What did we learn on the fifth day of the trial which will decide the defamation case WWE’s Dr. Chris Amann brought against CM Punk and Colt Cabana for their November, 2014 The Art of Wrestling podcast episode discussing Punk’s time in and exit from WWE?
Not much we didn’t get from days 1 - 4, really.
Per WrestleZone’s coverage from Ross Berman, who was again was in the Cook County, Illinois courtroom on Monday, June 4 (his detailed notes on the morning and afternoon sessions can be found here and here), Punk wrapped his testimony, his wife April Mendez Brooks (fka AJ Lee) and his massage therapist gave theirs, and the judge informed the jury closing arguments and the start of deliberations would come on Tuesday.
Much of Punk’s time on the stand in the morning focused on confirming details which were covered in questioning last week, the most crucial element of which might be he doesn’t know whether the lump on his buttocks was infected with Staph or MRSA, just that the non-WWE physician’s assistant who eventually drained it told him it could be. Time is also spent attempting to drill down on Punk’s use of the term/title “doc” on the podcast, which was used to describe his interactions with Amann, although Amann’s name is never specifically mentioned.
Of interest to wrestling fans, in explaining a text to trainer Larry Heck where Punk says he’s “physically fine” despite the lump and what appeared to be ongoing concussion issues at the time, Punk admits he may have still be trying to “blow WWE away” at the ‘14 Royal Rumble in order to get a WrestleMania main event. The Rumble, of course, where he seems to have suffered another concussion which led to an on-camera interaction with Amann, and ended up being his last match in WWE.
AJ also largely confirmed dates and recollections which had been previously entered into the record by her husband’s testimony. She stated under oath that their romantic relationship began in August 2013, and that they are still married. The former Divas Champion gave her current occupation as “author and mental health advocate”. She was present for many of Punk’s interactions and meetings with WWE medical, including one between her husband and Amann where she pushed Punk to push for treatment of the lump, and where the doctor said to wait until after the Rumble. AJ said she was suprised Amann didn’t see the lump as an issue earlier, and confirmed making an appointment for her husband to see Patrick Duffy (the P.A. she and Punk believed to be a doctor).
In the midst of some confusion as the plaintiff’s attorney asked Mendez to confirm text message exchanges she wasn’t involved in, there’s also several attempts to discuss the lump’s physical appearance. She ended up saying it grew from “knuckle-sized” in August 2013 to the size of a “small fruit” by January 2014, gradually changing colors along the way.
The massage therapist, identified in Berman’s notes as “Corrine” testified to having worked with him as her client roughly 20 times. He brought the lump to her attention, which she described as golf to tennis ball-sized and discolored during a January 2014 visit. It was gone when she saw him in April (after Duffy treated it), and Punk told her “turned out to be staph infection…lucky to be alive.”
With that, testimony ended. Each side makes their final case today, and then it’s in the jury’s hands.
Again, this is just one read of the notes Berman posted. We encourage those of you interested in seeing more detail and or forming your own opinion to head over to that site for his originals (again, here and here).