CM Punk recently spoke with ESPN and said there's really nothing else to his upcoming Starrcast III convention booking during AEW's All Out weekend in Chicago, besides the appearance. He was asked about making the appearance.
"They asked if I wanted to do Starrcast. That's basically it," he said. "There's no mad scientist formula to it. I hate traveling. I've turned down offers to do signings in other places. It turns into a mission to leave town just to do a signing and stuff. I like to take time with everybody and make sure everybody has a good experience. I try not to just shuffle people through a line. For those of you who don't know what it is, it's not just somebody shoves something in front of me, I sign it and it's on to the next. I really try to make sure everybody has a story to tell or an experience. Sometimes it can be exhausting. The biggest thing was it's in my hometown. I get to go for one day, I get to have fun, I get to give back to the fans, so to speak. And I get to go home and rest afterward."
Punk was asked if he has a relationship with AEW. He reiterated previous comments on talking with AEW, but nothing coming of those talks.
"No," he responded. "I know they like to talk about me a lot. If I text Matt Jackson, 'Hey, have a great show tonight,' which I did when they had their big show in Vegas, that somehow turns into Tony Khan telling people he has a great relationship with me. I've said in the past I've talked to them, but nothing ever came of anything."
Regarding an expectation from fans expecting him to be at AEW All Out, Punk said if there is an expectation, it's been built by the fans.
"I think if there's an expectation, it's purely been built by them," Punk said. "My silence to some fans means something. They're trying to read the tea leaves, but there's nothing to read. I even feel like talking about it may feel like I'm putting some sort of negative slant on it, but I'm really not. The fact is I know they've teased me ad nauseam, and if anybody is gonna get mad it's at me because I don't show up. Well then, I don't know what to tell you. That's one of those things that's none of my business."
Punk was asked what he meant by being teased by AEW. He explained, "They do videos where they talk about me. They're constantly talking about me in the media. And again, maybe this sounds like I'm badgering them, but I'm not. It's just something that happens. I'm a popular guy to talk about. But I'm not doing interviews talking about them. If people ask me about it, I say no, I won't be there."
Punk was asked to clarify that there is nothing imminent with AEW. He added, "The last thing I got -- I got a text from Cody [Rhodes]. And again, I almost don't even know how to reply to them sometimes, because if I reply, they do interviews and are like, "Oh yeah, I just talked to Punk." I'm kind of damned if I do, damned if I don't. I always think if somebody wants to do business with me, they can come talk to me. Texting offers isn't really a way to do good business, at least."
He continued, "It was texted through three people and an offer came in through text. This is like a month ago, maybe." Punk was asked if it was specifically an offer for All Out. He responded, "I think it was just a general offer. I never could have done the last one in Vegas [Double or Nothing], because I was in California for CFFC."
Regarding his MMA future, Punk confirmed that he does not have a date for his next fight but he's still on the UFC roster and still doing USADA drug testing. He was asked if he feels like his MMA future will be more on the commentary side instead of inside the cage.
"Yeah, maybe," he responded. "It definitely feels like that. There's a gray area, obviously. Man, I would love to get a W, but I'm f---ing old. Training camps aren't easy when you're old and you have as many miles on your body as I do. I break everything down into, "Do I love this? No, I don't love it? Then I'm not gonna do it anymore." And training and CFFC are things that I very much love to do, so I'm gonna continue to do them. I've said a long time ago, you never say never, and I think it's kind of a billionaire's mindset -- if somebody offers you something, you say yes to it and then you figure out how to do it."
Punk wasn't sure if being on the UFC roster, if the promotion has to offer him fights contractually. He said, "That I have no idea about, but I will say that I'm a different animal compared to most people. I think I'm just kind of floating right now. But have I been offered anything? No, I haven't. Every time somebody calls me, though, I'm like, "Oh, this is it, I'm cut." I think I've come to terms with it. I'd be like, 'All right.' There's people out there that will read this interview and for some reason complete strangers will get furious about what's going on in other people's lives. I don't pretend to say what's fair and what's right. I just roll with the situation I'm in. If I was gonna fight again, should it be in the UFC? Probably not. But again, I'm not gonna ... be like, "Hey, you should cut me." It'll happen or it won't happen. I'm not worried about it."
Punk, who said he plans to do more acting in the future, said he doubts he will be involved with pro wrestling, in any way, by the end of 2020. The interview said anything is possible, and he agreed.
"Anything is possible, but I've been saying this for five years, man," Punk said. "People are mad at me. I don't understand how a stranger can get furious at somebody else. It's like if I was walking down the street and saw somebody cutting grass and I'd be like, 'Why the f--- are you cutting grass? I want you to work at that f---ing Wendy's! Go work at that Wendy's!'
"It's f---ing amazing. There's obviously a negative side to that, but I just try to focus on the positive side of that. There's fans, there's people's lives I've touched, and to bring it full circle, that's the biggest reason I'm doing Starrcast. I try not to whore myself out to every single signing. I literally do one a year."
The interview noted how the questions have intensified for Punk because of AEW, which is an alternative to WWE. Punk said he gets it, but he's not the same guy he was when he left WWE.
"I get it," Punk said. "But also there's a weird thing, and I don't know, it's just across entertainment as a whole, but I'm not that dude that sat down on a stage in Vegas eight years ago. I'm not the dude that left WWE. I'm not that guy. That was five-years-ago Phil. I'm a different dude now. People still have that connotation, like, "Oh, he hates WWE." And it's just like, no, I've let all that go, and I've let all that go so long ago. But there are people that hold on to that. They still think or want me to be who I was. I'm not who I was yesterday. This is my journey, this is my odyssey.
"I equate it to just like MMA training. I'm competing against myself. For better or for worse, it's in the public eye. So obviously people are going to broadcast my failures. Success quietly hugs you in private, and failure slaps you in front of the world. That's just life. People just don't [take that into] account when they're talking s--- about you on Twitter, or when you stumble and fall, they laugh at you. It's just like they don't realize that I'm shielded from that because I don't care. I'm competing with myself in all avenues to be a better teammate, to be a better husband, to be a better athlete, to be a better actor, to be a better writer. All these things. And it's just life, and I f---ing love it. I love it so dearly. And when I can do cool things, I do cool things. Sometimes I trip and fall and s--- happens. I pick myself back up, and I go, 'Well, f---, what's next? All right, let's do it.'"