CM Punk Talks HBK & Austin Match, Tag-Team Wrestling, Topping Himself and More
CM Punk was interviewed by audience members at a Comic-Con in Austin, Texas. Here are some highlights.
On anyone he wishes he could have been in the ring with: “I wish I could have been in the ring with Shawn Michaels. I tagged with him a lot, but I never got to actually wrestle with him which sucked. Shawn — he’s close to here, right? In San Antonio? Right, well, Shawn needs to come out of retirement so I have something to do. I get bored, you know? Oh, and that other guy Steve Austin. Whatever his deal is.”
On what dream match between other superstars he wishes he could have seen: “I don’t know, I mean, I’m a wrestling fan. I like all sorts of stuff. My fandom doesn’t just exist within the WWE Universe. I know it’s happened a lot but I would have liked to have seen it in person, a Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Harley Race match or something like that.
“You can do fantasy warfare where you take someone like Harley in their prime vs. a Samoa Joe in his prime. I think that would be pretty cool. There’s a billion — I mean, selfishly, I would say me vs. Shawn Michaels or that other guy Steve Austin, whatever his deal is. [Laughs.] But, that’s a good question. I’ll probably be thinking about that all night now. Thank you.”
On whether or not a weak tag team division hurts younger talent: “Does it hurt them? Maybe.Tag team wrestling used to be an attraction just because it was something different. That is the biggest way you learn in this business. When I had Serena with me — actually, we’ll use AJ as an example. AJ wants to have her gear on and she wants to be in the ring every day. And that’ll come, I mean, she’s like 16-years-old or whatever she is. I tell her all the time, number one, this isn’t going to last forever but she’s got a good head on her shoulders. I think she’s got a pretty bright future.
“So, the stuff she’s doing now or the stuff she was doing when she was at ring side and invovled in matches with Daniel Bryan and I’ll throw my name in that hat, too. Sounds a little egotistical. But, you learn more just standing there and then I would take her into the back and I would explain things to her.
“When I had Serena, I could communicate to her without even saying anything. I would look at her and she would know various things to do. So, when you’re out there and our young guys are on the apron, I would like to think they’re paying attention. I mentioned I was tagging with Shawn Michaels, I was a spunge. I just sat there and I watched and then when I got tagged in, I went in and did whatever the hell I did but I was paying attention to everything. That’s how you learn so you are right in that aspect.
“It hurts a little bit but it’s the world we live in now. It’s not like wrestling world is going to cease to exist because of it. But it is something I wish we’d see more of.”
What been one of the hardest to do throughout his career: “When you operate at a very high level which — contrary to what probably a lot of people may think — I do, I mean, I’m on TV every Monday, I’m wrestling Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Tuesdays and all this stuff. I think at times it’s hard to top yourself. That’s why moments are special. I can’t go out there and do a 2011 C.M. Punk/John Cena Money In The Bank match every night because the circumstances are always different.
“But I think that when you have a moment like that or you have that Las Vegas promo, people always want that. So, when you always fall short of that, either now you suck or you only have one good thing in your career. You see what I’m trying to say? It’s hard to always operate at that level.
“Conversely, if I went out there and I did always do that and it was always ridiculous and crazy, those moments wouldn’t mean anything. It would all be the same. The hardest thing is just keeping my finger on the pulse of what you guys want and going out there every Monday and trying not to be stagnant. Putting a little bit of a spin on everything and making it fresh, interesting and different. I mean, that’s difficult.”
On what advice he’d give someone that wanted to get into the business: “Just get in the business. I know that sounds kind of condescending, but that’s what I did. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a wrestling school where you had to go and get trained. So, when I started, to me, it was like starting a band with me a couple of friends. ‘OK, I’ll play bass, you play drums, you sing, somebody will play guitar,’ and you do that.
“For us, it was, ‘Let’s wrestle. OK, now we need a ring, let’s build one. Now we need to buy one,’ and so on and so forth. I did that and I drew the ire — did everybody see my DVD? Well, I pissed off a lot of people because there was this wrestling sub-culture in Chicago and they were all like ‘you’re a bunch of backyarders.’ I was like, ‘Well, what do you mean? What’s wrong with that?’ ‘You’ve got to get trained!’ I was like, ‘Oh, OK,’ and I went in and got trained.
“To me, it was like no harm, no foul. That’s what you’ve got to do.”
On whether or not he has input on his merchandise and his favorite and least favorite shirt: “Yeah and maybe you’ll hear different but you have 100% creative control. I mean, you’re not going to be like, ‘Put a big middle finger on my shirt,’ and they’ll be like, ‘Alright.’ But, the way it happens is that they’ll come to you and say, ‘It’s time for anew t-shirt Punk.’ ‘OK, let’s do it.’
“They’ll come to me with four designs and I’ll be like, ‘Ehh, no. This one is OK.’ For instance, I wanted a bright yellow shirt, I wanted it to be the most obnoxious thing. So, when somebody is wearing it, you can see it. Olus, with me being a bad guy now, I’m kind of weird and on the fence about even having merchandise now. But, I figured if I mad it super ugly, the little kids wouldn’t want to wear it. But, obviously, I got control and you can tell by that shirt. That one was all me.”
“My most favorite shirt? Probably The Ramones shirt because I actually had to call up Marky and he gave me my blessing. That one was cool. I mean, they’re all cool to me for different reasons. Seeing the taped up ‘x’, that’s wild to me because being a straight edge kid and being such a small percentage of the general population. Then, having straight edge stuff plastered all over the place is pretty crazy to see.”
On whether or not any injuries still haunt him and retirement: “Yeah, I think most famously, I fractured my skull ten years ago. That sucked. I had surgery on my elbow a couple of years ago. That made me never want to have surgery ever again which also made me think about people that have elective surgery and how stupid they are because surgery sucks. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% by any means, but I’m not broken down and beat up to a point where I need multiple surgeries.
“And that’s why a lot of the time you hear me say, ‘Yeah, I want to retire,’ because I do. I don’t want to be one of those guys that’s having multiple surgeries and still doing this. That’s not fun. That’s not fun for anybody, you know what I mean? I’m beat up and a lot of the time my elbow still sucks. [My left one] does and I separated my AC joint in my shoulder and I never got that fixed. So, that’s always there. Both knees aren’t what they used to be but it could always be a lot worse.”