CM Punk is one of several veteran wrestlers who discovered that some members of the AEW roster weren’t terribly interested in their critiques and pointers. It became a much bigger issue for Punk than say Tully Blanchard, however.
It’s one of the reasons there’s been such fascination with Punk’s time at the WWE Performance Center over the past week. It’s also something that could be mined for future storylines, like Punk’s reputation as a “locker room cancer” currently is being used in his program with Seth Rollins on Raw.
Grayson Waller seems to know that. The Australian Superstar’s talked about Punk a few times while doing press for next year’s Elimination Chamber: Perth premium live event. In an interview with Adrian Hernandez from earlier this week, Waller had nothing but positive things to say about Punk and the atmosphere at WWE since he returned at Survivor Series. He also revealed that, like Punk, he’s an Ace Steel guy, having trained with Steel when he was a coach at the PC a few years back.
In another interview with TribLive’s Justin LaBar, Waller was still pro-Punk. But his answers also seemed to be building to some future work between the two men, especially as Grayson mentioned not wanting to seek Punk out for advice. Instead, the outspoken Aussie is looking to challenge himself against Punk.
“It’s great to have Punk back because obviously he’s a big name, he’s a big star. I got to sit backstage at SmackDown [last] Friday and kind of sit at Gorilla position and watch him go out and talk. It’s a different vibe.
“For me personally, I’m not gonna go and ask for advice and kiss his ass or anything like that. That’s not who I am. But I am gonna sit back, and I’m gonna watch what he’s doing. I’m gonna be like, ‘Wow’, and I’m gonna take some notes in my head. That promo he did on Friday, especially hearing the live crowd and everything was cool, but I had a bit of fun online with Punk before he came in. I like to play with the rumors and those type of things. I saw Punk backstage at SmackDown Friday, and I’m gonna leave it there. I don’t think anyone needs to know what that interaction was, but let’s just say we talked.”
After that tease, Waller again hit the advice note when talking about Punk’s recent trips to the PC:
“All I’ll say is, Punk has come back, and I was at NXT last night doing some stuff [Waller filmed a scene with Carmelo Hayes to add heat to their match on SmackDown tonight], and he was there, talking to all the young guys, giving them feedback, giving them advice. So he’s come back and he’s doing everything he can to help.
“But Grayson Waller’s not that guy. I don’t want to sit back and hear his advice. I don’t want to wear his merch shirt. I don’t want to put up a video of me at 12 years old, telling Punk he’s the best. That’s not who I am.
“I want to test myself against him. Not just in the ring, but on the mic because that guy’s one of the best of all time. That promo he did in Ring of Honor about the snake and the devil, I’ve watched all those things. I appreciate everything he’s done for the business, but I’m not here to be a fanboy, I’m here to be a competitor.”
Like much of the press Waller does, it’s a smart blend of work and shoot. He sticks to the company line about Punk’s return, but also plants seeds for bigger things that would benefit him.
One interesting thing about these quotes is that while they could certainly lead to a program between Punk & Waller, they could also be setting up an alliance. Grayson is basically saying he’s not here to make friends, he’s here to make money... and where have we heard that before recently?
It could also just be something Waller’s trying to push that will never reach our screens, but where’s the fun in that? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
H/t Fightful for transcription