WrestleMania only for someone else to come in and get that spot. And to state that he believes that this should be Daniel Bryan's year.
- He's openly critical of the writer-driven method of WWE creative. Punk says that he would prefer a booker with a long-term plan to the WWE system of writers who change plans week-to-week. Living up to his old Voice of the Voiceless moniker, he says what many of us in smarkdom have been saying lately, "they're worrying about WrestleMania now; if it were my company, I'd have that all settled and be worrying about WrestleMania 31".
- Fans like Daniel Bryan now because he is something different, just as Punk was something different three years ago.
- The discussion of the appeal of the different also alludes to the current pro wrestling landscape suffering from a lack of alternatives.
- He responds to a question about how he's feeling by saying that he's been getting "an MRI a week and blood work" to try and figure out exactly what's wrong with his body. He does say that his body is "just old" and as a point of comparison says that John Cena started wrestling in 2001 or 2002 - a point by which he had already been wrestling for several years and worked abroad, including in Japan.
- While he does say that he thinks he needs "a break" to feel better physically, he also only seems to get excited when talking about retirement. He also tells a fan that "when I'm done, I'm done".