CM Punk has finally told his story of walking out on WWE all the way back in January the night after the Royal Rumble. Much has been written and none of it has come from the source itself. Now, in a two hour interview with Colt Cabana on the Art of Wrestling podcast, Punk has told all.
Go listen to it right here for all the quotes and juicy info from the man himself.
He makes it clear right from the outset that he didn't want to sell his story to anyone despite the fact that he knew he could have been "paid handsomely" for doing so. His reasoning?
"Money is not everything, ladies and gentlemen. That will be a big theme in my story."
Right away, Cabana remarks that Punk could have let loose with his feelings at any point and he reveals that he's learned through his years that sometimes it's better to keep the gun in the holster.
Here are some of the bigger points he hits on, and this is written in order. I'm currently listening and will update as I go along. Still, I strongly encourage you go download the episode yourself:
- He says that while people have remarked time and again that he couldn't change anything while sitting on his couch in Chicago he disagrees because it almost took him doing exactly that for meaningful change to occur. He indicates that while they may have done some things to spite him, he's really happy that certain things happened the way they did. He doesn't outright say that the Daniel Bryan run through WrestleMania 30 was because he left but he definitely hints at as much.
- "It's okay to be bitter about some things. That's how you work through stuff."
- He remarks that he's the happiest he's been in a really long time. "I'm the fucking happiest I've been in I don't know how long, at least three years, legitimately. I find these other things that have made me happy and I thought this thing that I loved, that I thought I loved, it just made me so miserable. All the time, it made me miserable. I guess the black and the white of it, when you boil it all down, the essence of it, was I was miserable, I was unhappy, fuck it! I made myself happy. I left. That's what it boils down to. It wasn't an easy decision to make but it was also a long time coming."
- He said there are many assumptions, like he was disgruntled with his creative direction, he was injured, he was mad about working with Triple H. "There's an element of truth in all those things but I can't say there was one big thing that led to my decision." He does say that the biggest was his health.
- He despises the term "pipe bomb" now because everyone refers to promos as that now.
- People were calling him about sponsor money after the pipe bomb and he pitched it to Vince McMahon, who wouldn't sign off on it. Then Brock Lesnar came in and was allowed to have sponsors on his wrestling gear.
- The story behind the pitch to WWE on walking out with Chael Sonnen at a UFC show and how it would have been good business. Vince told him someone might die in a fight and there's no way they could let him go. Vince was also apparently appalled at the idea of women fighting in the UFC.
- He says the environment is "creatively toxic" and gives examples of issues like pitching something to Vince, being told "no," and seeing John Cena doing that exact thing a week later.
- For the fans who are cool fans of his and who would like to hear an explanation, he is giving it to them right now. For those who were demanding it and calling him a quitter, those people can go to hell. For that matter, just because you bought a t-shirt doesn't entitle you to anything and you didn't make him and WWE didn't make him. "WWE was a fucking pit stop." He said he's not defined by his job, and no one should be.
- "That place should be the happiest place to work and they use that as some bizarre mindfuck. 'Go out there and have fun!' It's like 'fuck you, this place sucks, and on top of that, you're not fucking paying me nearly enough to do this shit."
- He brings up the WWE Network coming out and how he spent months asking questions and wasn't told anything.
- He rails on WWE for how they treat wrestlers as far as concussion protocol goes, revealing that he was working through concussions (he got one in the Royal Rumble too, and the testing for it was a joke) and a knee injury and messed up ribs. He was still in a mindset of doing what was best for "the boys" so he gutted out a lot of situations he definitely shouldn't have.
- When The Rock came back, he said he wanted to work babyface against a strong heel so Punk was given the choice to either turn heel or drop the WWE title to Daniel Bryan. He was told that if he turned heel and did the job, he would be owed one. So he made the sacrifice, one he admits wasn't that big of a sacrifice. He does say he tried to politic his way into the main event of WrestleMania, making Rock vs. Cena into a three-way before they booked him against Undertaker.
- Punk talks about WWE plans to get him a heater after WrestleMania and he reveals The Shield was his idea, believe it or not. They wanted a heel stable that would have included Punk, Big Show, Daniel Bryan, and Seth Rollins. So he pitched that they pick three guys from developmental to create the stable. They asked who he wanted and he said "Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Chris Hero." Triple H vetoed Hero and they put Roman Reigns in that spot instead. The idea was to put The Shield with Punk but plans changed.
- He says the Ryback program took years off his life because of how green he is. He also calls Ryback "steroid guy" because "I call it like I see it" and reveals that Ryback kicked him in the stomach so hard during a match it broke his ribs and he never got an apology or call about it.
- "I wrestled that match with Undertaker at WrestleMania with the biggest fucking chip on my shoulder because I knew it was going to be better than Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H and The Rock vs. John Cena." They admitted that he should have went on last and he got "so fucking mad" before demanding that they should pay him like he went on last and they didn't.
- He harps on wrestlers not taking a stand against the machine, going along with stories that don't make any sense for anyone. He said the only people who say anything are Cena and maybe Randy Orton.
- His response to being told they wanted him to do the job to Brock Lesnar was to wonder who was coming to work the next day and, of course, being told that he would but Brock wouldn't and there wouldn't be a rematch at the next show. So he found a way to get excited about doing what they asked, working with Chris Jericho at Payback and Lesnar at SummerSlam, thinking it would help his case for the main event of WrestleMania the next year.
- He takes a shot at Triple H not putting over Curtis Axel the way he had originally said he was going to, and wanting to work with him to help elevate him. Instead, they booked him with Ryback again and once again, Ryback injured him with a guerrilla press spot where he missed the table. That's one of the things he's bitter about.
- Confirmed: He shit his pants during SmackDown late last year and tells the story of tweeting it and being told he couldn't tweet that and had to take it down. Many realized and reported on Punk unfollowing the WWE Twitter account not long after. It turns out he blocked them.
- He complained about the pay he received from his WrestleMania match with Undertaker on the basis that he had the best match on the card and he should have been paid equal to everyone else on the card. When he found out that wasn't the case, he was outraged by it because "no one else on that card could have laced my boots that night". When Cabana brings up Rock being a huge movie star and that bringing in more fans, Punk says he doesn't care and WrestleMania is what draws at this point and no one can tell him different.
- The treatment he received for a large mass on his back was laughable, with the doctor not doing much of anything about it as it grew more and more.
- He went into the Royal Rumble knowing that the plan for WrestleMania was for Batista vs. Randy Orton for the title to main event and his plan was to work so hard during the match that he would change their minds.
- There's a great story of Punk telling Rusev backstage before the Rumble match that no one gives a shit about him and he needs to forget that Punk is supposedly a big star and get in there and really make an impression.
- When he was told during the match that he would be eliminated by Kane, he initially responded with the idea that he would quit if Kane even touched him because his wrestler's mentality kicked in and he wanted to finish the match.
- During the drive to Cleveland for Raw the next night, he was miserable and looked over at his future wife, AJ Lee, who he says he knew he was going to marry and just hadn't said anything yet, and had an epiphany wondering what he was doing with his life.
- At Raw the night he walked out, he went in and was told he was going to have to take a drug -- he calls it a "piss test" -- test and considering the new policies they put in place so wrestlers who had failed previous tests could get strikes taken off their record, he was livid that he, of all people, would have to take a piss test. He demanded to be taken care of for his various health issues and they wanted him to sign a bunch of papers and take the piss test. That's when he decided he was done.
- He reveals he called a meeting with Vince McMahon and Triple H initially said he would leave but Punk told him to stay. "I do not love this anymore, I'm fucking sick, I'm fucking hurt, I'm fucking confused, I don't know as a business what we're doing anymore, I... every day you tell me this is a team effort but every day it's a fucking individual effort by me to find what's necessary to even fucking come here. It's not fun. I have zero fucking passion for this. I'm fucking concussed, I'm fucking hurt, and alls (sic) you care about is what segment I am and how soon I can fucking get my gear on and when I can pee in this fucking cup. And I don't want to do it anymore."
- He said he talked openly about bringing back Batista as a babyface being a horrible idea.
- When Triple H told him that Batista took the same piss test they were asking Punk to take, Punk asked "did you" and got no response. "Look, I thought when I re-signed three years ago, Vince, I told you if I couldn't be all that I could be you should fucking fire me, that if I was a fraud and I was anything less and fell short of the fucking mark... I sold more shirts than John Cena until I turned heel for you, and you said you owed me one. I worked guys that were fucking dangerous and you said you owed me one. I did all these fucking things and all I wanted was the main event of WrestleMania and it's fine if you don't think that is me and that I'm that caliber of a fucking superstar but then you need to fucking fire me because I do not want to be here and I do not want to be anything less. I will go somewhere else and I will get more fucking over because I know I can. You have shackled me, you have creatively stifled me, you have made this a very toxic environment, I no longer want to be here."
- "It boggles my mind how Daniel Bryan has not figured into your plans to be in the main event of WrestleMania because this is his fucking year. Just like two years ago it was my fucking year and I was white fucking hot just like he is now and what did you do? You fed me to this guy (pointing to Triple H)." He said Vince responded to all this by saying it was just the concussion talking and that working with Triple H was like working in the main event. Punk says he turned to Triple H and said "All due respect, I do not need to wrestle you, you need to wrestle me. I do not want to wrestle you. I seriously resent you for not putting me over three years ago when you should have. That would have been best for business but you had to fucking come in and squash it. And then I had to lose to fucking Truth and Miz. It didn't make any business sense then, it doesn't make any business sense now, and I am in a position now where I can tell you that I don't have to nor do I want to wrestle you at WrestleMania. I don't care if I was supposed to win."
- Punk reveals he was scheduled to beat Triple H at WrestleMania and he didn't care. "I didn't want to give him the fucking privilege. He says Triple H never liked him and while you hear stories on the dirt sheets about various things, whenever he was in a room with Triple H there were never good vibes. "The way he would always look sideways at me, the way he always treated me." He says he thinks Triple H believes he's a "piece of shit."
- Triple H told Punk that he had the best match at WrestleMania 29 against Undertaker and that it was the main event. Punk said they can push that way of looking at it to the fans, but the main event is the match that goes on last and that's all there is to it.
- He says the Batista vs. Randy Orton main event plan was from an old, out of touch mind and he was really, really stoked when they made the change and put Daniel Bryan in the match and gave him his moment.
- When Triple H again pushed that Punk was in the main event at WrestleMania 29, Punk asked if he made the same money as those who went on after him. Again, Triple H responded with silence.
- He said Vince had tears in his eyes and gave Punk a hug, one Punk reciprocated, albeit reluctantly. Then he turned to Triple H, who had extended his hand, shook it, and said "goodbye" before walking out.
- He brings up people saying "oh my god, he walked out on his contract" and clarifies that he's an independent contractor and he could have walked out whenever he wanted to. Plus, he didn't do it in the middle of a program and he didn't hold them up. There wasn't anything advertised for him coming up. He walked when there was nothing for him.
- Vince called him a week after he walked out and asked if he was ready to come back to work. He told Vince "no" at that time.
- His wife, AJ, convinced him to go to a doctor in Tampa Bay and he looked at the mass in his back. He was immediately told that he had a staph infection. He was told he needed to go to a hospital and get on an antibiotic IV drip. He wondered what they would do with less time and they cut it out, and gave him antibiotics, an experience he describes as the most painful thing he's gone through in his life. He was given three months of antibiotics and told that after working with a staph infection for three months, he could have died.
- After catching up on sleep and feeling a lot better, he got a call from Vince saying he was suspended for two months. After thinking of the time frame, he thinks that his suspension will come up just after WrestleMania and okay, whatever. But then it came up and he didn't hear anything. He heard from an investor call that Vince told investors he was "on a sabbatical". It was then that he realizes he hadn't received a royalty check.
- He tells the story of finding a royalty check from WWE and calling about what he should do about it. He also asked about the royalty check he had yet to receive and is told that said check was at the desk of a lawyer. He attempted to contact said lawyer and found no success. He says he got a bunch of butt dials from various people and how he called about the royalty checks. He was given the runaround from literally everyone.
- He put the royalty check issue on the backburner because he was getting married and the Blackhawks were in the playoffs and he had a lot going on in his personal life at the time, like planning his honeymoon. Triple H texted him on June 11 asking if he had time to talk. He was upset about this, and said he had a honeymoon he was about to go to after getting married in two days. He asked for his royalties and promised to talk after his honeymoon.
- Punk then reveals that he was fired by WWE on his wedding day and that he believes it was a calculated move. He explains that he got a FedEx and the letter was ridiculous, saying he was in breach of contract on Jan. 27 and he was forfeiting his royalties and there was a no compete clause for UFC in it.
- He said he called a lawyer before going on his honeymoon, gave him his story, and the lawyer said "great, let's get these motherfuckers." He said he can't talk about the terms of the settlement but does reveal he "got everything I wanted, and then some."
- WWE tried to get him to sign a non-disparagement agreement and he said that he wasn't the one who was talking, they were the ones who went out in Chicago and called him a quitter on television. He said he would only consider signing the agreement if they went to Chicago and apologized while admitting they lied, that he didn't quit, and that they fired him on his wedding day.
- He says WWE was worried that he was going to go to TNA and his lawyer told them he isn't interested in that and he despises professional wrestling now. He also said there won't ever be a working relationship with WWE ever again.
- He said he's happy training and being married and writing comics and just living his life now.
- He says he failed at his goal of wrestling in the main event of WrestleMania but he's come to terms with it.
There's a whole lot more, so go download the direct link right here. Seriously, you need to hear it straight from him. Thoughts?