Source: The Hot Clicks Podcast
I take this responsibility very seriously. When you are the champion and you are on top, you're pulling the train. It's the tradition in pro wrestling where everybody thanks everybody. 'Thank you for the tour.' The guys on top are the ones that are drawing the houses. You're the reason why everyone on the undercard is getting paid. I get being spooked about that. We've done it way too often with guys like Wade Barrett, Sheamus, with me. I remember the first time they made me champion. Raw ratings went up. I got numbers, house show attendance went up. Then it's like you just constantly cut these guys legs out from under them. After awhile it's just like everyone's middle of the road.
Clashes with Vince McMahon: "There was the Tony Atlas story. Tony wrote about it in his book but I didn't read it so I don't know exactly how accurate it was. I was ECW Champion at the time. I was still living in Louisville, Kentucky. I would go to OVW still and I would maybe work a Dark Match for them and watch the show, talk to guys. Long story short, there was some backstage OVW politics that unbeknownst to me was going on. I went up to Tony to introduce myself because he was down there to talk to the guys about saving your money and drugs and what not.
"I said, 'Hi, Mr. Atlas. My name's CM Punk. How are you doing?' He grabbed my arm and he's like, 'What is this?' I didn't get where he was going. I was like, 'I don't know what you're talking about. Oh the X's. I'm straight edge and I explained it to him.' He's like, 'No, no, no, your arms. They're taped up.' I was like, 'Yeah, yeah, I tape up my arms so I can 'x' up. It's a straight edge thing.' He looks at me and he says, 'It looks like you have two broken arms.' I was just like, 'Great, okay.' I didn't know where he was going and I was confused. 'Okay, sir, alright.' He said, 'I don't think you get it. If you don't listen to your coaches, you're never going to make it to television.' Then I was like, 'Alright I appreciate whatever this is. Thank you, sir.'
"Then I worked the dark match and we had this great dark match. It was like this eight man tag and there was a whole bunch of talented guys in it. Then in the post show meeting, Tony Atlas goes on and on about how everyone's great, everyone has a great attitude, the show is great, the only match he didn't like was that last one. That last match sucked. There was a guy in it with a bad attitude. He basically just started singling me out. I had already lost my mind at this point. I stood up like legit De Niro, 'Are you talking to me?' He was like, 'Yes, you have a bad attitude and I'm going to put it in the report and I hope you get fired.' He said a lot of ridiculous things.
"I stood up and started walking down and was like, 'Are we fighting?' It turned into this big legendary thing where he just started giving me a bunch of s–t and I gave it right back to him. I was like, 'Look, I'm on television and I'm one of Vince's champions.' It turned into this thing and two weeks later we were in England and Vince is like, "I need to talk to you for a minute.
"He's like, 'The Tony Atlas thing – what happened?' I explained to him the story and he's like, 'These old timers don't watch the show. You got to be respectful.' He said, 'Sometimes, you just got to eat a little s–t. I eat s–t all day. I eat red s–t, green s–t, blue s–t, all kinds of s–t. I'm eating s–t all day.' I laughed and I looked at Vince and said, 'I had eaten enough of his s–t and I was full and he looked a little hungry so I thought maybe he wanted to eat a little s–t of his own.' He smiled and said, 'I like that. That's good.'"
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