Punk Speaks – Facing Austin Or Jericho At WM, Honoring Savage
CM Punk stopped by Mix 106.1 in Philadelphia for a “CM Punk Christmas” with Brian Soscia of The Soscia Network. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
His current injuries: “I don’t think anything’s broken. I’ve been working with a broken hand for about a month and a half now so I’m relatively in better shape than I planned on being, honestly.
What got him into wrestling as a kid: “I think everyone just being larger than life. I always say the Piper and Snuka and the coconut. It’s like all those memories bleed into one after awhile. I just remember being like, man, this is crazy watching all these guys and all the monsters Hogan used to fight. Randy Savage was obviously the man.”
Paying tribute to Randy Savage with the stars on his tights: “The four stars – my ties are the Chicago flag, the four stars on the Chicago flag. Yeah, it’s an homage a little bit to Randy. Everyone was bigger than the world it seemed.
“I kind of got into this because I was a GI Joe and they all had code names and real names. I just wanted a code name. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just live life like my favorite superheroes or cartoon characters and stuff like that. I just decided I could and I did.”
How his parents reacted when he got into wrestling: “I don’t think they ever supported the idea or supported me until like all of a sudden I was, I guess, famous which I don’t really think I am. I try to downplay it as much as I can. I realize the scope of how I’m seen and everything but I don’t think they really cared until I was in the WWE.”
His fame: “I’m not like The Situation from Jersey Shore who like all of a sudden got ridiculously rich and he thinks he can boss people around and have all of these ridiculous demands. I’m very much in tune with where I came from and how hard I worked to get here and I appreciate it. I don’t think a guy like that really is. I think he’s handed all this stuff and, yeah, I can use him as an example because I can kick his ass.”
Working with Sgt. Slaughter having a GI Joe tat: “It blows my mind every time I see Sergeant in the locker room… He knows (about the tattoo). I always see him and I’m like, ‘Sergeant,’ and I salute him. It’s great. It’s two-fold because he’s a GI Joe guy and he’s a hell of a pro wrestler. Talk about somebody I look up to.
“When I was growing up he was kind of out of sight, out of mind until he did the whole Iraqi sympathizer thing… He was getting death threats and stuff like that; that’s tremendous. That was his job and he did it great.”
A potential match with Steve Austin or Chris Jericho at WrestleMania and who he’d like to face: “Who would I like at Wrestlemania this year? I’ll explain it to you like this. Steve Austin, the biggest star in the wrestling business, period. Bigger than Hulk Hogan by a landslide, I might add. I don’t think Steve is going to come out of retirement for anything less than the main event at Wrestlemania, nor should he. When you talk about a guy like Dwayne. Dwayne should not come back for anything less than the main event of Wrestlemania. So the main event at Wrestlemania was booked in stone a year ago. It’s Dwayne versus John Cena. It is what it is. I’m not guaranteeing anything but we got awhile until Mania and then we got a whole 365 days until Wrestlemania 29 and I think I can talk a lot of trash and maybe coax Steven into putting the boots on one more time. I’m not promising anything. I’m sure he gets annoyed when I talk about it but I got to be me.”
If he gets nervous: “I had somebody ask me yesterday if I ever get nervous. This somebody doesn’t really know a whole lot about what I do, somebody I recently met. I hate kind of explaining it to people. When I meet somebody who doesn’t know who I am, I get excited. I’m like, ‘Oh, this is great. This is fantastic. I don’t have to talk about work. I don’t have to explain anything. I don’t have to answer questions. I just get to be me.’ I was explaining to her that, no, I don’t really get nervous. I can count on one hand how many times I get nervous a year. I love high pressure situations. I thrive on it. It makes me feel alive so when I do get nervous I take it in stride and it just lets me know that I still love this.
“Wrestlemania is one of those times I get nervous. It is the biggest show of the year, all eyes on you. 70,000-80,000 people and not to mention all the people around the world who are watching you live. When you think about it, it gets kind of daunting. I love those situations. It’s like, ‘Hell yes, everybody look at me. Watch me rise.'”
The last time he got butterflies: “I’m going to say last night [at TLC]. I felt it last night. High pressure situation – no John Cena on the pay-per-view. CM Punk is the champion. I’m supposed to carry the load and I take that responsibility extremely seriously even though there’s guys in the locker room that I’ve been wrestling with for 10 years. I still look at them as my crew. I take it very seriously. I’m the General on the ground and I’ll be the first one on the ground and I’ll be the last one off. We’re going to war; that’s the way I look at it. I very much take my responsibility as a leader very seriously. It’s not like a we don’t need John Cena sort of thing and John gets it.”
His altercation with Tony Atlas at Ohio Valley Wrestling: “What it boils down to is a misunderstanding. Tony was unfortunately a victim of backstage OVW politics. The true story is Al Snow, for whatever reason, hated the Major Brothers who is now Curt Hawkins and the broski, Zach Ryder and would give them grief. These guys were on the road, working house shows and if they weren’t they were doing RAW and ECW on Tuesdays and they would get back and do OVW TV. They weren’t released from developmental yet at the time so Al would make them do the weekend shows. They didn’t get a break and they are hard working kids. For some reason Al had a boner for them and he’d constantly give them grief and treat them like crap. They had their wrists taped and it turned into this big thing where they’d try to hassle them about it. ‘What happens when you have a taped fist match?’ Stuff nobody cares about. So it was a thing.
“Tony was down there talking to the kids about saving your money and doing all that stuff. I was still living in Louisville at the time and I went down there to help out, and I wound up working a Dark Match main event. I had my wrists taped. I didn’t know any of this was going on. I was there on my day off. I thought I was being a nice guy. Tony comes up to me and starts talking about the wrist tape. I didn’t know what was going on. Tony says, ‘If you don’t listen to your coach I’m going to write you a bad report and you’re never going to get called up to TV.’ I was just like, ‘What? I can’t win this fight.’ I said, ‘Thank you sir. I appreciate the advice. I’ll take it into consideration.’ I’m not going to be like, ‘I’m on television. I’m the ECW Champion.’ It turned into a big thing.
“I just saw Tony last Monday. I was in the hotel gym in the morning doing sprints and he popped his head in. We had a cool 10 minute conversation… Like I said, he was just down there and he was a victim of Al Snow’s weird OVW politics. He tried to make the Major Brothers feel like dirt for whatever reason.”
The ECW Arena no longer hosting wrestling events: “It’s not my call; I don’t own the building and I was renting it out to people who wanted to give me money to use it – I don’t know why I would exclude anybody. I got a feeling it might change. Maybe the fans will be vocal about it and something will give. Hopefully it does. I think the coolest thing that ever happened in that building in my life is that’s where I met Joey Mercury. We’re family now so that’s the cool part about that building for me.”