I find CM Punk to be a fascinating athlete.
Mainly because there are some things he says that are right on the money and other things that make him sound like a salty petty bitter child. That isn’t that much different from most of us, but most of cover up our pettiness, whereas he loves to put it in display.
I think half of his gripes with the WWE are valid and the other half were problems he caused himself. If he wanted to take his ball and go play in the UFC that is his decision, people shouldn’t knock him for that. I will knock him for basically forcing AJ Lee to choose him over her career, but that is strictly for selfish reasons. He explains a bit in this interview with SI why he left the WWE.
SI: Do you feel like you’re competing in WWE?
CMP: It’s definitely a competition. Backstage is so shark-infested and political. It’s almost comical. A lot of people are more interested in the backstage goings-on than what they see on television. A lot of ways it’s more fascinating. It’s a competition for sure.
SI: Was there one catalyzing moment: I want to fight MMA?
CMP: I’d say there were a lot of little moments. I’d accomplished pretty much all I wanted. I was getting tired of being on the road, tired of getting beat up. Most of the big reasons had to do with my health. Like getting knee surgery and then being told, ‘You need to be in the ring in three weeks.’ I’m like, ‘That’s great. I can suck it up and be the tough guy. But wouldn’t it be smarter to give me six weeks?’ Stuff like that. Again, it’s so cutthroat and political backstage. I always felt like I was fighting. I’d much rather just lock the cage door and really fight it out.
SI: Not a lot of grey area in MMA—
CMP: Exactly. In pro wrestling, it’s fake. People always get offended by that word. ‘No, we like to say it’s pre-determined.’ For whatever reason, people get angry at fake; pre-determined eases the blow? It’s fake. At the end of the day it doesn’t really mean anything. So after a while, it was, ‘Let’s just really fight and see what happens.’ Now I get to.
SI: What made you a good pro wrestler?
CMP: Well, that’s another thing in that phony world. What does it mean to be a good fake wrestler? That’s an identity crisis that I think I struggled with. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best; someone else picks who they want in the top spot.
SI: Some of the issues you’re mentioning with the WWE—you don’t want stars to get too big; management has a heavy grip on labor—honestly, that sounds not dissimilar to the fighter discontent in the UFC. Do you see yourself getting involved?
CMP: At the moment, no. Everyone’s situation is different. It’s an interesting question and I don’t know how to answer it. I’m not trying to shy away from it. But I’ve been treated great. At lot of what I said and did in WWE, that was about trying to help out the other guys. After a while, I realized, Wow, that other guy doesn’t even appreciate it; he could give a s—. Nobody cared. Why was I bending over backwards to make it a better workplace for you, when you don’t give a s—? I see the similarities [between WWE and UFC] but I see the differences. And, again, I’ve been treated great….I do things based on firsthand experience.
That last answer is interesting, because UFC is also a dictatorship like the WWE, but the WWE superstars get paid a lot more money. Fake or real, that is a fact. CM Punk is getting paid a lot of money and the top guys and girls are being paid handsomely, but R-Truth makes more money that majority of MMA fighters. One of his main gripes in the WWE was that people were getting opportunities who didn’t deserve it or work as hard as he did.
So the irony in this is CM Punk’s WWE Fame is the only reason he is being treated better and being paid more in the UFC even though many others have worked a lot harder and longer with the company.
Funny how that works.