Former WWE superstar, CM Punk, sat down for a lengthy discussion with the 31 Thoughts podcast on Sportsnet about his journey from a youth watching wrestling to where he's at currently while away from in-ring competition. Punk revealed that when he was still an adolescent, he would join forces with his friends to put on backyard wrestling shows.
"I for sure did [think about being a pro wrestler as a kid]. I kind of liken it to being in a band; I didn't know how to do it so you wind up just screwing around with your friends in the backyard after a pay-per-view, right? You're excited, you're a bunch of high energy kids, and you'd just body slam your buddy on the lawn," Punk said. "That's just kind of how it all started. That was the nucleus of it all."
Back then, Punk didn't have his finishing moves established like the GTS (Go To Sleep) or Anaconda Vice. In fact, Punk admits that the only thing that he's kept with him from those backyard wrestling days is his in-ring name.
"I don't think I had [a finishing move]; I think I lost all the time," Punk said. "No lie, I was CM Punk. That was my name when I was fifteen-years-old rolling around in the backyard."
When asked about who his dream opponent would be for a wrestling match, Punk was sure he wanted it to be Steve Austin. However, Punk actually prefers the in-ring style of "Stunning" Steve Austin from his days in WCW as opposed to the "Stone Cold" persona from the Attitude Era. Punk mentioned how competing against stars like Dusty Rhodes in the past has helped him get in-tune with that old school wrestling he enjoys so much.
"The opponent [I would choose] is probably more difficult," Punk said. "Actually, if I were to pick an opponent, it would be [Steve] Austin. Obviously everyone knows him as 'Stone Cold' - I would probably rather wrestle 'Stunning' Steve. Yeah, he was the best wrestler at that time [in WCW], like '94. There was nobody better. For the sake of the big match, I think CM Punk/Steve Austin from the attitude era. But I always felt like I was a man out of time and I was told that by a great many legends - Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, Terry Funk, so many old school guys.
"I wrestled Dusty - nobody knows this. It was a six-man tag right before I signed my contract with WWE," Punk continued. "So, it was this weird Florida convention. The match was completely insane and bizarre - it was myself, Kevin Sullivan, and Abdullah The Butcher with Harley Race as our manager against Dusty, Dustin, Mike Graham, and who did they have in their corner? They had someone in their corner and Mick Foley was the ref. It was the most insane match, like all these legends and then me."
Rumors have been swirling lately about CM Punk potentially returning to to the pro wrestling realm, whether as a performer or as on-air personality for FOX's WWE Backstage show. Punk had tried out for WWE Backstage recently and said that he has yet to hear back from FOX regarding the audition.
Punk said that he could see a place for himself in the current wrestling landscape, but indicated that it would be as a producer or an agent. He also noted that WWE has changed a lot since the last time he wrestled there.
"You're probably better off asking somebody who's there now [how the business has changed]," Punk stated. "From when I got into the business until I got signed by WWE it was drastically different; from when I left, it had already changed, done a 180, and now I can only imagine it's even more different. It's completely alien to me by now.
"Looking at it objectively and trying to put myself in someone else's shoes, yeah, I think there absolutely could be [a place for me in pro wrestling]. Just knowing how many people they hire to micromanage everything, and they have agents, and producers, and this, this, that. Yeah, I think my greatest tool was my mind because I was never the most athletic, I certainly wasn't the biggest. I imagine myself like in baseball terms, I was like a five-tool player but I always tried to tell the best stories and use my brain."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Sportsnet with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.