Even though it wasn’t the point of CM Punk’s anecdote, a quote about WWE brass telling Punk to “make Roman look strong” contributed to the “Anyone But Roman” fan backlash that persisted throughout Roman Reigns’s babyface push of the 2010s. The Big Dog even seemed to float it as the basis of a potential money-making feud should Punk ever return to WWE.
Which is why Punk heaping praise on the Tribal Chief as one of the only good things about WWE in 2021 is interesting. You can certainly debate whether there are other highlights in the company’s creative - and Punk downplaying the rest of their output to shout out the Big Dog is a very Punk thing to do. But that the Reigns character and storyline are among those bright sports is a widely held position. One of WWE’s most prominent critics joining the chorus is noteworthy.
And that’s why we’re noting these quotes from his visit with The Wrestling Perspective podcast:
“If the WWE does anything good, this is the one thing they’re doing right now is Roman Reigns. His character work, his in-ring stuff, it’s all great.
Punk criticized Vince McMahon & team for being “late” to turn Reigns heel, but he even wondered out loud if that wasn’t part of why what they’re doing now is so successful:
“Maybe he needed that adversity and that backlash to finally be this guy but this is the one thing they’re doing right, what can you say bad about what Roman Reigns is doing right now? He’s far and away the best guy they have. When you talk about storylines, in-ring work and all that stuff, right now he’s the total package. For the first time in his career, and I’m not being mean to Roman Reigns, I just feel like he’s finally where they pushed him to be, it just took a minute.”
Check out Punk’s entire chat with The Wrestling Perspective gang (which includes a rotating cast that includes Petey Williams, former Major League Baseball players Jason Kendall & Dimitri Young, Stanley Cup winner Darren McCarty, and Lars Frederiksen of the punk band Rancid.... and why didn’t I know this pod existed until just now!?!?!) here.