While not the first time Paul Heyman has spoken off of WWE television about the departure from the company of his friend and mentee CM Punk (that was on The Steve Austin Show, which we covered here), it's noteworthy and interesting when someone as close to the Straight-Edge Superstar addresses his exit.
On this super-sized fiftieth edition of Chris Jericho's podcast, Talk is Jericho, the topic again comes up, and the ECW founder sheds a little more light on Phil Brooks' mindset prior to leaving the day after Royal Rumble:
He was unhappy. He had enough. He couldn't take it anymore...A year before he walked, these was daily conversations of, 'I don't think I'm going to be able to take this. I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to be here. I don't know how much longer it's going to be before I just decide to go home.'
I'm surprised it lasted that long... Every day with him was an exercise in him finding the balance to simply continue on and find the passion he needed to do it.
And I think what happened was he walked in the day after the Royal Rumble and he couldn't find that passion. He couldn't convince himself or persuade himself, 'OK, whether I'm happy or not this is about the performance, my legacy. It's about I take pride in what I do. And whether I'm happy or unhappy when I go out there I'm going to be the best CM Punk I can be.'
And I think somewhere during that day he couldn't find that.
This quote can also probably be used for folks on both sides of the "Was CM Punk 'half-assing' it before he left?" debate. "A year before he walked" covers the post-WrestleMania 29 return as a babyface that even the most ardent supporters of The Best in the World found lacking; but Heyman also emphasizes that he believes Punk left when he felt he could no longer live up to his reputation, not after months of phoning it in for a check.
Let us know what you think, Cagesiders. Does this change your thoughts on the Punk walkout? Or are you still tired of the wrestling community not being able to let go of Phil Brooks?
No matter - check out Talk is Jericho, episode 50. It's a great listen as usual, and Y2J and Heyman are also joined by Adam "Edge" Copeland!