– WWE Champion CM Punk spoke with ESPN.com this week to promote WrestleMania 28. Here are some highlights:
CM Punk, a year ago at this time, considering your contract situation with WWE, did you think you would be in this spot, defending the world title at Wrestlemania 28?
CM Punk: No, because I was leaving. At Wrestlemania last year — and I always say I thrive in high-pressure situations — my job was to steal the show and prove to everybody how awesome I was and what an amazing talent they were losing. I went out there with Randy [Orton] and we put on, in my opinion, the best match on the show of pure wrestling. I wasn’t concerned about what I was doing next year. I was leaving in my mind. I didn’t think I would still be here or holding the title.
Mixed Martial Arts has become a big part of your life. Has that altered your style of wrestling at all or helped with in-ring ability?
Punk: Yes and no. It’s hard to try to translate a lot of stuff. I prefer to throw kicks and elbows instead of punches, but that was always a part of me. But I’ve always been a fan, so I don’t know if that stems from MMA. But I try to keep my pro wrestling, pro wrestling.
You mentioned Chris Jericho has never been “The Man” like you’ve been. Can you elaborate? Jericho has held world titles in the past.
Punk: Sure, but there’s always, I think, somebody that has overshadowed him. I guess an argument can be made that John Cena is still “The Man.” But the numbers don’t lie with merchandising, ratings and everything else. We’re not trying to hotshot the title around or play hot potato with it. We’re giving people a champion they can believe in. And Jericho was never really that guy. He was never really, I guess, the ambassador John Cena has been and that I’ve been lately. That’s what I meant by that.