Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or Big Show’s ass, then you know about the Podcast heard around the wrestling world. On Thanksgiving eve, CM Punk, former WWE superstar and purveyor of Pipebombs, took to Colt Cabana’s art of wrestling Podcast to finally speak on what drove him from the WWE. In true Punk fashion, he wasn’t shy about exposing all of the reasons involved in his decision. The audio is below.
Not in a direct response, but WWE Network, which has been a great product, but has yet to find the success it hoped for, unleashed their own live Podcast: Vince and Stone Cold one-on-one. This was created to keep those who signed up for the free month of WWE network on board, but the timing couldn’t have been more “Curt Henning” as the Chairman himself was forced to address CM Punk in a real, non-scripted, way.
Now there are a lot of Smarks out here bashing Punk for taking his ball and going home, because in their mind WWE can do no wrong. At the same time there are Punk stans who don’t watch the WWE product as much as they once did, and are quick to say, “Told you so, They’re evil! ROH is where it’s at!” Both sides have their points, but I think if you look at both interviews without bias, it points to several huge problem within WWE that needs to be solved. Vince as an owner sees the flaws in his product, and Punk as a worker sees even bigger flaws, and if you put them both together, WWE may be headed to disaster if things don’t improve across the board. So beyond juicy gossip that people live for, what did we really learn from these Podcast Pipebombs.
5 Things To Be Taken From Punk/McMahon Podcasts:
5) There is no real WWE Wellness Policy: The two big shockers during the Punk interview were: 1) WWE fired him on his wedding day, he didn’t quit on the fans. 2) WWE doctors allegedly let him wrestle for months with a Staph Infection and multiple concussions. The health thing is the most troubling because we saw what taking headshots did to Chris Benoit. We’ve seen how Mick Foley walks. These guys need to be protected, and often times from themselves. We all know that the WWE drug policy, post Chirs Benoit, has been scrutinized, and over the years everyone from Chris Masters to Randy Orton has been dinged for drugs to prove that a system is in place. However, it’s not about steroids these days, but the actual health of these performers. The WWE created a concussion test after the NFL was sued for assloads of money by former players. Punk went through these tests and passed, but he HAD A CONCUSSION!
While some fans have said, “Well, it’s his own dumbness for wrestling when he knew he was sick or hurt.” But they don’t get it. Pro wrestling, much like Football, is one of these industries where if you don’t push through the pain and perform, you lose your manhood and could possibly lose your spot. Right now Daniel Bryan is at home healing and I’m sure Triple H and Vince are pissed. Bryan has the balls not to risk long time injury and stay home. CM Punk on the other hand wanted to badly to prove that he was “John Cena Tough” that he let the WWE talk him into coming back sooner than later on several occasions. Yes, Punk should have known better, but it’s the company’s responsibility to protect the macho men from their own pride and stupidity. As for the Staph infection story, Punk could have literally died, and that was negligence on the doctor’s fault. So the question remains, why are they spending so much money on piss tests that don’t’ really matter, when they should have a wellness plan to monitor injuries and the psychological damage being done by wrestling hurt?
4) Vince McMahon isn’t out of touch, just scared: Punk told a story about wanting to walk out on a UFC PPV with a fighter, but Vince shot him down, because he doesn’t understand what the UFC truly is “Someone may die in the cage!” He also shot down various angles, because he just didn’t get it. In Vince’s defense I don’t think he is that out of touch given his age. However he is afraid to rock the boat. The WWE is a publicly traded company, it has shareholders to report to, partners, sponsors, etc… In today’s world of the easily offended, Vince doesn’t want to compromise his brand or his championship unless it’s a calculated risk. In the 80’s and 90’s WWE had to take chances to grow, at this point the risk is not worth the reward because Vince realizes that the WCW/WWF boom isn’t going to happen again just because one of his guys gets huge mainstream exposure.
3) Jim Ross Was The Glue: Stone Cold, who obviously sees a lot of himself in CM Punk recalled his own walk out. Back in the early 2000’s Austin didn’t want to wrestle Brock Lesnar on Monday Night Raw with zero build up. So he “took his ball and went home.” Stone Cold regrets it now, but back then he felt like Punk, burned out physically, and frustrated creatively with the storylines. It was Jim Ross who reached out to Austin, proved his friendship, and was able to put him and Vince back on the same page. In CM Punk’s instance, he walked out because of Triple H wanting to wrestle him at Wrestlemania 30, and the reluctance to put Daniel Bryan in a main event match in favor of Batista and Orton (which changed after Punk left). When Punk was home, Triple H texted him. Punk told Trips that he was about to get married, but would call him when he got back from his honeymoon. The next day CM Punk was fired via Fedex. Now, it’s not Triple H’s job to play Jim Ross, but why is there no one in WWE corporate that has the love for the talent to reach out when they are unhappy?
I’m not going to pretend to know how the WWE hierarchy works these days, but there should be a person in Talent Relations that does more than just fly down to NXT and shake hands. CM Punk shouldn’t have walked away… but at the same time WWE shouldn’t have just let him walk away without a discussion. They shouldn’t have suspended him without a conversation. Most importantly, they shouldn’t have fired him without seeing if they could come to an agreement. Jim Ross didn’t allow Austin to walk away without first hearing his side of the story, WWE never gave Punk that opportunity.
2) Triple H is Everything We Thought He Was: I’ve always been a Triple H fan. His marriage to Stephanie, his new corporate role, it never seemed underhanded or fake. Having read nearly every wrestling biography, the picture of Triple H is consistent across the board as one of a guy you can’t really trust unless you are “one of his boys”. While some of these guys like Bret Hart and Hardcore Holly, are bitter to begin with, there has to be some truth in the stories they told about Triple H kissing Nash/Hall/Michael’s ass to get in good. In CM Punk’s first Pipebomb interview he indirectly mentioned Hunter as the one holding him back, and the one who didn’t like him even in the New ECW era.
During the Podcast it all came to a head as Punk confronted Triple H the night he left and said, “You’ve never liked me.” I believe that. Wrestlers are people too, and we all form “Kliqs” and you help your friend and bring in new people who you can relate to. Triple H can’t relate to CM Punk, outside of a love for wrestling. The same thing probably is true of Daniel Bryan, which is why The Authority storyline worked to a certain extent, it was truth. It’s not shocking that Triple H didn’t like Punk, that he wanted to wrestle him at Wrestlemania to insure himself “match of the night” and a hefty bonus. We all know Triple H is about Triple H, and there is nothing wrong with that. If anything, maybe WWE should drop the “fired” storyline and use this reality to push Triple H in the same way they pushed Mr. McMahon after the infamous Montreal Screwjob. If Triple H is a real life Dick, let him loose and own up to it if this is "The Reality Era".
1) There Is No Post Cena Plan: I’ve said this for years, after John Cena, WWE will sink, not to the point where it goes out of business, but it will get damn close. That was my opinion, but now it’s a fact. CM Punk called WWE creative out about having him lose to The Rock who would only be around for three PPVS. He then called him out about having him lose to Brock, who would only be around for three PPVS. Why has WWE become a Job machine for Part Time Wrestlers??? Vince McMahon answered Stone Cold the same way he answered Punk: The business has changed and we must rely on special attractions to get viewers. To spell it out for you, John Cena is the workhorse, he’s there to put asses in seats every Monday and on House Shows. Brock, Sting, Rock, Taker, those are the guys that people will pay to see outside of the average WWE fan who will always watch. Focus on the Special wrestlers, burnout the guys that show up every night, because they aren’t that special.
That makes sense from a business standpoint—for now. However, Undertaker is probably finished. Brock has about six months left on his contract then he’s going to leave for the UFC again or just retire. Sting only has one match on his contract. The Rock will probably only show up twice next year. What this means is that the Special Attractions stuff ends soon. What are you left with when you can’t pull any more old wrestlers out of retirement? You have Cena wrestle Orton in yet another gimmick match for the 100th time on a PPV. You bring Jericho out to feud with a midcard wrestler for the 70th time. You pay a Boxer or a Movie Star, to wrestle a bad match… you get where I’m going. Ever since WCW died, WWE has been getting away with having a thin roster, and injecting old wrestlers in every few years.
Vince McMahon was asked by Stone Cold what he can do to make the next superstar. Vince responded that it’s up to the fans. He mentioned that Cesaro isn’t over because he can’t talk and has no charisma. He mentioned that no one in the locker room has any ambition. Vince F’ing McMahon called out his entire non-Cena roster with the exception of Bray Wyatt and The Shield guys, as being WEAK AS F**K. It’s all true. CM Punk, made similar statements that no one speaks up or really wants to push the envelope because there is no WCW to go running to if you get fired. Stone Cold pointed out that walking backstage everyone was afraid! Vince McMahon wants guys to get over, but guys are too pussy to get over because if you go out and cut a promo, that Triple H doesn’t like, you’re done and off to the graveyard called TNA or stocking shelves at Target like Shane Douglas.
It’s not Vince’s fault for becoming the King of Wrestling, and I can’t knock guys like Kofi and Dolph for wanting to just keep their jobs. However, we as fans are suffering because WWE has become such a tightly run ship that doesn’t inspire creativity or envelope pushing. What’s the biggest story this year in wrestling? A Friggin PODCAST from a guy that doesn’t work at the company! It’s not Brock beating Taker, The Shield Breakup, or Hulk Hogan’s return—it took CM PUNK to get the mainstream websites fired up about wrestling again. So how can WWE use this to make a better product? CM Punk is not coming back to the WWE anytime soon, Ryback isn’t suddenly going to become The Rock, and John Cena has a good five years left in his tank, so we’re going to keep seeing the same old song and dance. What I would love to see come out of this CM Punk revelation is for the WWE to start listening to the fans, to give some of these newer guys the green light to go out and try to become the next Stone Cold without worrying about their job security. If even one or two guy can use that Punk interview to fuel a change in their character’s direction, then CM Punk will have succeeded with changing Pro Wrestling forever.