CM Punk joined Dave Lagreca and Doug Mortman on Busted Open. Here are some highlights from the interview.
What drives him: “I think I’m the angriest man in WWE. If I’m great to anybody, if I’m great at all in anything I do I think it’s because I’m so determined. I’m a malcontent. I’m never happy with what I’m doing business-wise. I always want to be doing something else. I always want to be doing something more not something else. I want what’s next; what’s more, what’s bigger, what’s better.”
The heavy work load over the last year: “I think I have a real problem with admitting if I’m burnt out or anything like that. That’s just based off my work ethic. I don’t ever admit when I’m hurt and I don’t think a lot of the great guys have, because the show is going to go on. Obviously I’m miles away from where I was in the indies where if I didn’t work I didn’t eat and it’s not a fact that I’m worried about losing my spot or anything like that. This is just all I know; just go, go, go. That’s just me. I put so much pressure on myself so I think that it all kind of stems from that. Am I burnt out? Probably. It’s difficult for me to even say that, maybe, maybe I am.”
Working with Paul Heyman: “When they first put us together, I think a lot of people were like, ‘well, what’s Paul going to do? Punk doesn’t need anybody to talk for him.’ I think just being out there with Paul and I think people see him and me interacting and see how much fun we’re having; there have been so many inappropriate jokes I’ve made in the middle of live television shows to Paul when everybody else is worried about what’s going on in the ring or hitting their cues or other stuff. I’m just out there with my friend goofing off and having fun and I think a lot of the fans see that and it drives them crazy. It just pisses them off for some reason. So Paul adds that dynamic. Here’s these two very unlikable characters and they’re like the best of friends. There’s a very strange television dynamic going on there. He’s having a blast. He tells me all the time. He loves it. I’m glad I’m a part of it and he’s having so much fun.”
Whether his WM match lets him step back and say “I showed the naysayers”: “No, I can’t. I’m worried about what’s going on Monday. I’m worried about the PPV after Wrestlemania. I wonder what’s going to happen at Summerslam. So I never look back. I am driven constantly by proving people wrong but I never really stop to be like, ‘this is cool.’ I’m sure there’s a few moments here and there and there will be on Sunday when I do do that but it’s just hard for me to do that because I’m just go, go, go.”
His title streak ending to a part timer: “I wasn’t really champion for 434 days, it’s not like I really won it. We’re all adults here; we all know that pro wrestling is predetermined. My only gripe, and it’s always interesting because I do so many of these interviews and my answers always change and of course people will just print like, ‘Punk mad that Rock is part time,’ whatever, this is a business. The bottom line is dollars, but I can’t help it that I have so much old school engrained in me that the champ works every show. So its 2013 and business has completely changed and I was just vocal about there not being a champ on 2-3 months’ worth of house shows. I think the title is an attraction. Title fights should end the card. I just have different philosophies on things. It’s great that Rock is back. Anybody in the locker room that says it doesn’t piss them off, that he works however many days a year he works when we’re working 300 days a year, something ridiculous, they’re kidding themselves; they’re scared to say it. I appreciate Rock and everything he does. He puts more eyes on the product, that’s awesome. Maybe at Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber more people saw CM Punk for the first time, that’s cool, but to me, champ has a responsibility to the locker room. You’ve got to toe the line when you’re the champ. He’s not on every show, and I’m not pissing vinegar crying about it, it’s just a complete different opinion.”
Working with Rock: “I wasn’t happy with those matches. Were they the best they possibly could have been? Yeah, I think so. But I never like anything I do. I also don’t watch anything I do. You can’t look back. I know when I do stuff that’s good and I know when I do stuff that’s bad and I just kind of leave it at that. I don’t know if it was built up to be this huge showdown and I don’t know if it just fell short, I personally, I don’t think they were bad, but maybe something a little bit missing. Maybe I’d change my mind if I actually bothered to go back and watch but I just can’t bring myself to do it.”
Punk-Taker if Paul Bearer had not passed away: “Who knows? I don’t know. I think a lot of people think it wouldn’t have been anything but it’s the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, it’s The Streak, it’s the biggest thing in the WWE. It’s bigger than a title match. I’m confident we would have been ok.”
The 4 way to fight Taker: “I told them that was a stupid idea. I could have called him out, there’s different ways [we could have approached it]. It felt really weird to me and I didn’t like it.”
His mic skills: “I don’t know. I think that’s something you’re born with. Everyone says it’s the ‘it’ factor. You either have it or you don’t. I don’t know if you can teach it. I don’t know how to teach somebody how to get over in pro wrestling. I think that’s something that you have to cultivate yourself. Nobody ever told me, ‘hey, do this specifically, this is what’s going to work,’ to me, it was just work hard, always try to learn something, listen to the guys who have been there before and take little bits and pieces from everybody else. But nobody was specific like, ‘if you go out there and do this, that’s going to be CM Punk and that’s going to make people go bananas.’ I’ve always been that way. When I was a little kid and getting beat up I would still talk s–t, nothing could stop me from talking s–t.
“I was a little punk kid, that’s how the name Punk came about. People didn’t like the music I listened to. People didn’t like my mohawk, I was a little brat.”
The ‘pipe bomb’ promo: “People still don’t get it. It’s funny too now that I’m a bad guy, there’s a lot of people out there that when I was the hero they’re like, ‘great, he’s great that he said that and went out there and just did it,’ and now that I’m a bad guy they’re like, ‘it was scripted and he’s phony and he’s bulls–t.’ The truth of the matter is, I went out there with a live microphone and I said whatever the hell I wanted. But I’m a businessman and I wasn’t about to burn my bridge. I wasn’t about to go out there and just start swearing, but I went out there and aired my grievances. There was a bunch of junk that I wrote that I handed to Vince that he was like, ‘ok, say that,’ and I said none of that. I said whatever the hell I wanted, because I was out the door; I was leaving. I was going home, so I didn’t care. Legit, 100%. Looking back on it, it really was like a magical time because the most powerful thing in the world is when somebody just doesn’t give a f–k; and I didn’t care. What were they going to do? Were they going to fire me? Come on. I was going to Australia the next day. If they fired me I didn’t have to go to Australia the next day. That would’ve been fine with me. But I had no idea, I wasn’t like, ‘this is going to be great and this going to rejuvenate me and my career.’ No, I was just done. I didn’t care.”
“I don’t know. There’s always going to be a group of guys that I think are unhappy. I look at a guy right now like Dolph Ziggler, who, to me, is in exactly the same spot I was in in 2009-2010, and I see him kind of breaking out and saying a lot of the same stuff that I was saying. Everybody else, I’ll use Rock as an example, is like, ‘I love it, I love the Rock, he’s back and its great and we’re so happy,’ and then you ask Dolph that; Dolph will tell you the truth now. Whereas maybe a year or two ago Dolph would have probably toed the line and said that and I think, honestly, the office is always looking for that. They’re not looking for the same old same old, you’ve got to rock the boat and you’ve got to be an individual and you’ve got to be yourself. If I changed the attitude of the locker room, hopefully for the better, that’s awesome. If I even gave just one guy a shot in the arm, a little bit of hope or somebody to look up to, awesome. But I’m not claiming to be like the locker room Gandhi or anything like that. I just kind of come to work every day and do my thing.”
His dream match: “I never pictured Undertaker in this wild dream match. It was never, ‘my god, I really want to wrestle the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.’ I think just based off of personalities; I think Steve Austin would be the guy. As well as I know Steve, me and him when we’re in the same room s–t just changes. People recognize that. There’s always that thing with me and Steve where he’s kind of poking me and I push back. I think a lot of guys, Steve pokes at them and they’re just like, ‘yes sir.’ I think I was the first guy in forever that just pushed back and I think he liked that. I’m not saying anything is ever going to happen. Steve’s in a great place and he’s happy and for all intents and purposes, he shouldn’t ever wrestle again. If time and money and all that stuff weren’t an issue, yeah, Steve Austin. I’d love to wrestle Harley Race. Would love to wrestle Pat Patterson in his prime. I can talk forever about dream matches.”