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CM Punk tell all interview with Colt Cabana transcribed

Ed Webster at Wikimedia Commons

As you undoubtedly know by now, CM Punk was a guest on the most recent episode of the Art of Wrestling podcast with host Colt Cabana. It's a fantastic show that you should find a way to listen to, be it through Cabana's siteiTunes, or a direct download. It's a long listen, clocking in at just under two hours, but it's well worth it.

Here, I've taken the time to transcribe the entire interview. Text betrays tone, so I strongly suggest listening to the interview. But a full transcription is a valuable resource, so here you go. Fair warning: It's really, really long and Punk curses extensively.


Colt: Bud.

Punk: Okay.

Colt: You haven't been on since number two.

Punk: Really? That's not true.

Colt: Officially.

Punk: Okay. I mean, I...

Colt: You were a guest.

Punk: Is this only the second time I've been an official guest?

Colt: Sure!

Punk: How long is this going to be? How long do I have?

Colt: So, here's... going into this whole thing right now, this is kind of what I...

Punk: This is a special episode.

Colt: Well, yeah, it is, and right away I wanted to kind of... if you do your business in 20 minutes well then it's 20 minutes.

Punk: It's not a 20 minute story.

Colt: If it's an hour and a half, you know, there is no... and that's the beauty of... we have created our own landscape. We don't have eight segments tonight, Punk.

Punk: This is why I'm using you as a platform to, I guess, speak for the first time, which sounds weird. I feel like there's all this bizarre pressure on me. No, so you had the idea -- and I agree, this is a pretty good idea because I don't want this to be a shoot interview. I'm sure somebody would have paid me handsomely for this story but that's not what it's about. Money is not everything, ladies and gentlemen. That will be a big theme in my story. So I'm going to talk as openly as I wish to about the circumstances of me leaving WWE, right? If anybody has any questions based on that subject -- don't ask me how big Batista's dick is -- we'll set up, what, an e-mail?

Colt: Yeah, so the theme is, the theme of the podcast, of course, is our lives and this is a big life thing. You had come to me and we had kind of been talking about it like, you know, who knows if you ever want to talk but there's just so much going on and it's understandable. You've been so great about not exploding verbally into the world of how much frustration you probably could have exploded. You, really, you were good about keeping it in, to yourself.

Punk: Well, I think a lifetime of watching people either talk about stuff when they shouldn't talk about stuff or cryptically talk about stuff. You know, like even if it's something like 'I've got this really big awesome thing coming and you'll know more about it later!' And then if something falls through, you're just the asshole who just tweeted something about this big awesome thing and I never wanted to be that guy. So there are large periods of me going dark on Twitter and then tweeting about hockey and then reading some responses and being reminded why I went dark on Twitter in the first place. But, you know, fuck it.

Colt: But you came -- I'm sorry, that was the worst to say that, as a host, to say that, but I just wanted to say you were like 'should we do questions? How should I do this?' And get it because you don't want to go into this... there's so much to come off and you don't want to miss saying anything. So I think the plan we came up with was let's do one where they won't even know when it comes up, which I love about the idea is when you subscribe to the podcast you never know who is going to come up. Like, holy shit.

Punk: Yeah, we weren't going to announce it like 'guess what, I'm doing Art of Wrestling, heeeey.'

Colt: So Punk pops up like holy fuck, we talk about it, you get off what you need to get off your chest and if people feel like 'no' because there are so many people who write, they want to know or they're so confused, and they do have the right, they don't have the right, I don't know. So that's what next week will be is we'll get to that with the e-mail. Also, I'm obviously biased, I'm on Team Punk forever. So I'm going to do my best...

Punk: I was about to make an awful World War 2 Germany joke. But what if... no, never mind, I'm sorry.

Colt: I am loyal, I don't care. I guess, I don't know, my job is to kind of... maybe I'm going to play another side of the sword or I might...

Punk: Hey, if you fucking disagree with me on anything, please, let me know.

Colt: I'm here to bring up that maybe that's my job here but I don't know. So if that comes up, that might be part of what I'm going to get into.

Punk: Okay.

Colt: So, we're rocking. You said 'fuck it' and I stopped you, I hope I didn't stop your train of thought there.

Punk: No, I don't honestly know exactly where to begin because I could go back and probably start at when I re-signed. When I was out the door and I had my mind made up and I wasn't going to re-sign and then I had this meeting with Vince and I wouldn't say he convinced me to re-sign, I would say I talked myself into giving it the old college try. I think a lot of people believe like all these powerful words I say about change, and changing the place and all that. People constantly tweet to me all the time, 'oh, you know you can't change it from your couch in Chicago.' And I absolutely disagree because that's exactly what I did. It almost took me sitting on my couch to and not to change the place permanently...

Colt: The first time you were leaving.

Punk: No, no, no, I'm talking like when I split in January.

Colt: Okay.

Punk: They changed everything. Part of me thinks they changed a lot of stuff to spite me, and that's fine because certain people who deserved certain things at that certain time got those things. And that's something that I never got and it was nice to see that. But I don't want to sound like an old-timer, like 'oh, I paved the way for these guys.' That's not what this is about. It's more about just kind of telling my story and how it unfolded and what happened. I'm going to try to do it in as positive and non-bitter way as I possibly can because, and here's a newsflash for you, ladies and gentlemen: It's okay to be bitter about stuff. You have to eventually work through it and get over it, which is something that I have done, but there are a few bright spots, I'll call them. There's a few things that still get me to this day and they'll probably come out. I just don't want to sound like that bitter guy, that's why I didn't want to do a shoot interview. I don't want it to be 'hey, let's just talk shit and bash WWE.' Because whenever they had me backed into a corner, I know I wasn't the easiest guy to deal with and I wasn't the nicest guy to deal with. So, just kind of starting, I'm having trouble with like, you know.

Colt: With the bitterness, I've came on here and I've said... it's hard because I've said like, yeah, fucking... and for me, bitter a little bit, and it drove me to a point and it's almost like I use bitterness as a happy point. But then I always get pissed off when I see people saying like 'fuck Cabana, he's a bitter piece of shit.'

Punk: And that's people's perspectives, you know what I mean? Like, people have...

Colt: I'm owning the bitterness!

Punk: That's the thing. I've embraced it, and that's not all I'm about. Trust me, ladies and gentlemen, 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 just 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 was a very... It wasn't an easy decision to make but it was also a long time coming. I don't know, this will probably come up in the next episode, people can ask questions and there's a lot of assumption out there from people: I was disgruntled with my storylines, I was banged up, I was mad that I wasn't the main event of WrestleMania, I was mad that I was wrestling Triple H; there's an element of truth in all of those things but I can't say there was one BIG thing that led to my decision and, actually, the big thing that led to my decision was my health.

Colt: So, I mean, little things like those had been eeking at you your whole... Like, little decisions like 'oh, that sucks' or 'oh, this sucks'. That's your whole career.

Punk: The whole thing is a fight. I'll give you a perfect example: I'm in Boston, I'm talking to Vince about re-signing. He says 'oh, we really need you. I'll give you this, I'll give you that.' I say 'I want this', he sees 'okay, fine, you can have that.' I had already been approached because, you've gotta understand, after I did that promo in Vegas -- everyone calls it the Pipe Bomb and I despise that word now because everyone just refers to promos as pipe bombs now, it's very weird, and maybe, hell, I should just embrace that and own that too but it feels douchey, like 'oh, I'm going to drop a pipe bomb'. I don't know. I'm talking to Vince and I tell him that since that promo we've gotten more mainstream attention, you know what I mean? Like, all this stuff. Everyone wanted to interview me, like GQ Magazine, on the cover of USA Today, all this weird shit.

Colt: Jim Rome.

Punk: Yeah, exactly, precisely. You're going to remember more than I do because my life's a blur. I had legitimate companies approaching me wanting to just give me money to sponsor me. Because obviously UFC is all the rage and guys wear shorts and they have shit all over their shorts and they get paid a ridiculous amount of money to promote these companies. So I had a pretty big money deal on the table so I went to Vince and I was like yeah, okay, there's going to be a new CM Punk and when I do things new there's going to be a new hairstyle, a new look.

Colt: No. Really?

Punk: Yeah, right? New whatever. So I was like 'you know what, fuck it, maybe I'll switch to fight shorts because then I have sponsors and these guys are already in place. I told them my idea, said I wanted to do this sponsorship thing and I felt like I deserved it. I got all these new eyes on the product, you know, people were going fucking banana about it. And he says 'nope, you can't do that. Sponsors for Raw would get mad, the other wrestlers would get mad, this, that.' We had a conversation, it wasn't my hill to die on, so I let it go. Cue, what, a year later? Brock Lesnar comes back and the motherfucker has sponsors.

Colt: Jerky links.

Punk: Yeah, and that's good because Brock got that.

Colt: Good on him.

Punk: Yeah, good for him.

Colt: So where are you? I guess, where does that put you mentally? Like, you couldn't win that fight yet he could win that fight.

Punk: Well, he had pre-existing sponsors, I know that. That was part of his deal. He was probably like, 'well, I'm coming over, I still have these sponsors, I signed for 'X' amount of years, and I'm going to wear my fight shorts.'

Colt: But there was a conversation that was had.

Punk: Yeah.

Colt: You lost it, he won it.

Punk: I thought in my mind, I was like 'wow, this is cutting edge, and this is going to open it up, and this is going to be a new means of income for not just me, for the boys' because I was still in that mentality that I wanted to help everybody out, you know? I didn't get it, and then Brock gets it without an explanation from Vince and I go to him and I'm like 'hey, that was my idea, I wanted to do that.' And Vince always just 'ha ha ha, yeah, well, rah rah rah.' You know, he tries to blow smoke up your ass. But I'm not one of those guys that's going to be like 'no,' I'm the guy that goes 'no, you're blowing smoke up my ass. What's the difference?' You know what I mean? And if the difference is he's a superstar and I'm not, then let me go. That was always what I said. I said 'I'm going to prove to you that I am exactly everything that I say I am and I am who I know I can be. I just need the machine to get behind me and then boom. I was the first guy, and nobody since has outsold John Cena in merchandise, I did that.

Colt: So, I mean, what's the...

Punk: I'll give you another example: 'Hey, my friend Chael (Sonnen) is fighting in Chicago for UFC and I already talked to them and they're totally cool with the idea, I'm going to walk him to the Octagon. Tomorrow is the Royal Rumble so it will get some last minute buys and whether Chael wins or loses, no offense to Chael, nobody is going to be talking about him, they're going to be talking about the WWE champion walking him to the Octagon. 'Oh my god, Phil, no, we can't do that. That's barbaric. Somebody is going to die!' And then I had to remind him, well, you know, 'I don't know if you remember Owen Hart or not, you know, cause he sort of died in your ring.'

Colt: Someone's going to die?

Punk: That's what he said.

Colt: What does he mean?!?

Punk: He said somebody is going to die in the Octagon.

Colt: Eventually, and you might be the one who is ringside for it?

Punk: No, I just think that was his... he was distancing himself from such a horrible, barbaric product. And I reminded him how horrible and barbaric pro wrestling is, you know. And then he was also like 'Did you know that they're going to have women fight in the Octagon soon?' And I was like 'yeah, and it's the fucking coolest thing in the world and it's going to be the hottest fucking thing, you'll see.' That's another thing -- he's just not in touch. So he tells me I can't do that and I felt, damn, it's such an opportunity for the company. It's just a spotlight. It's more promotion. It's more eyes on the product, it's my hometown, the place will be going crazy for me. And he says 'no' and the next day or the next week, Triple H walks (Floyd) Mayweather to the fucking ring and I'm like 'oh, okay, I get it. I'm learning my lesson. It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Next time, I'm not going to ask.'

Colt: Do you... Is it a... Obviously, when you work for... It just seems to be this promotion, and maybe I guess Vince McMahon and his stubborn ways, but when you get cool shit you do cool shit and that's part of... Is everybody else finding, like is John Cena finding himself like... No one is saying, I guess that's a bad example, no one is saying 'no' to John Cena to ideas that he's bringing to the table but is it everybody but him?

Punk: It's a very creatively stifling, toxic environment. I've gotten, and those are just two examples of two cool things. I've been offered television shows, movies, the chance to do stunt work, a number of different outside projects, half of which I can't even remember right now because you just move on. I forget.

Colt: I'll add not just you but there's a list of other guys.

Punk: There's a handful of other guys. This is the thing: I don't want to turn this into 'let's bash John Cena' either. I like John. I haven't talked to him since I've left but I haven't talked to a lot of people since I left. I've been offered things and then I go to the office like a good little soldier and they tell me I can't do it and then two weeks later John Cena is doing it. The same thing! The same exact thing! I'll give you another example: This is internal but this will kind of set the tone. I was the champ, and this was maybe two years ago, it was around this time. 'Oh, hey,' Triple H comes up to me, 'hey, the studio wants you in a movie.' And I was like 'oh, cool.' They're lame as fuck, you know what I mean, but it might get me some sort of a credit and it's something to work with, it's a new experience in case I want to pursue acting after my wrestling career. And I would get house shows off, and that's right around the time I was like 'fuck yeah, house shows off' because I tore my knee up working Cena at Night of Champions. I put him in a Muta Lock and he tried to roll to get out of it and just twisted my knee and twisted his ankle. So it's all set. It's 12 Rounds 2, I think, and I remember talking to you about it and you were like 'no, don't do it, it's just a John Cena movie' And I was just like 'man, I'm looking at house shows off,' that was my big thing. I was like 'I'm still going to be getting paid, I'll be getting paid for this movie, and house shows off.'

Colt: I was like 'man, you gotta make your first movie really sweet.'

Punk: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I came to you because I can come to you.

Colt. You can't do Marine 3: Citizes on patrol.

Punk: Although, that sounds pretty sweet. But yeah, I was supposed to be an EMT and they had tried to put me in movies before where I flat out refused, they were trying to offer me movies when I was trying to re-sign and it was a condition of 'you can only do this if you re-sign' and it was like 'the movie sucks, why would I re-sign for this? I'll re-sign if you can make me Casey Jones in a Ninja Turtle movie.' So I agree to do it and then we're going back and forth, we're signing these papers, and Hunter tells me the dates, the shooting schedule. Then I go 'that's the European tour.' And he goes 'no, no, no it's not.' I was like 'come on. I've been on like 30 European tours, which means you've probably been on 90 to 100. It's the same time every year. It's two weeks after WrestleMania, and it's two weeks before Thanksgiving. 'No, no, I checked; it's good.' 'Hunter, I'm telling you, it's the European tour. I'm the champ. Does Vince want me to miss that? I'm totally fine with missing a European tour, fuck yeah. But...' and that was the thing, at that time I was very much in the like 'I've got to lead this locker room and I've gotta do this and I've gotta lead by example' so I did every appearance. I did everything Cena did, to put it in perspective because people know how much John does. I did everything he did. They just don't advertise it. It sounds shitty to complain. I did as many Make-A-Wish's as he did, they just don't advertise anybody else doing a Make-A-Wish. Occasionally here or there you'll hear like 'oh, Randy Orton did a Make-A-Wish.' Everybody does them, it's just Cena is the poster boy.

Colt: So, let me play devil's advocate here.

Punk: Hold your thought and let me just get this out. I finally... Hunter's like 'it's not the European tour, Punk.' And I'm like 'dude, it totally is.' 'Alright, let me double check and get back to you.' The next day it's announced on the Internet: Randy Orton starring in whatever, 12 Rounds 2. So I call up Hunter and I go 'you couldn't have called me and told me?' And he was like 'well, I told you I was going to try to get them to switch the schedule but they couldn't so, you know, they just took... Randy was the second choice.' And I was like 'don't you think you could have called me? And I didn't have to read it on the Internet?' That's how they are.

Colt: And that's... okay, so that's a theme. I'm going to play, not devil's advocate, but I'm going to play asshole who is complaining to you on Twitter/Facebook/whatever. 'Fuck you, you should be happy, we made you, we gave you millions. I see this one: I bought your house.'

Punk: I bought your house!

Colt: 'I bought your house. You owe me explanations for everything.'

Punk: Right.

Colt: 'You owe me this, you owe me that. You should be happy that you're just a wrestler. Why are you complaining about, or why would you be mad that you didn't get 12 Rounds 2? Oh, so you didn't get a commercial, wah, wah, wah.' Am I doing a good job?

Punk: You're doing a decent job, and I'm assuming it's going to be 10 times worse now too, even though I'm doing my best to... I love my fans. The ones that want an explanation? I'm giving it to them. The ones that were like 'fuck you' and they call me a... I get a lot of 'you're a quieter' on Twitter because they don't know how to spell 'quitter' properly. It's fucking wild. Nothing I do or say is going to make them happy. And, you know, more power to them. They have the power to tweet and I have the power to block them and that's fine.

Colt: Do you, like, um... do you relate to, I guess... I was thinking about this the other day because I was imagining who... because you've shown me things and then you block them or whatever but, I guess an Amanda Bynes or Lindsey Lohan or the people who get these kind of things, do you think it affects them? Does it affect you?

Punk: A very miniscule amount. I just think there's so much of it. When you consider the source and go 'well, this is nothing anybody would ever say to my face in public' because they just wouldn't have the fucking balls because I would punch them in the throat. It just gets tiresome. And then 'oh, you're a pussy for blocking people!' No I'm not. Twitter is like the fucking open window in my kitchen and somebody's yelling in it and I don't want them yelling in it, I close the fucking window. Shut the fuck up. This is my house. You didn't buy my fucking house, motherfucker.

Colt: Apparently they did.

Punk: I bought my fucking house. I think that's like a weird generational thing, that entitlement. It's kind of shocking to me. It's like this whole generation that's just grown up with Twitter everything and instant gratification. Just because you bought my t-shirt, which I appreciate, thank you, and I got a fraction of the money for that, they didn't make me who I am. WWE didn't make me who I am. I was CM Punk before I got there. WWE was a fucking pit stop and I will not be defined based on what I do for a living. I don't think anybody should be.

Colt: But WWE gave you -- here's the other side -- WWE gave you a platform and allowed you to make a lot of money. But then on the flipside, for every dollar you made, they made 14.

Punk: It's probably way more than that.

Colt: Yeah. So for every time someone is yelling at you for whatever, they should be yelling, I guess, at them.

Punk: We're going to jump around a lot too. When you get down to the business of it, the dollars, this is a business, and I know what I'm worth. WWE's job almost was to undermine what anybody's worth. If somebody is legitimately... If my true worth was $8 million a year, WWE does not want to pay me $8 million a year because they still need to profit. So they're going to be like 'no, we're going to pay you $500,000 a year'. And since it's the only game in town and half the people who work there were kids like myself, like you, who grew up loving it and watching it, they eat a lot of shit because 'oh, this is my dream job' and 'oh, I don't want to get fired' and 'oh, I don't want to make this person mad and I better shake this person's hand and I better do this and I better make sure I do this.' Pro wrestling is just the weirdest fucking business in the world. Pro wrestling was awesome when it was me and you and Prazak and Chuck Smooth and we were driving down to Ian's and there wasn't all this bullshit and we sat in the locker room and we pissed in a community bucket and we wrestled for little or no fucking money. That was fucking pro wrestling. Now, you try to put that in the confines of a publicly traded company where everybody is like 'oh, well, I'm a business man' and Hunter is walking around going 'oh, you know, I never wanted a real job because I never wanted a suit, ha ha, golly, look at me now.' It's the most bi polar business in the world because they want you to be this character 24/7 but then if you're caught being mean to somebody on Twitter, they will admonish you. It's just fucking weird.

Colt: So there's an underlying theme of, and I think this is what we're going to get to, is that for all the money or whatever it is, you need to be happy in your life.

Punk: Yes!

Colt: Not just you, everybody. So why would you want to continue doing something that's making you miserable.

Punk: Right.

Colt: That seems to... when you say 'when we're traveling roads that's when it's fun. Hey, when I become the biggest star in wrestling and now things are getting taken away from me. Every time you say no to me that's a frustration notch, right, in your badge. And now frustration, frustration, frustration, frustration. It's not your badge, it's your fucking belt, fuck you.

Punk: Ha ha ha ha! I had the most frustrated badge notching ever.

Colt: And yeah, at work you want to be happy.

Punk: Yes! That place should be the fucking happiest place to work and they use that as this bizarre mind fuck, you know? 'Oh, just go out there and have fun.' It's like 'fuck you, this place sucks, and on top of that you're not paying me nearly enough to be doing this fucking shit. You're not.' And I don't care if anybody is out there like 'oh, you made millions'. Yeah, I should have made fucking 10, period. That's the fucking way it is. For how hard I worked and how I was never fucking at home? Yeah.

Colt: So as you leave...

Punk: Yes?

Colt: ... you said mainly for your health.

Punk: I mean, that was a big part of it but it was also I knew this Network was coming out and for months I was asking everybody 'hey, so, WrestleMania is probably $70 in HD and now you're selling it for $10.99, or $9.99.

Colt: Don't pretend you don't know.

Punk: I don't. I don't know. I'm sorry. And, I mean, yeah, at the time you had to buy the six-month thing but I felt like I was the only one asking questions. I had guys like Randy asking me, like 'hey, what happens?' It was like 'I don't know'. I just ask and Vince is like 'ha ha ha,' he just laughs. 'Well, we haven't figured that out yet.' 'Shouldn't you think you should figure that out before I work on that PPV so you can pay me accordingly?'

Colt: And, again, nobody is asking questions because nobody wants to rock any kind of boat because it's the only game in town.

Punk: No, it's because you'll get punished. You'll get left off a PPV, they'll take you off of Raw, they'll take you off house shows, and now you're not making any money. That's the way they do it. God forbid like... WWE doesn't do anything to protect the wrestlers, they do things to protect themselves. That sounds really harsh and I stated earlier I don't want to come off as like 'bash WWE' but they don't let everybody know that they're doing all these fantastic things for concussions for the boys. They do it so it looks good on them in the public. The NFL is getting fucked in the ass because there is a union for the football players and the union is saying 'you need to pay these guys this much money for medical, for past injuries, whatever.' And the NFL is doing it. The NFL is paying out the ass and Vince doesn't want to do that so they put all these things in place like 'oh, look, we're doing all this, we're doing all that.' I got a concussion in the Royal Rumble, it's pretty goddamn obvious. I knew I had a concussion. Everybody knew I had a concussion. They were like 'we want you to take this test.' And I was like 'your test is bullshit.' I took the test while texting you and listening to my headphones and I 'passed' with flying colors. Then they were like 'we want you to go to the ring and run the ropes'. And I was like 'but I just passed your test.' They're like 'yeah, but we still think you have a concussion.' I was like 'so, your test is worthless. I'm not going out in the fucking ring like a two week rookie to run the ropes in front of everybody. Let's just call it now.'

Colt: Call it a concussion.

Punk: But I was doing this stubborn thing where I was like 'I'm fine, I can work' because that's the way I've always been and that's what they instill in you. Because if I didn't work, I'd get punished. I never had a break. I talked earlier about 'yeah, I'll do your movie' because weekends off sounded fucking awesome and I wouldn't have had weekends off, I would have been doing the movie, but I wouldn't have been throwing myself at the ground. I was beat up. I already needed a knee surgery at that point but I was the champion, so I was like gotta keep going, gotta keep going, gotta keep going. I told Vince that 'I need this knee fixed. I'll do it after I drop the title to Rock.' But I was still actively trying to convince him that dropping the title to Rock was not the right thing to do or that even if I did that, you know, a three way with me, John, and Rock was the way to go for WrestleMania, or let me keep the title, I wrestle 'Taker.' I think we counted it out and it would have been day 500 of the title run. There was like a bunch of different cool scenarios. But I digress. Once again, don't want this to be a shoot interview, this is about why I left.

Colt: You didn't take any breaks.

Punk: I didn't take any breaks. Dude, I remember being excited when, on a European tour after the WrestleMania where I wrestled Rey (Mysterio), that my elbow every night locked up at like a 45-degree angle on the bus. And I would be like 'I can't move it. I can't bend it in either direction like but three inches.'

Colt: To people listening, not to complain but like, 'oh, can't you just go out there every night?' It's like, this guy can't move his elbow.

Punk: Yeah, and I remember being excited and I remember telling them 'I can't', you know? We would do these exercises where I would hold something heavy, maybe like a hammer, and try to like relax my arm and try to dangle it, and then they would straighten it, and then they would tape it. I was wrestling like that, like every night in Europe overseas.

Colt: So the excitement is like 'I might get some surgery, I might get some time off.'

Punk: Yes. I was stoked. I mean, you took me to get the laser eye surgery right after my elbow surgery because I was like 'huzzah, I'm going to get my eyes fixed too because I have all this time off.' I got surgery and then I think, I got surgery on... it was either... well, I was doing SmackDown, so it was a Wednesday or a Thursday and then Vince called me like Friday. He was like 'oh, I heard surgery was a success.' I was like 'yeah, I'm going to rehab and I'll be back before you know it.' He was like 'well, actually, I'm going to have them send you some travel right now because, I mean, it's just your elbow hurt. We can have you cut promos.' So I was already back on the road after like five days; not even, like four days.

Colt: Is there internal pressure, from you, yourself?

Punk: Absolutely.

Colt: Just being like 'you can't say no? Come on, man.'

Punk: No, I wanted to show them that I was the fucking best at this job, like, easily, like even with my arm in a sling. I'll go cut promos and nobody is going to be able to fucking touch me.

Colt: I remember there was a time where you kind of were like bragging and you got something and you were like 'if I'm going to come back, it's only going to be TVs and I'm not going to do any more European shows, or overseas, and then I'll be happy.' And then literally two months later you're like 'ah, I'm doing this next one.'

Punk: I think that was after I split after the 'Mania match with 'Taker. There was a ton of reasons that happened too.

Colt: But I was upset that, like, you then started going back on these tours because I knew that would drive you to unhappiness.

Punk: And it did. So, yeah, I get that elbow surgery and I'm right back on television, and I'm right back at it, and I'm scared that I'm going to have a blood clot and die because that's what happened to Chris Candido. I got the laser eye surgey. And I remember when I was supposed to go back to Birmingham to get cleared before I came back to wrestle for my elbow, one day I was just at TV and it was the same thing. I was just like 'I'll just probably cut a promo' and then Michael Hayes comes up to me and he goes 'all right, you're working so-and-so' and I was like 'no, I'm not. I just got this laser eye surgery, I don't wany anyone fucking up my eyes.' And he was like 'well, you really should have told somebody.' And I was like 'told them what? My elbow!' And he goes 'no, I just checked, they said you're cleared.' I was like 'I haven't even gone to Birmingham yet to see Dr. Andrews yet, what do you mean I'm cleared?' 'Well, you've gotta talk to them.' So then I talked to Dr. Amann and Dr. Amann's like 'oh, no, I just called them, I told them how you were, he said okay and he cleared you.' I was like 'what kind of witch doctorey bullshit is that? I'm going to go see him before I fucking wrestle. Book that shit. I am not wrestling tonight.' I still remember it was right around the time of the... I came back from what I'd imagine like any other pro sport person would come back from a minor elbow injury, way too soon, and it was the debut of Nexus and I remember it well because I was 'hey guys, laser eye surgery.' But I couldn't tell any of those guys because they tried to hide the whole fucking Nexus angle from me and Gallows even though we knew something was up. So when they're beating me up, some asshole was sticking his fingers in my fucking eyes and I just started fucking smacking people. And Gallows is just like 'what do we do?' And I'm like 'just start beating them up.' And he started beating up fucking Ryan Reeves and Reeves was like 'no, we're supposed to go over.'

Colt: 'We beat up! We beat up!'

Punk: Yeah, just totally confused. So I was very mad somebody poked me in the eye. It was karma for laughing at you when Ricky Reyes did it to you at the Ring of Honor show.

Colt: Because, like, it has to happen.

Punk: Yeah.

Colt: It has to happen. If you get... If they're like 'don't touch my eye,' they touch the eye.

Punk: It happens. It's Murphy's Law. Absolutely. Absolutely Murphy's Law.

Colt: And so, again, you keep on getting this time off but then not getting this time off.

Punk: Yeah, and this is, well, I'm going to go back to it when I said, 'I don't know when I'm supposed to start.' So let's talk about me being the champion and me putting all this pressure on me, me buying into the 'oh, I'm the champion, and it's pro wrestling, it's tradition, and what would Harley Race do' and all this stuff. I made every show, and I worked my ass off every show, and I tried to make every guy I wrestled with. I have a lot of fond memories of working with a lot of guys, like (Alberto) Del Rio, I had great matches with Daniel Bryan.

Colt: Is that a big thing for you, what would Harley Race do?

Punk: Yes.

Colt: That's great.

Punk: Because, you know, I like to think I'm an old school guy, and that was the thing...

Colt: And Harley loves you.

Punk: get hurt, you fucking tape it up, blah blah blah. And that's what I did. How long was I on TV with my arm in a sling? The sling wasn't just for show. I needed it. I walked around with my arm in a sling all fucking day except for the two hours in the morning and the two hours at night I was doing rehab so I could double time to get back in the ring. That's why I always had my elbow taped up after that. Sometimes we put a little donut of padding on there and shit like that. Um ... I'm trying to think. There was just... There was never... It really seemed like there was never really a place for me in that company. And I always just...

Colt: Do you think that's -- and here's me playing the other side, because I love ya but I've known you forever -- do you think that was because you were probably an asshole to a lot of people who work there?

Punk: What was?

Colt: You. So like, you can be... I mean, I think it's great but I know the way sometimes you probably talked to some of those people there, I get it, because they're dopes...

Punk: Sure.

Colt: ...but those dopes are like 'fuck this, I don't even want to approach Punk.'

Punk: Well, that's another interesting thing too. There's 26 fucking writers and you don't know who they are and they've never been in a real fight in their life and then they're writing stuff for you and if you make them mad, I guarantee you they're like 'well, I don't like that guy, I'm not going to write stuff for him.' You're fucked either way.

Colt: Do you see that as a big reason why when you got so hot was there people going like 'ugh, not this guy, let's try to...'

Punk: I mean, I guess. I'm sure... maybe. But I wasn't even hot at that point. I was doing the SES stuff and I was looking around going 'this is the best stuff ever, why aren't we doing anything with this' and they just squandered it away. Maybe that's because, yeah, maybe that's because they're like 'oh, he's an asshole.' But isn't that a stupid way to do business? Isn't that fucking stupid?

Colt: Sure.

Punk: Shouldn't they try to make money with... shouldn't they be trying to make money with everybody instead of just one person? Yeah, I don't know. What do I know?

Colt: So you're the champ, you're doing Harley Race style.

Punk: Yeah, um, and I remember telling Vince like 'hey, we should ride this until 'Mania or if I have to drop the title to Rock let's do a three way.' To me it was always about what's next, who am I working with next? Because if you're not working with anybody next, and that's a big problem with that place is they have no plans going forward for anybody. I think when they call a meeting Vince is like 'what's next for Cena?' Because that's all he cares about. And I think that's the wrong way to do business. But I was always trying to set myself up to work with somebody else. I didn't want to turn heel. Vince came to me and was like 'Rock's coming back and he wants to work a bad guy. You're the champ.' It was either I turn heel or I drop the title to Daniel Bryan and I was like 'well, I would like to work Rock, that sounds challenging,' you know. 'Well, you're going to have to turn heel.' And I was like 'uh, all right. Well, I would rather be a heel than a babyface anyway, even though I'm making these sweet checks that are going to get cut in half because of merchandise sales. But I was like... he told me, he goes, 'I'll tell you what, Phil, if you do this for me, I'll owe you one.' I was like 'sweet, great.' And to me, yeah, at the time, the goal was still WrestleMania main event. So I turned heel. Not the biggest sacrifice but still a sacrifice when you're babyface and you're making John Cena merch money and you're beating him in merch sales, yeah, to say 'no, I'm going to be a bad guy now' and five-year-old Johnny and Timmy aren't going to want to buy your shirt anymore, that's a thing. So I did that and then that's when I started getting like super beat up. That's when I tore my knee against John. I kept asking what was going on for 'Mania and Vince kept very disappointingly telling me that it was going to be the rematch between Cena and Rock. I was just like 'that's going to be awful, how about we do this?' And I was obviously... I mean, I guess if people want to call me a politician, I was trying to politic my way into the main event but it wasn't like 'let me beat everybody' it was 'hey, let's do a three way, it will be elimination. Have somebody pin me in fucking five minutes, I don't care. And then I'll be able to be like 'ha, I did the main event at WrestleMania' and I'll be able to move on. Fuck it, you know? It won't be such a hang up for me anymore, it won't be such a mind fuck.' 'No, you know, the Undertaker needs somebody to work and I think you're the guy to do it.' And I was just like 'okay, but after that, after that what happens?' He was like 'I don't know, what do you want to do?' I was like all right, I don't think he asks a whole lot of people what they want to do and since I was turning heel they again went back to 'oh, we want to put a heater with you'. So, and this, I don't know, this will probably blow some people's minds and then some people will be like 'oh, you're full of shit' but I don't fucking care either way: The Shield was my idea. What happened was, at the time the head writer was Eric Pankowski. He called me up one day and he was like 'okay, uh, nobody knows you're going to turn heel but we want to stick a stable with you. We want to give you Big Show as your heater.' I immediately groaned. I love Big Show to death but that's not a good idea. They wanted to put Daniel Bryan with me. I groaned. I said 'Daniel should be kept as far away from me as possible because, if anything, me and him should be like Bret (Hart) and Shawn (Michaels). We can be far apart and then we can come together when you guys need a fucking program for two or three PPVs, and we can always do it, and it will always be quality. There idea was a stable with me, Big Show, Daniel Bryan, and the only name they ever mentioned was Seth Rollins but they kept saying 'a guy from FCW.' So I went to Pankowski and I was like 'I don't like the idea. I'm willing to do the heel stable thing but why don't we pick three guys from FCW that are ready instead of using two guys, you know what I mean? They would just be treading water. Who cares? How many times are these guys going to turn?

Colt: We've seen it, it's not fresh.

Punk: Right. So I took the idea to Hunter, I took it to Vince, they agreed. Vince was immediately like 'who do you have in mind?' And I said '(Dean) Ambrose, Rollins, Chris Hero, or Kassius Ohno.' Hunter shot down Hero. They wanted Roman Reigns. They came to me and they were like 'what about Leakee?' I didn't... it wasn't my hill to die on. I said 'sure' because it made sense to me. Oh, they want their guy in, he's the pretty guy, but that's good because this guy can learn from working under me. The idea was they were supposed to be my group. Things fucking change. They like to take other people's ideas, make it their own idea, and then tout how awesome they are. So it then became Hunter's idea and up until the PPV they were like 'oh, we were told we might not be with you.' And I was like 'this whole entire time you're supposed to be with me' because the idea was they're with me, they're with me, they're with me, I go on to fight Undertaker, and then I have these three guys to work with after WrestleMania.

Colt: So you're setting yourself up for a future.

Punk: So I am padding my, yeah. Their way left me dead in the water. I get beat by the Undertaker, Undertaker is not there the next day, I am... what the fuck do I do?

Colt: You're there as a loser, Undertaker is not there as a winner.

Punk: I pitched all that, they loved it, things got changed, I didn't really care. Those three guys got called up, they're all fucking doing fantastic right now, mavel tov to them. That's really kind of neither here nor there except for pissing me off that hey, once again, I don't have anybody to work.

Colt: Frustration in the workplace.

Punk: Frustration notched on my badge, yes.

Colt: In the badge place, yes.

Punk: So I dropped the title to The Rock. I... god, I don't even know if I want to cover the Ryback stuff. That took 20 years off my fucking life. Jesus.

Colt: We're not here to knock anyone.

Punk: But I was beat up and I was torn up and then John Cena got hurt and they were like 'how do you feel about this guy? He's definitely not ready but, you know, you can carry him if you want.' I was like 'yeah, okay, great.' So that took 20 years off my life because...

Colt: To add up, you're already beat up. Ryback works a little stiff.

Punk: I'm already beat up and I have to wrestle 'Steroid Guy' and he's very... I call it like I see it. He's very hurty. Sometimes deliberate. There was one time he kicked me in the stomach as hard as he could and he broke my ribs, right at the tail end. And I never got an apology for that. He was something else. A real piece of work, that guy.

Colt: So, I can tell already. You're cranky.

Punk: Yep.

Colt: You're mad.

Punk: Mmm-hmm.

Colt: You're hurting.

Punk: Yep.

Colt: You're frustrated.

Punk: Yep.

Colt: People are crying 'be happy, you're doing your dream.'

Punk: Yeah.

Colt: These things are adding up, notching on your badge. You add that with, there was the ribs and I think there was a concussion in there somewhere, you had another one in there.

Punk: Yeah, well, I mean, I had the torn up knee. I flew, I did Raw Tuesday. I got on the jet to fly to whereever SmackDown was. Vince and everybody got off, the jet continued on to Pensacola, Florida. They dumped me, I got surgery Wednesday morning. I'm walking out of the hospital and Vince calls me. I'm all fucked up on anesthesia. 'Heard surgery went well, pal.' And I'm immediately having crazy flashbacks to the elbow surgery. And I said 'yeah, I guess. I'm just going to go back to my hotel and start rehab later tonight and get rolling.' 'Good. We just announced on Raw you're wrestling Ryback in a tables, ladders, and chairs match on the first Raw of January.' And I was like 'that's in two-and-a-half, three weeks?' He's like 'yep! Prognosis for your surgery is four-to-six weeks.' And I was like 'so you book me in a horribly dangerous match with a horribly dangerous opponent.' He's like 'well, that's when Rock's coming back so we've got to start that program right away.

Colt: Okay.

Punk: I told him I didn't want to do it. He told me that he would owe me one.

Colt: That's two now. That's two.

Punk: That's two. And I was just like 'man, okay.' So, for the first time in my career, there was a big part of me that was just like 'eeeehhhhh' whereas before I would be like 'get on my horse, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this rehab, blah blah blah.' And I was really just like 'man, okay. Well, all right, I'm the champ, here's the deal.' And I called Vince back the next day and I'm like 'uh, when I drop this belt, I'm going to need some time off. I'll burn myself out right now, get myself back in as best shape as I possibly can in three weeks but the instant I drop this title, I'm a ghost.' You know what I mean? 'Well, no, I need you for the rematch for The Rock.' I said 'no, there's no way. I'm fucking out of here.' And just like as you said earlier, you get frustrated that I went and did these European tours and I'm back on house shows, yeah, I wound up working everything. I dropped the title to Rock. I do a rematch with Rock and then it's WrestleMania. I told them like 'okay, I'm peacing out after this because this is getting ridiculous.' 'Oh, I disagree, Phil, you're going to be the hottest heel after WrestleMania.' I was like 'explain to me how losing to a 45-year-old man that wrestles once a year is going to make me the hottest heel in the world? No disrespect. Explain to me how that works. Because I'm the one that's still going to be here the next day, you know? Rock beats me, Rock leaves. Undertaker beats me, Undertaker leaves.' And I wrestled that fucking match with 'Taker with the biggest chip on my shoulder because I knew the match was going to be better than Brock and Triple H; I knew it was going to be better than Rock and Cena. And they always tell you that should be your attitude. Stone Cold says all the time, if you don't want to be the champion you shouldn't fucking work here. If you don't want to go out there and steal the show and you don't believe that you can, you shouldn't work here. And I absolutely fucking believed that, and I believe that, and I did it, again, for I don't know how many WrestleManias in a row. I went out there and I stole the show but this time it was different because they were like 'wow, you really should have went on last.' And I got so fucking mad and I said 'you better fucking pay me like I did. If you pay me like I did, I got no fucking problem.' They did not pay me like I did. They did not give me what I thought I should have made. But I wrestled that match like I had a deathwish. People can go back and watch it. I've never, ever watched it. I got into a huge screaming match with Vince about that because he's like 'did you watch it back yet?' I was like 'no!' 'Why, god damn it? You should be proud of that.' I was like 'fuck you, I was there. Pay me.' That was my attitude. So I obviously, I tore up my other knee super bad. Strained ACL, torn MCL, torn meniscus, torn PCL.

Colt: In that match, right? On that dive.

Punk: Fucking bruised, yeah, bruised fucking, what is that, a patella?

Colt: Don't ask me. Something with a 'p', yeah.

Punk: Patella.

Colt: That sounds right.

Punk: I bruised my knee really bad, right? So, yeah, I wrestled... because to me, at that time, I was like 'this is the only way I can get time off. I have to kill myself to get time off.' And I got my fucking time off. I was gone for two months. There was never... uh... I don't know if I should cover the time I tried to quit before WrestleMania.

Colt: Well, I remember you had the two months off.

Punk: Yeah.

Colt: And I remember every time you ever had like a week off or two weeks off you were always itching to get back. Like, it was in you. And I remember those two months off, you were like 'I love... I love...

Punk: I love my couch.

Colt: 'I have no itch to go back.'

Punk: In a lot of ways, I rediscovered fucking my love for a great many things that I never had time to do anymore. I was going to 'Hawks games infamously left and right. I saw their entire playoff run that year, they won the fucking Cup. I'm mad I was already back at work when they won the fucking Cup that year because I should have been in Boston and I would have been in Boston for that. Yeah, I discovered fucking life. And I started looking at my bank account and being like 'alright, this is fucking ridiculous. I don't need to do this anymore. This is... I'll go work at Starbucks. They'll probably actually give me insurance.

Colt: You would do it if it was fun, right, but it's not all of sudden.

Punk: No, it wasn't fun.

Colt: When you look at something and you're going 'I'm counting the money knowing how much I don't have to do this' you know something is wrong, right?

Punk: Right. But there's also a very... I have a very strong philosophy about the business and I don't think a guy like Seth Rollin or Dean Ambrose, I don't think they do. I don't think they look at it and question things and say to management 'why are we doing that? Why are we taking a guy that you know is going to be here every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and why is he losing to all the part-timers who you're showing are the real superstars? And now people are only going to buy WrestleMania, which is going to affect my pay year-round, and now this Network is coming in and it's going to affect my pay year-round, and I have to make all these other guys, for lack of a better term, look good, which, in turn, makes me look like shit.

Colt: Well, I think those guys might... And I've hung around Seth enough to know, I think he is smart. I think you're the only one, and probably for years, that has the balls to say anything. And I would ask you like was there other guys that can go up to Vince and go 'fuck you, this is stupid'?

Punk: I mean, Cena. I've seen Cena do it, but me and Cena would do it all the time.

Colt: Right, but who else past that?

Punk: I don't know. Maybe Randy. I don't know.

Colt: That's... I'm saying that unhealthiness...

Punk: I'm in a very unhealthy point in my fucking life. Not in the two months off, I was super stoked. I get a fucking tattoo of the Stanley Cup that says 'my summer vacation' on it because I never had a summer vacation my entire fucking life, you know what I mean? So I was driving... I'm doing jiu-jitsu like every day, I'm fucking killing it. Then I was driving down for like a, I did this Gracie immersion camp like in Destin, Florida, which is really just like an excuse to ride jet skis with Rener and everything like that and it was a blast. And then I was driving, on my own dime, didn't tell anybody, I talked to Joey Mercury, actually, and I was like 'hey, I'm going to come down to FCW.' NXT wasn't even a thing yet. I was like 'I'm going to come down and start getting in the ring and see how my knee feels.' Nobody knew. I don't know if Joey stooged it off but all of a sudden I'm driving down there from Destin to Tampa and I get a phone call from Vince. 'How you feeling?' Oh, I'm all right.' Like, I had been doing jiu-jitsu all week and my knee is kind of, it feels weak, you know, I feel like I should be wrapping it but I'm not because I want to try to strengthen it. 'Great, I want you back for the...' I don't know if it was June or July for the PPV, because it was in Chicago, and I went 'no, I don't want to come back until SummerSlam.' He said 'well, I need you back. This is Chicago, so I need you. It's not sold out yet, so we put you on, it will sell out and we want you to work (Chris) Jericho.' I worked Jericho enough so I was like 'eh, eh, I think I'll come back at SummerSlam.' 'Well, no, here's what we...' and he lays out like the summer plans for me. It's me and Jericho, then I'm in Money in the Bank, which I also refused to do, I didn't want to do. Paul (Heyman) would turn on me and then I would feud with Paul but he would bring in Brock and then this, of course, you know where this is going. And then he's like 'I need you and Brock for SummerSlam, a big headline match.' I was like 'great.' And, let me preface this, ladies and gentlemen, with uh, wrestling is fake and it doesn't really fucking matter in a lot of instances who wins and who fucking loses but put yourself in my shoes.

Colt: I'll disagree with that.

Punk: Yeah, well. So he goes 'you vs. Brock, SummerSlam.' And I went 'great, who's going over?' And he goes 'well, Brock.' And I went 'great! Who's going to be at work on Monday?' And there's just silence on the end of the phone and he goes 'well, I mean, you.' And I went 'why?' I said 'do I get my rematch at the next PPV?' He goes 'uh, no.' I said 'when is Brock coming back?' He said 'Probably the Royal Rumble.' And I went 'fucking hell.' So I've gotta put over The Rock and he goes away, I've gotta put over 'Taker and he goes away, and now I'm putting over Brock and he goes away. My stock is dropping rapidly in the eyes of the casual viewer, who is who they care about. So if I'm to maintain my main event status, I'm not going to be able to do it by producing excellent matches on house shows and TV all the time. I've... I now know that the business model has changed and me barking about that it's changed isn't going to do anything about it. I now go 'well, fuck it, I want to be that guy.'

Colt: Right.

Punk: And Vince is like 'well, no, I need you, the talent pool is really thin right now.' And I went 'tell Brock to work the fucking house shows.' And this is... a lot of people are going to be like 'oh, he doesn't like Brock.' Me and Brock get along fucking great, so shut up. But, again, my hang up was WrestleMania main event. I guess I'm just going to have to do it again. I'll fucking work Jericho, we'll blow it out of the water. I'll do this stuff with Paul, he will be fucking excellent, that can get me excited. I'll work Brock, we'll fucking steal the show. And then there's now way they can fucking deny. They can't, for the third, fourth year in a row, be like 'no.' This is Punk's year, even though I thought it was my year, every year, for three years. They can't be like 'nope, he's not in the main event at WrestleMania.' So I did the Brock match. I did all that. Then, again, 'well, we don't know what to do with you now. Can you work Ryback?' And I said 'no.' Once again, Vince goes 'I'll owe you one.' And then I said 'that's three you're going to fucking owe me.' I said 'you know this guy hurt me last time.' 'No, it's going to be different. He went away for whatever reason, he turned heel, he's going to be a Paul Heyman Guy, it's going to continue the feud with Paul.' I was like 'do you not see a problem with going from Brock to Ryback? It's just whatever, but all right, I'll try to fucking make it work.' I was more interested in working with Curtis Axel to try to fucking elevate him because Triple H did such an awesome job at doing it even though he promised him he was going to. That's the bitter part of me fucking creeping out, ladies and gentlemen.

Colt: But it's bitterness out of wanting to see young guys who deserve it being elevated.

Punk: Yeah. So I acquiesce...

Colt: Great word.

Punk: ...I'll work Ryback. And I go up to Ryan and I go 'hey, man, clean slate. Let's fucking kill this. Let's fucking show 'em that you're better than they think you are, let's show them that I'm better than they think I am, and let's fucking, let's turn this mid-card shit into a fucking main event.' 'Yeah, I'm really excited, great, blah blah blah.' First night out, gorilla press through a table, fucking misses the table, dumps me on the concrete fucking ground, tilts me on my pelvis, fucks me up for weeks.

Colt: So let's add the phys... we're adding physical fuckedupness to it.

Punk: We'll, I'm compensating because of my knee is still fucked, both my knees, the one that had surgery six months ago and the one that was fucking torn up and I refused to have surgery on, I just wanted to rehab, which I did. And then, like, now it's at the point where I walk up to him and I tell him 'you can't tell me you didn't do that on purpose because you've done it so many times now. You either tell me right now you're dumb as fuck and you suck or you did it on purpose.' And he was like 'I'm dumb as fuck. I'm sorry.' And like, there's nothing, at that point there's nothing I could do. In my mind I'm like 'oh, great, I'm fucked, there's nothing I can do.' So I work him. It hurts. I had a tag match, it might have been me and Dragon -- Daniel Bryan, I'm sorry, I always... that's how I met him.

Colt: Ha! You're such an indie nerd.

Punk: Yeah, I know, I know. I'm a big mark. There was a match where he kicked me in the ribs as hard as he could. Like, he took a shot at me and I was just like 'man, this is fucking ridiculous. I'm falling apart, now I've got broken ribs.' And then I got speared by Roman Reigns on something and I just took an ugly bump on it and it made it worse. I don't know if anybody's ever... if you've ever even bruised a rib, like, it sucks. Your life is miserable. You can't sleep, you can't fucking breathe. You can't work out. Fuck that; fuck all that shit.

Colt: Which, of course, that's your job. You've gotta be half naked in front of America, or the world, so working out is just as important.

Punk: Yeah. Somewhere along the line, I started to feel worse than I've ever felt in my entire life. Fucking awful. I worked Luke Harper in a match and I got hit with something and it fucking rung my bell and I got a concussion. But we were leaving for Europe the next day. So Doc was leaning on me going 'do you want me to... do you have a concussion or can you go to Europe' kind of thing. And I was just like 'you fucking... you pigs. I'll go to Europe. Whatever.' That's on me. That's my fault. I probably shouldn't have. After the European tour, the whole European tour, I'm dry heaving after every match. I mean, luckily I was in tags. It was me and Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatts and they were awesome, and they were fun -- the parts I remember -- but I'm on all fours after every match and I'm either puking for real or I'm just dry heaving because I don't have anything in my stomach. I have no appetite. I don't know what is up and what is down. I can't sleep. I can't fucking train. It's like a bus, a hotel, a cold building.

Colt: A miserable existence.

Punk: Doc is giving me... Doc's like 'Oh, you're sick, here's a Z-Pak.' They Z-Pak'd me to death, so much that in December I shit my pants on a SmackDown. Because that's what antibiotics do to you, right?

Colt: Is that seen on a SmackDown?

Punk: Yeah. I got real mad because I tweeted 'hey, everybody, watch SmackDown because I shit my pants.'

Colt: That's right, yeah.

Punk: And then the office was like 'oh, you can't say the word shit, can you take it down?' And I was just like 'you guys can't... you fuckers aren't fun. Like, it's fucking funny. I shit myself! I was laughing, Vince was laughing, Ambrose was laughing, but you're mad because I'm on social media and I fucking said the word shit? Fucking grow up, man.' And then I like deleted the tweet and retweeted like 'this poop ain't fun anymore.' Somewhere along...

Colt: Hold on. And then you also...

Punk: What did I do?

Colt: ... you unfollowed WWE after that.

Punk: I blocked them after that.

Colt: Ha! Your job is so cool.

Punk: They've been blocked for a very long time.

Colt: While you were working for them you blocked them.

Punk: Oh yeah, they were blocked for a while. Absolutely. I'm trying to think of some important parts here, hopefully y'all are still with us.

Colt: Yeah. You're hurting.

Punk: At some point, yeah, I'm hurting, but I'm hurting so bad I'm getting two MRIs a week, legit. My neck, my head, we MRI'd my chest, because we didn't know if there was something fucking going on. I'm getting CAT scans. Like, I'm fucked up.

Colt: And so me, your friend, I'm seeing the same symptoms, if not worse, in a couple of us before the 'pipe bomb.' The unhappiness, the miserableness, it's right there, if not worse.

Punk: Well, sure.

Colt: So I'm saying that as from an outside perspective for those who don't unnderstand. You know, some of them just see you as a dude on TV but, you know, as the one who knows the real people...

Punk: Well and there's also the owner of the company going 'I'm going to owe you one, I'm going to owe you one.' And I see my checks shrinking and I gotta question my pay? I'm hurt and you're asking me to make these shows even though you know I'm hurt and you're telling me to take it easy and you're cutting my pay? What the fuck is wrong with that? I thought you were going to owe me one? You need to fucking fix this, you need to pay me. I complained about my 'Mania pay. I don't even know... I don't even like to fucking talk about it but I based it off of 'Did I have the best match?' 'Well, yeah.' 'Okay, well the best match doesn't fucking mean shit, right? Because anybody can have the best fucking match, it's what draws. But I was in the match with fucking 'Taker. I should be compensated for my fucking match. I should not get any less than 'Taker, Brock, Triple H, Rock, or John Cena.' But I know I got paid way fucking less than all of those fucking guys who, in my opinion, for lack of a better phrase, couldn't fucking lace my boots that night. 'You need to pay me fucking equal.' I refuse to be... even if one of them got $1 more than me, I was outraged. I should be fucking paid accordingly.

Colt: What if I said 'well, The Rock, he's in Hollywood, he brings all these outside people...'

Punk: I don't give a fuck. WrestleMania is the draw, not The Rock. I don't care what anybody says, that is how I fucking feel. And you want to talk about fucking numbers and ratings and shit like that, my first main event as champion was a TLC and it was a John Cena-less PPV and we did more fucking buys than the year before. The PPV where The Rock came back, it was a fucking awful buyrate compared to the one before but they blamed it on Miz and Truth. That's what they fucking do. It's bi-polar. They twist and bend the fucking narrative to support their story. And they have guys, like me, I fell into that trap, of 'oh, ratings' and 'oh, buyrates' but PPV was fucking dying, that was the whole reason for the advent of the Network. But they couldn't tell me how they were compensating my fucking pay. They didn't want to tell me because they didn't know and that's fucking unacceptable. Somewhere along the way I get this fucking lump on my fucking back, and this is where it gets good. So I go to Doc and I go 'fucking look at this. This wasn't here last week. What is that?' 'Oh, it looks like a...' what did he call it, not a hematoma, a fatty... I don't know, he said it was like a fatty deposit. He asked me if it hurt and I said 'no, but it wasn't there last week.' And it's been a long tradition in the WWE locker rooms, when somebody has something like that, Doc cuts it out, everybody watches it, people film it, it's the weirdest fucking thing.

Colt: Heh. Yeah.

Punk: (Chris) Benoit used to pop dude's zits. Anybody who has ever been in the locker room who is listening to this, you know what I'm talking about. So they tell me 'no, we're not going to do anything about it because it's just like a fatty deposit, whatever, it's just like a calcium deposit, whatever.' So I fucking let it go, fine. It gets bigger. A couple months later I'm like 'this fucking thing got bigger.' 'Does it hurt?' 'No.' 'Well, then, let's just leave it.' 'Let me ask you something, Doc, are you just... is that like your medical opinion or are you just a lazy piece of shit and you don't want to fucking do it? Because I've seen you cut like a million of these fucking things out of somebody.' 'Well, you've gotta wrestle tonight, and it might need like a stitch.' I'm like 'so fucking what? You've put 14 staples in my forehead and then I've had to go out that same night and wrestle again. What is preventing you from helping me?' 'Well, it's... let's just see, blah blah blah.'

Colt: Did you have like a theory?

Punk: Did I have a theory?

Colt: Yeah.

Punk: No! I was just like 'what the fuck is this, it wasn't here yesterday, get rid of it.'

Colt: No, a theory on why he's not cutting.

Punk: Nah, he's just lazy.

Colt: He's just lazy.

Punk: He's lazy.

Colt: Crazy.

Punk: And that's the thing. 'Guys, I really feel like fucking shit. I have broken ribs and I have a concussion.' And they're like 'here's a Z-Pak, Phil.' And I'm like 'fuck.' I take the Z-Pak and I can't sleep. 'Here's another Z-Pak.' I take the Z-Pak and I shit my pants in the ring and I'm like 'what the fuck,' you know? And then after all that, they gave me an even stronger antibiotic and I'm like 'all right, if I take this maybe it will make me feel better.' It made me feel worse. I had fucking goddamn diarrhea for like three weeks.

Colt: It's just diarrhea.

Punk: Oh man was I nervous I was going to shit again. It's like, this is going to be my new gimmmick. Vince is going to be like 'you're going to get all white gear' you know. I was going to be like Bastion Booger. So everything comes to a head, I'm still motivated, it's Rumble season and I know Batista is coming back and I know the main event (of WrestleMania) is Batista vs. Randy Orton but I'm still that kid that was in the car with you driving to fucking Pittsburgh and Philly in IWA and I'm like 'I'm going to change their minds. I'm going to have this awesome Royal Rumble and they're going to be like goddamn, all right, Punk needs to be in the main event. He hasn't been in the main event...' I remember watching Foley's DVD and they interview Vince and Vince is like 'I thought it was a shame that he didn't have his WrestleMania moment before he retired so I coaxed him out of retirement and put him in the main event.' So I see that and I'm like 'well, motherfucker, I'm still here. I'm not retired yet.' Well, my hard work is going to shine through and I'm going to wow them with my fucking fancy pro wrestling skills and they'll realize that Randy Orton vs. Batista would be a big stinker of a fucking match of a main event of WrestleMania 30. And that day I showed Doc that thing on my back which was now purple and the size of a fucking baseball.

Colt: It had teeth.

Punk: He went 'does it hurt?' And I went 'yeah, actually, it hurts like a motherfucker.' And the waistband of my tights was like right on it so I was constantly aware of it. It was so big I felt like if I bumped on it it would burst. But, like, I can't pop it, it's not like a fucking zit or anything. He's like 'well, I would cut it out now but you've gotta wrestle in the Rumble. I would probably want to put you on some antibiotics before I put...' and I went 'motherfucker, I've been on antibiotics since November. What are you doing? Just cut it! Cut it right now!' He won't do it. He just wouldn't do it. I didn't get it. So I gotta do this shit, I've gotta wrestle in the Rumble, I'm number one and I'm getting thrown out right at the end. I didn't really give too much thought... you know, you can say a lot of things and a lot of people will take things out of context or how they want. Like, I can say I wasn't thrilled about wrestling Kane and people will take that like 'oh, he hated wrestling Kane.' I loved wrestling Glenn. I got along with him. Nobody ever has a bad thing to say about him, the matches are easy. It's just that I'd done it so many times I wanted to do something new, you know? I wrestle in the fucking Rumble. Kofi goddamn Kingston fucking tells me... I'm asking everybody, I'm going to everybody, I'm going 'hey, when you come in, do this. Tell me what you're going to do, I'll feed for you.' That fucking Rusev guy. He was fucking scared to death of me. I was like 'dude, this is your fucking first impression, you have to do something with it. He's like 'okay, I'll come over to the corner and stomp you.' I was like 'no! You have to fucking pick me up and fucking do something.' We were in gorilla and I go 'look around you; none of these motherfuckers care about you. They don't care about you, they hope you don't fucking succeed, they don't give a shit about your push. You have to fucking make your moments count. And because you think I'm CM Punk like I don't want to fucking do anything with you? Beat the shit out of me. Do a cool move to me. Just tell me what you're going to fucking do, don't just kick me in the fucking corner. I'm going to be the biggest, star wise, I'm going to be the biggest guy in the ring so you have to do something to me because everyone is going to be like 'oh, ah' whatever.' Same thing with Kofi. He was like 'hey, I'm going to come in, you're going to be in the ring, I'm going to do my little roll in the ring' -- which I never knew how he did, I thought that was like the most athletic thing ever, where he can jump from the floor and roll through the bottom of the rope and somersault and come up and clothesline me? Concussion city. I didn't want to tell him afterwards and I don't know if I did. So Kofi, if you're listening to this, I love you, it's okay. Fucking boom.

Colt: That sounded so Jewish, by the way.

Punk: Well, you know, I'm hanging out with you.

Colt: Yeah, yeah, it's okay.

Punk: I flatback and I'm just fucking rocked. I'm out of it.

Colt: Number 12, 13.

Punk: So I roll under the fucking corner and I motion to Doc, I go 'I have a concussion.' And he was like 'what do you want me to do?' And I just started laughing and I was just like 'Doctor, you are one of the most worthless pieces of shit I have ever met in my entire life.'

Colt: Well, hold on. I agree, but I don't agree, but like what does he do?

Punk: But this is miserable fucking Phil Brooks you're talking about.

Colt: Okay.

Punk: So he goes 'do you want me to tell somebody?' And I go 'no, I'm just going to sit here for a minute, I'm going to collect my wits and I'll go do my shit.' Next thing I know, one of the refs is like 'Kane's out here, he's going to pull you out early.' And my knee jerk reaction from 15+ years of being a pro wrestler was 'fuck you, I'm finishing this match. If Kane touches me, I'm going to fucking quit.' So then poor Glen is out there, he's like shirtless wearing business slacks...

Colt: Corporate Kane.

Punk: ...and he's like crouching down and the camera is trying not to shoot him and it was chaos. But then eventually we did the angle, he choke slammed me through the fucking thing. And I walked in back and Doc was there and he was like 'are you okay' and I was like 'cut this fucking thing out of me right now. Like, whatever the fuck it is, cut it out of me. I feel like fucking shit. I've had a fever for weeks, I'm fucking green when I look at myself on television.' And he won't do it because now he's like 'oh, it's the concussion, it's this, it's that, blah blah blah.' That night, man, driving to Cleveland, I couldn't sleep. I was just fucking laying there in bed and, you know, I look over and I know I'm marrying this woman, I haven't asked her yet but I know, and I'm like 'what the fuck am I doing with my life?' I had a big moment of clarity. Then I went to fucking TV and they wanted me to take their concussion test and I just had it. I was belligerent, I was argumentative. And then they were like 'oh, you have to take a piss test too.' I flew off the handle at that. I was just like 'I'm sick of this fucking shit.' I was like 'you're going to fucking amend the fucking drug test policy because of people who have two strikes so they can fucking either fail again or work one of those strikes off, continue to do drugs, and you're going to tell me I have to take another piss test?' And they're telling me that I was working that night and then they're telling me that I wasn't working that night and I just, I just fucking had it.

Colt: The theme here is you're argumentative and you've told me before, you're like 'I didn't like how much I was telling people to fuck off.'

Punk: I hated it!

Colt: Right. And it was happening.

Punk: Yeah.

Colt: You were doing it, you were telling people to fuck off, you were telling everyone 'fuck you, I hate you.'

Punk: And then they're like 'we need you to sign this for this visa for this country because we're going on this tour' and I was like 'right now, me, right now, in Cleveland, Ohio, take fucking care of me right fucking now. Don't worry about where I'm supposed to be tomorrow. Don't worry about what segment I'm supposed to be. Fucking fix me. My fucking ribs are broken, my knee is fucking torn up, I'm fucking sick. Fucking help me.' And they were like 'no, you have to sign this, you have to piss in this, you have to fucking go take this concussion test.

Colt: And I think that's the line: Fucking help me.

Punk: And then I just went 'you know what, Vince I need to talk to you.' And Hunter was in the room and he was like 'oh, I'll leave' and I was like 'you know what, you can stay. I don't care. You need to hear this too.' And I just looked Vince in the eye and I said: '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 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.' I talked openly about bringing back Dave as a babyface and I was like 'how do you not see how that is the worst idea?' Even Dave...

Colt: And he was quoted as saying it.

Punk: I can't remember if you were here or not, Dave was on the fucking couch a couple months ago and we talked about all of this. So, please, dirt sheets, don't try to stir shit. Me and Dave are friends. I'm giving you a recanting of exactly what I said and how I felt about it and Dave was fucking cool with all of it because I fucking talked to him about it. I mentioned something about the piss test and Hunter goes 'well, you know Dave just took the same piss test you did' and I just looked at Hunter and went 'did you?' And he had nothing to say. And then I said '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.' I said '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' and I pointed right at Hunter. And Vince was just like 'this is the concussion talking. I can't believe you're saying any of this. You're in the main eve... It is a main event. You're wrestling Triple H.' And I turned to Hunter and I 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.' Which I was. I didn't care. I didn't want to give him the fucking privilege. Do you understand that?

Colt: Yeah.

Punk: I said a lot of shit in there. I told them again and Hunter, he was gritting his teeth and I knew... he never liked me. It's one of those situations where you always hear those stories in the dirt sheets about 'Hunter says this about Punk' and all this negative stuff but me and him in a room together? Never any good vibes. Always negative, the way he would always look sideways at me, the way he always treated me. For instance, a simple courtesy call. 'Hey, that is the European tour, you can't do the movie, we're going to have Randy do it.' But he thought he didn't have to do that because he thought that I was a piece of shit.

Colt: Listen, I... you tried to convince me when you were white hot...

Punk: I tried to convince myself, buddy.

Colt: Convince yourself or convince me saying that this guy coming out of retirement and beating you and then going back into retirement...

Punk: Did he fucking... he did that, didn't he?

Colt: Yes.

Punk: He came out of retirement...

Colt: He was gone, came back, you were his first match, and then he went back to leaving.

Punk: ... and then he went away again.

Colt: To just stop you.

Punk: So Hunter goes 'you know, Punk, you were in the best match at WrestleMania last year and that was the main event.' And I was like 'I'm not fucking stupid. The main event is the last match. You can push it to people who buy the PPV there's four main events; there's one main event. There's always been one main event, and I deserved it. I still deserve it. And now Daniel Bryan deserves it. And you think you're just going to give it to Batista and Randy?' And I made this argument, I was like 'when you look at the roster, how many active members of the roster have been in a WrestleMania main event? How do you expect anybody to get fucking better? AHL hockey players have to play with NHL hockey players in order to get better. I needed the experience of a main event at WrestleMania with somebody who is equal or better than me so I could learn so I could further become an asset to the fucking product. So I could draw more instead of always being told 'well, you're not a draw.' 'How do you know? Why don't you give me a fucking shot?' And anytime they did give me a fucking shot, I knocked it out of the fucking park, ran, caught the ball myself and then shoved it down their fucking throats to remind them, yes, I am all that, and then some, and more. And you fuckers... what it boiled down to was that it was just an old, out-of-touch man's decision. 'No, this is going to be the greatest main event of all time.' And then they wound up changing it. And I'm so fucking stoked that Daniel Bryan got his main event. Now they can never take that away from him, ever. Whether they want to make fun of him or what not. But Hunter told me I was in the main event because I wrestled the Undertaker and I said 'tell me that I got paid the same amount of money as you, Brock, Cena, Rock, or whoever. ' And, once again, he had nothing to say. He didn't say anything. And I was just like 'right on, all right. I'm fucking out of here.' And Vince, with tears in his eyes, fucking stood up and I stuck my hand out and he went in for a fucking hug. And it was a reluctant, you know, like I just kind of patted him on the back a little bit. And I looked at Hunter and he stuck his hand out and I shook his hand, and I said 'good bye.' And I walked out.

Colt: But you weren't like 'I quit, fuck you.'

Punk: No, and this is my rationale when I think about it. It's like, people will be like 'oh my god, he walked out on his contract and he did this.' First of all, I'm an independent contractor, I could have walked out whenever I wanted to, right? Second of all, I didn't do it in the middle of a program. I didn't say 'I'm quitting unless you do this.' I didn't hold them up. I got choke slammed through a table at the end of the Royal Rumble. There wasn't anything advertised. It wasn't like 'Kane vs. Punk at the next PPV.' I walked. And now, after all that, this is where the fucking story actually starts to get good because a week after I fucking left, Vince texts me, just like the two surgeries. 'How you feeling, pal? You ready to come back to work?' And I text him like 'no. I'm so mentally fucking shot I still can't sleep, this, this, that.' My lovely wife convinced me to go to her doctor in Tampa. I went to her doctor in Tampa. I walked in, I've never met this guy, he looked kind of like Patrick Bateman, it was creepy. If Patrick Bateman had white hair, it was him. His last name was Bateman too, it's very strange. Never seen him before, he's got no idea who I am. He's like 'okay, so what's the problem?' And I fucking yanked my shorts down and I show him this fucking thing on my back.

Colt: Hey, what kind of doctor? Oh okay.

Punk: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And he looks right at it, he doesn't touch it, he just looks at it, cocks his head sideways and he goes 'that's a full blown staph infection.'

Colt: Full blown.

Punk: Yeah. And I looked at him and I laughed. And you were there when the doctor told me I had a fractured skull. Same laugh. I just went 'ha ha ha ha' like 'yeah, of course it is. I have a staph infection because of course I do. Why not?'

Colt: Right.

Punk: And I was like 'all right, what are you going to do?' And he was like 'uh, I mean, that's like MRSA. I can tell right now, the thing's like purple and green.' He was like 'I can cut it out and you need to go to a hospital and get like an antibiotic IV drip.' And I was like 'well, let's say we didn't have time for that.' He just loaded me up with antibiotics. He cut the thing, he squeezed it, shit shot onto the ceiling. I've had tattoos in some of the most painful places, I've fractured my skull, Ryback has broken my ribs on a kick on purpose, I've wrestled three weeks after knee surgery; this was the most painful experience of my entire life.

Colt: Whoa.

Punk: I don't know why it hurt so bad.

Colt: Did it get video taped?

Punk: No.

Colt: Woof.

Punk: But I sweat like I was in the fucking Sahara desert. I was clutching the table and this doctor was just squeezing this shit. And he kept squeezing this shit. And then fucking patched it up, he put a band aid on it, and he gave me three months of antibiotics. So I was like 'great.' And I asked him, I was like 'I've been on antibiotics for a long time. Why wouldn't it do this?' And he was like 'unless you're on specific antibiotics to kill a MRSA infection... like a Z-Pak is not going to do anything.'

Colt: And he's like 'you've been working on this thing?'

Punk: Yeah.

Colt: Did he say it was like possible to or something?

Punk: No, he said 'how long?' And I was like 'I don't know, at least three months.' And he was like 'you should be dead. You could have died.' Look up staph infections, people, they're nothing to fuck with. So I get that taken care of. All of a sudden, I can sleep. And I slept, for a long fucking time. Vince texts me and says that I'm suspended. He says 'well, I wish you could have lasted until the end of your contract but you're suspended for two months.' So I did the math in my head. It was the day after WrestleMania that my suspension was up. So I was like 'all right, I'm missing 'Mania, fucking whatever, I don't care.' I hate wrestling at this point, you know what I mean? I'm just like 'blah, whatever.' So the two months is up, and I don't hear anything. Nobody texts me, nobody says 'your suspension is up.' I had to listen to Vince on an investor call say that I was on a sabbatical. And I was like 'huh.' Why wouldn't he announce to his investors that I was suspended? That's fucking weird. And then I don't get my royalty check. I've got some wonky shit going on with the mail, so I figure maybe it's late. Another week goes by, I don't get it.

Colt: Well, you also figure...

Punk: I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here, you know? And then I'm downstairs in my basement cleaning out bins that were on my bus and I find a royalty check from last year that I just forgot to cash.

Colt: Can I put this full circle, though?

Punk: Yeah.

Colt: I remember you telling me a story you were at Harley Race's house once. You looked under the couch and found like a $10,000 check.

Punk: He just had them laying around the house.

Colt: Yeah, so I love that 'what would Harley Race do' and here you are.

Punk: This check was for exponentially way more than that. So I find this check and now I'm like 'fuck, what do I do?' I talked to my wife about it and I'm like 'I'll call them' and I'll be like 'you need to reissue me this check, plus send me my royalty check because I haven't gotten it.' And I called the name of the guy who was on the check, his name's Tom. I call him and he answers the phone right away and I go 'hey, Tom, it's Phil Brooks.' And I can hear his teeth start chattering. And he's like 'um... well... I... uh...' And I was like 'hey, dude, listen, relax. I found this check, I'll e-mail the number, can you reissue this? And I'm kind of assuming that maybe you guys are holding my check unless there is something wrong with my mail. Can you resend me my royalty check?' He tells me the royalty check is on the desk of Scott Amann, who is there lawyer. And I went 'well, why? Because nobody is...' I said 'you can't withhold my money. I haven't talked to anybody, nobody has contacted me. I mean, let me talk to him.' 'Well, I'll tell him you called.' 'Okay, well, what's his phone number?' I get his phone number and every day I call Tom and I call the lawyer and nobody picks up their phone, nobody returns their phone calls, nobody responds to their messages. They're not sending me the reissued check, they're not sending me my royalties. So I'm like, okay, are we just stalemated? And then I'm just going to sit on my ass until my contract is up? Because that's fine. There was a shitload of fucking money I was leaving on the table but I didn't care because I was happy and I wasn't stressed out. They weren't like slinging mud and freaking out and I wasn't and I was like all right, well maybe it was just two ships passing in the sea and that's it. I'll let them keep that fucking money, you know? Even though that's like a lifetime of fucking money to most people, I'll let them keep it, because that's what my health and my sanity was worth to me. And then I would get weird butt dials. Like, Mark Carrano butt dialed me a bunch of times. He would butt text me. I would get like an 'L' or I would get like that blank text circle, you know what I mean? And then a woman by the name of Jane Geddes butt dialed me. Like, she called me and I was like 'oh, what's this? Oh, cool, maybe it's about my checks.' You know, I'll let it go to voice mail, see what she says, because that's always what I do. It's just seven minutes of dead air. I can hear her talking to Mark Carrano in that talent relations room.

Colt: 'Fuck Phil Brooks. Fuck CM Punk.' Ha ha.

Punk: No, nothing like that. You couldn't really make anything out so I'm like 'fuck it' and I call her back. 'Hey, Jane, it's Phil. I saw that you called. I'm assuming you were calling about the two checks that you guys need to send me.' I'm overly nice, I tell her I hope she's good, this, this, that, blah blah blah. I don't hear back from her until like a week later where she texts me and she's like 'oh, I didn't mean to call you but I'll look into those checks for you and get back to you.' She never gets back to me. I didn't bother to... because at this point, I'm talking to the person who I'm supposed to talk to, this is talent relations. She's not calling me, they're not sending me the checks, blah blah blah. I have to switch gears here because I'm getting married, I'm planning a honeymoon, plus the Hawks are in the fucking playoffs. All hell is breaking loose. And I put that shit on the backburner because I don't care about the money and I'm more focused on my new life with my new wife. I'm working on this honeymoon shit, I'm crossing my fingers that the fucking Hawks can wrap it up so I can go on my honeymoon, you know. Two days before my wedding, I get a text from Hunter out of the blue, he hasn't talked to me since Cleveland, and he says 'hey, you got time to talk?' And I'm a little bit pissed off at this because it's the 11th of June?

Colt: I thought you were going to say 'it's game two'.

Punk: He's texting me during the hockey game. No, it's the 11th of June and he texts me if I have time to talk and I said 'I'm a reasonable guy. I've always had time to talk, I've always been just a phone call away. But I'm getting married in two days and I'm going to my honeymoon. How about we talk the instant... the day I get home, I'll fucking call you. In the meantime, reissue me that royalty check that I've been asking about for the past two months. Send me my royalties that I've been asking about for two months. That is reasonable, and then I will talk to you when I get back from my honeymoon.' He did not respond to the text. The day of my wedding I got a FedEx in the mail. It was my termination papers. I was fired.

Colt: You were fired.

Punk: So, take that, everyone who says I need to be... I'm a quieter (sic) on Twitter.

Colt: You're a real quieter.

Punk: I was fired, on my wedding day. Very calculated and very deliberate. As much as I kind of chuckled at it and didn't let it affect my day, I was like 'once again, you pushed too fucking far; you pushed the wrong guy.'

Colt: And why should nobody and, not why should nobody hear about this but fuck, man, this should be... people should know that you're being fired on your wedding day.

Punk: I mean, you take... here's Vince McMahon, who wants to hug me goodbye and he has tears in his eyes and he's like 'oh, we're family' and he fucking fires me on my wedding day when I was just trying to get... The letter was ridiculous. It was like 'your contract is terminated, you forfeit all of your royalty rights, you're in breach of contract as of Jan. 27' which, I'm not even a fucking lawyer and I know you can't claim retro breach, you know what I mean? If I was in breach of contract on Jan. 27 on Jan. 28 they had to be like 'you're in breach of contract, we're not giving you your royalties'. And I would have been like 'eh, great, fine, I'm going to go home because I have this staph infection that you refuse to treat and diagnose, plus I have this concussion and I've needed time off for at least a year and you won't give it to me.' So, I just kind of laughed at that. There was a big no compete specifically naming Ultimate Fighting Championships, which I got a huge kick out of. I was like 'all right, okay. But they're not competition with WWE.' But in mine and in Del Rio's no compete they're like 'you can't go to UFC' but they're not our competition, at all. Why would they be?

Colt: Well, because they're going to murder people in the ring.

Punk: Yeah, right. So, longer story short, I did a little bit of leg work with the 15 minutes I had to spare. I call a guy, a vicious lawyer -- he's Jewish -- from L.A., and I said 'here's the deal, here's who I am, here's my story, I'm going on my honeymoon, I'll call you when I get back.' And he was like 'great, let's get these motherfuckers.' And we did. We lawyered up and we got those motherfuckers. And the only thing I can't talk about is the terms of the settlement. I don't think I'll get in trouble for saying I got everything I wanted, and then some. So then there's all this shit about the video game, which was dumb of them to advertise me for the video game. Like, 2K Sports tweeted at me 'do I have your attention now?' Well, 2K Sports, do I have your fucking attention now? Thanks for the big fat check.

Colt: And you're split, right? It's done.

Punk: Obviously it took a while. They tried to do all this wacky shit where they asked me if I wanted to make a joint statement, I said 'go fuck yourselves.' They tried to throw a non-disparagement clause in where both sides wouldn't speak negatively of the other one and I said, through my lawyer, obviously, I was like 'I haven't said a word since I left. You're the motherfuckers who go on television and call me a quitter in my hometown. So if you want to go on television in my hometown and apologize and say that you lied, that I didn't quit, that you fired me on my wedding day, and see how they react, I'll consider signing a non-disparagement clause. But I also had no plans to go on this big anti-WWE tirade. And if anybody out there thinks that that's what this is it's really not, it's just me telling my story. If there are negative and bitter parts, that's a part of fucking life and like I said before I've embraced it, I'm working through it, I'm getting over it. They kept saying 'we know your client is going to TNA, we know your clients is going to TNA, and the whole platform is going to be 'fuck WWE and this and this' and my lawyer was like 'I'll tell you right now, my client is not going to TNA. He absolutely despises professional wrestling and he wants nothing to do with it. He says he's never going to wrestle again.' And they just kept trying to get these little things. Because as much... you know, they're bullies. Even though they're losing, they want to try to feel like they've won something. So when you see my stuff on Shop Zone now, it's because they have 'X' amount of stuff that they've already produced that I'm allowing them to sell because, I don't know, maybe there's a fan out there in Indonesia that wants texting gloves. They can get those now and I get my royalties for it so it's all good. But there's no working relationship and there never will be ever again. That wedding day thing, you know, is pretty ridiculous. And I've had to deal with people, you know, strangers on Twitter, and you asked me if it affects me, and I told you it does minisculely you know when they're like 'oh' and they'll tweet me and they'll tweet Ape, they're like 'oh, he's going to walk our on your marriage like he walked out on his contract.' Like, motherfucker, it's not even the same thing. For 10 years of my life I was legally listed as an independent contractor and they were terrified that I was going to go to court and ruin the way they do fucking business. I would like to see them get some sort of a union for the boys and girls, that way I know they're serious about protecting them from concussions and other things. There should be something like that in place but there's not. They're independent contracts but they can't work anywhere else. It's just like UFC is not WWE's competition but you can't go work there for a year after we fire you on your wedding day. It's a... I don't... I just don't like it. And I don't have to fucking like it.

Colt: You don't have to fucking like it, right.

Punk: Yeah. And I'm out and I'm super stoked and I focus on shit that makes me happy. I'm writing comic books, I'm training my ass off, and I'm married. That's the important shit.

Colt: And I think that's going to be hard but like I think that's the key, you know. When Batista stopped and he did an MMA fight, I remember we had this conversation but I remember like, and this was my own thought, because it's easy to start ripping on him. But I was like you know he probably really wanted to do MMA and he went and he had a fight.

Punk: I had a huge conversation with him about it.

Colt: Good for him.

Punk: And that's what I said.

Colt: And it's hard because the world knows who you are but like if that's something he wants to do.

Punk: Yeah, you know, but there's always going to be those negative people that are like 'you can't do this' or 'you can't do that'. I'm sure when Rock left wrestling for fucking Hollywood everyone was like 'oh, he's going to fall flat on his face.' I get that all the time.

Colt: It's going to be hard for you, I'm saying. You're going to venture into doing the Marvel stuff...

Punk: Whatever I want, yeah.

Colt: ... and you have to go do that stuff and I guess I open people to have that on their mind. Like, he's going into a new world and invite him into doing whatever he wants because he's a real human being and he wants to and I'm saying this to you.

Punk: Yeah, yeah. And if, you know, if you want to buy the comics and you want to read them and you want to support, awesome! And if you never liked me because I'm a jerk when you met me in public because you were a fucking dick to me so I don't feel like I have to be nice to you or give you anything that you want from me, don't buy it. Don't support it. Don't follow me on Twitter. It's a very simple philosophy: Do the things in life that you want to do or you're interested in and don't worry about what everybody else is doing.

Colt: You might win, or you might fail at some stuff but that's what is hardest. It's going to be under a microscope but like, I know you well enough that like, hopefully just like fuck it, man, just go for whatever you want and do whatever you want.

Punk: Well, there's tons of people that are going to say it and I say it probably 85-percent of the time: I failed at wrestling. I failed at my goal of the main event of WrestleMania. Even though I've come to terms with it and I look back on it like that fucking match with 'Taker was better than anything on the show and I had everybody from old Kevin Dunn to Vince being like 'oh, that was the best match and it should have went on last' and I was just like 'yeah, I know.' So that's the feather in my cap, you know?

Colt: How do you feel?

Punk: I feel awesome.

Colt: Yeah.

Punk: I'm a little hungry.

Colt: I mean after this.

Punk: After this? No, it's good, it's good. Like I said, there are still going to be people who are like 'no, you're a quitter, you took your ball and went home' because that's what they heard on Monday Night Raw so they're going to be a sheep and just regurgitate that but that's cool. I didn't quit; I got fired.

Colt: I do feel like it does sound like you could make it a battle of one guy vs. one machine and unfortunately it seems like, well, for every story there's a heel and a babyface, and hopefully... that had to be said as you're talking about it but it's not you vs. them, it's your story and why you need to be free. That's kind of what I take out of it.

Punk: I didn't want to be like one of these crazy guys who is like 'fuck WWE' because I'm not. I still have friends who fucking work there aside from dirt sheets reporting that 'oh, Chris Jericho says that CM Punk doesn't talk to his friends from wrestling anymore.' No, I don't talk to the guys who have fucking agendas who are trying to ask me what happened so they can fucking report about it on their podcast or blog about it or some stupid shit like that. So if you're out there and I stopped talking to you, it's because you had an agenda. You weren't checking in on me because you were fucking concerned about me. You wanted to be like 'oh, I spoke to Punk' and you wanted to use our private conversation as some sort of a weird fucking way to grab hits, or whatever the fuck you call them.

Colt: Well, cool, man, we covered a lot.

Punk: How long was this?

Colt: Up there.

Punk: Yeahh. Are you going to put it all on there?

Colt: Yeah.

Punk: Oh fuck yeah, all right.

Colt: Yeah, I guess we'll kind of do a cool down one next week.

Punk: Yeah, we'll do another one. I'm sure people have questions and hopefully you're cool and you're respectful and if you are really a fan... I would like to point out one thing. There was a big report about some kid at a Hawks game who wanted a picture with me, and this made the rounds.

Colt: Yep. And it's so easy to hear his side of the story.

Punk: Yeah, and this side of the story is I don't get to see my wife as much as I would like to and we have fallen into that lame grown up thing where we do like 'date night' and we went to a Hawks game. And unfortunately the four other people I took pictures with that night didn't post a big story and e-mail fucking dirtsheets to be like 'CM Punk is so cool.' That would have been helpful in this situation. But to set the scene, there are two 20 minute intermissions in between periods. So the whistle blows, we run up out of our seat, you're in a human traffic jam, I need a beef sandwich, she needs a hot dog, so we gotta go to two different fucking places, you know what I mean? So we're getting this stuff. I've got a bottle of water and a beef sandwich in my hand and I'm trying to pull my wallet out and we're in line to get a fucking hot dog and the lady is like 'the credit card machines are broken.' So now while holding a beef sandwich and a bottle of water and my wallet we're trying to juggle to see who has cash and I hear 'hey, Phil!' And we both look at each other and we both start laughing, like 'yeah, of course this happens right now,' you know what I mean? 'Phil, can I get a picture?' There's no 'please,' there's no 'excuse me,' there's no 'hi, my name is,' there's nothing.

Colt: Do this for me.

Punk: So I do not pay any attention to this person and we continue to pull our singles together so we can give this lady cash to get a fucking hot dog for my wife to go back to our seats to watch our hockey game. I'm fine with people coming up to me in public like I said literally that night to four other people I took pictures with because they were like 'hey, excuse me, Punk? I'm a big fan, my name is blah blah blah'. You know, human interaction. Not 'hey, Phil, hey, Phil, can I get a picture?' Because no, you can't, because fuck you for being rude.

Colt: Yeah.

Punk: That's what you get. You're nice to me, I'm nice to you. You're fucking rude to me, I'm rude to you. And that is the other side of that story.

Colt: And I'll share one story as we leave. In the mail I got this e-mail from this, the Wrestle Roos guy who sells little underwear that are wrestling trunks. He says 'man, you're such an inspiration, blah blah blah' and then that day...

Punk: Was it that day?

Colt: ... that day...

Punk: You got the mail that day?

Colt: You text me and go 'this guy is wearing a Cabana shirt, how great.' And then...

Punk: Okay, so I'm in Los Angeles and I'm at this breakfast spot by myself and I see this guy walk in the door with the I star of David Cabana, the I love Cabana shirt, it's blue, you can't miss it. And I go, oh wow, this guy's got the Cabana shirt on.

Colt: And then Punk just leaves and then he's like 'holy shit' and then you text me and go 'yeah, I bought him pancakes.'

Punk: Yeah, he was sitting at the table with like a girl and like two friends so when my bill came I was like 'I'll take the bill for that table too.' And then I went to the bathroom and I tried to just sneak out but like a hawk, he was like waiting for me. I didn't want to make a thing, you know, I didn't want to be like 'hey, I just bought your breakfast.' You know, no, I was walking out the door, I didn't care. But he stopped me.

Colt: It would have been so cool if you would have just left and then he's like 'uh, that guy bought you pancakes.'

Punk: But he had no idea and he's like 'what guy? Why did that guy buy me pancakes?

Colt: He picked up that I star Colt shirt up at a thrift store.

Punk: 'Who the fuck was that?' That happened to me once. CJ Wilson, you know, he made the PMA shirts? And then I was on my bike and you know how they paint that mural on the side of Evergreen here? Some guy was painting the mural in a PMA shirt. So I stopped and I was like 'hey, man, I gotta know you somehow.' And the guy looked down at it and he goes 'I got it at a thrift store. Can you tell me what PMA means?' So we figured out somebody from the car dealership probably took a bunch of the shirts and sold them at Salvation Army.

Colt: That's great.

Punk: That's ridiculous. Yeah, I bought that guy pancakes, he was wearing your shirt.

Colt: Goddamn right. Well, I won't do plugs because you just come on and plug whatever the fuck you want, when you want.

Punk: Fuck yeah.


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