Well, she was definitely making a statement when she picked that title!
One of my first reviews on here was Steve Austin interviewing Hulk Hogan, which was pretty big, but it just doesn’t feel like there are shoot interviews or podcasts that big left to do. That is until you get someone who’s notoriously out of the business and willing to speak their mind like CM Punk.
Full disclosure, I’m not much of a fan of his work, he hasn’t endeared himself to me with his personality and he felt like a guy they pushed for lack of anyone else, a far bigger star in his own mind than anyone else’s. However, I was there through the stories he told on his former friend Colt Cabana’s show of Dr. Z-Pak and a possible encounter with “Mursa”, which even his own doctor wasn’t as full on about (was it a volcano of pus hitting the ceiling or just a dribble?). Those landed him in court, ultimately a winner, but at cost.
So, going into this, I’m prepared for him to be a bit more guarded than before, and I don’t think it’ll be as explosive, but hopefully whatever comes out of it is worth reading and talking about.
- Renee previews the episode as good because Punk was “an open book”.
- Renee says that she didn’t want to just talk wrestling with Punk, but they may as well start with it. Punk says that even though he’s been retired for seven years he is “still a wrestler”.
- The state of wrestling today – “the more things change the more they stay the same”. He doesn’t want to have an ego, but he credits himself with a lot of people working today. He reckons he laid the ground work for Steen, Zayn, Bryan, Moxley, etc.
- He talked writer Eric Pankowski and Vince into giving him the Shield, sans Chris Hero and with Roman Reigns, as bodyguards because they were new blood.
- What does he miss the most in wrestling? He’s definitely out of the bubble and not in touch with people in the bubble, so being involved with Fox via Renee was a hard pitch. He doesn’t really miss anything. The lack of a crowd doesn’t help.
- Renee asks him to talk him through his UFC experience. He says he always wanted to do it and was planning on leaving at the end of 2010 to dedicate himself to it. The plan was to train, do amateur fights, then decide on competing in UFC. Business led it to being the other way round. He reckons that anyone who says he got paid a million to get his arse kicked doesn’t know the work he put into it, but with getting hot towards the end of his contracting and re-signing, THEN doing it after all that went down the pan… “I was too old!”. Well, at least he said it.
- Lorenzo Fertitta was more a part of wooing him than Dana White was. When he got suspended by WWE, Dana reached out to him and they said they’d talk about it when things were clear. White didn’t want him doing amateur fights because of the effect on his value, so he didn’t.
- What are the similarities Dana and Vince share? “Both right-wing weirdos who vote depending on who’s better for their pocketbook.” Dana is more generous, although fighters should unionise, same as wrestlers.
- Nothing will happen with wrestlers unionising because there’s no such thing really as “the boys”. Once you’re out, you’re out, and there’ll always be people who undercut others and some professional boot lickers (“When those boys lick it they eat it!”).
- What’s his take on WWE saying everyone should shut down their independent social media, even if it’s under their real name, and dictating who should and shouldn’t have stuff on the side? He prefaces his response by saying he doesn’t know Xavier Woods personally and only briefly met him once, but he’s seen he was petitioning for a job with G4 and he wonders if WWE will get money from that. He implies it’s one rule for some people and another for others. He recalls someone getting an acting role as a wrestler and the office shutting it down and putting John Cena in that role. He went to a bachelor party too one time at a pinball company factory and the owner told him that they wanted him on a WWE pinball machine and WWE tried to overrule him. THQ wanted him on the cover of the video game, but the office said it had to be either Sheamus, the Miz or John Cena. THQ won out on that one.
- Renee relates how she was asked to do a cooking show with wrestlers, but it got overruled too. The replacement? Bo Dallas, of all people. “Fuck, do what you’ve got to do(!).”
- Note: Renee swears like a trooper.
- Punk does commentary for CFFC. He hates being away from home and his wife now, so the current world makes that worse as he has to self-isolate upon returning from the job, but he loves it.
- In a tangent, in doubtless a wrestling podcast first and last, Renee references infamously bad movie Mac and Me.
- Punk dieted down from 205 to 170 for the first fight, but didn’t have the same success the second time around as he was going into court every morning. He says he won’t make certain comments because it would be disrespectful to Mike Jackson, but that obviously implies something. The trial took it out of him.
- What did his wife think of him fighting? He doesn’t recall, but imagines she wasn’t keen. She was supportive, but still not keen.
- How did their relationship change out of WWE? She left WWE a year after he did, but nothing changed between them. It was just hard because he was angry about he’d been treated. People would text him with bad stories about Chris Amann, but it wasn’t helpful. Plus her neck was fucked too, so she was somewhat dependent on WWE to help with that. It got better after she left.
- How is AJ getting on now? She writes a lot, on subjects like mental health. He wants to talk about certain things she has cooking, but doesn’t want to jinx it.
- Does he want to do more movies? He has a manager now, which he realises is counter to who he is personally (Renee: “Floozy little shit!”). His manager is working hard to get him jobs. He’d done a movie and had a TV series lined up, but COVID happening killed it. He’d like to do any kind of movie.
- Who would he like to work with? Dave Bautista for one. O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Anna Kendrick too. Harrison Ford is his hero. Loads, basically.
- He talks about how it’s cool how you get certain opportunities and realises that everyone suffers from impostor syndrome and feels that way, but the best ignore it. He uses his UFC experience as evidence of that. He might’ve lost, but he got to do it.
- Punk says he wished for Renee to do commentary because it was in a terrible state at the time and they needed something different and she could fulfil that. He remembers sitting next to Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole doing commentary after avoiding hip surgery from an injury he got in a match with Edge. He wanted to go home rather than stay on TV. He recalls Chavo getting a broken bone in his face during a match with Paul London because it meant he could still work out. Back to the commentary experience, he was sat next to Jerry and Vince was yelling in his ear, so he nudged the King and passed a note saying “Where’s the volume button?”. Lawler showed him how he could turn down the volume, but warned him they might get shouted at by Vince backstage. As it was, Vince said nothing and hadn’t even realised.
- Renee says Vince gave her shit in her headphones and she would get yelled at for not reacting quick enough.
- Punk was doing commentary with Josh Matthews one time and Cena took the monitors off the table for a spot through them. Then, something went backstage and neither of them could call it because they couldn’t see it, so Vince yelled at them “Call what’s on the monitors!”. Josh replied with “We haven’t got any FUCKING monitors!”.
- Renee, Cole and Corey Graves were having to make some serious comment about Bray Wyatt one time. She started saying something and Vince yelled at her, for it so she just stopped talking and stared blankly at the camera.
- What would it take for him to get back into wrestling? The landscape is very different now. If AEW was around when he walked from WWE then WWE would’ve treated him better than firing him on his wedding day. Without wanting to insult anyone, it would take a really interesting scenario and a lot of money, but a fun storyline he approved of would override the money. He feels there are more interesting people for him to wrestle in AEW, like Moxley, Omega and the Young Bucks. Nothing particularly new in WWE that he’d want to do.
- He would’ve been up for wrestling Samoa Joe in WWE, but he’s not sure they would’ve done anything new with him. He had an obsession at that time with one hour Broadways, so they did those in ROH.
- New Japan is something he would’ve been interested in, but Japan was different when he went over when he was younger. Hashimoto told him he was too big to be small and too small to be big.
- He’s open to stuff, but not waiting on it ready to go. As the Joker said, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free”.
- On request, he sings a song he sings to his dog.
- Renee and he discuss the dubious podcast name, which Renee says she’s sticking with… for now.
The Bottom Line: 52 minutes flew by really quickly. Never too deep, but the wrestling stories were pretty interesting as you’d expect, without saying anything that would get him into trouble. Renee was up for going at his speed, though. They probably needed longer, another episode perhaps, but it was interesting and not overly obnoxious. Worth a listen on a drive.