As we previously reported, former multi-time WWE Champion CM Punk sat down for a discussion with the Collider Live! podcast this week. During the conversation, Punk went in-depth about why he finally made the decision to depart from WWE and what’s holding him back from doing something in wrestling again.
“Talking about wrestling and me doing anything in the wrestling arena, it always feels kinda weird and uncomfortable because there’s so many variables. The number one thing for me is I will never put myself in a position where I can be harmed ever again,” Punk explained. “And there’s a lot of trust that goes into that. I mean, I gave up myself to a point where I look back at it and if I didn’t leave and walk out, I would be dead because nobody else was going to do it. Because I was sick, and I was hurt, and I was messed up, and the people put in place to make sure – to help, they’re not helping. It is what it is, but I begged for time off for I don’t know how long; I never got it.”
Punk is under the impression that WWE has changed the way they handle situations like his. Punk claims that the emails he obtained during his lawsuit battle against WWE ringside physician Dr. Amann prove that the higher-ups in WWE were completely disregarding his mental health while traveling full-time with the company.
“People tell me it’s different now. Apparently you can go home with the sniffles or you can call in, and I say that – and I’m even mad at myself right now for saying that because it’s almost as like I’m trying to shame somebody, but if you’re sick, you’re sick. Go home. If you’re hurt, you’re hurt. Don’t wrestle. But because of the lawsuit, I have mountains of paperwork they had to send over for discovery where they’re discussing all these intensely, crazy private things, but I’m not involved in the conversation,” Punk said. “They’re talking about my mental health, like, ‘Oh, do you maybe think he’s depressed?’ And everyone’s just, like, ‘I don’t know but he’s got to wrestle in Europe for two weeks.’ And it’s just, like, ‘Whoa, slow down.’ As a member of the office, shouldn’t you put a hold on that and take this guy off the road and be, like, ‘Hey, we were talking – maybe you’re depressed.’ But no, [that conversation never happened], not with me. They had it internally but they never mentioned it to me.”
Punk commented on the idea of there being a union for performers in pro wrestling, saying that there’s “no such thing”.
“No, that’s why my stance when people are all like, ‘Oh, the boys! The boys!’ There’s no such thing, there’s absolutely no such thing,” Punk stated. “And if you think there is, then chances are you’re on a different level and I don’t mean a higher one. And I don’t mean any disrespect, it’s just where I was at that time, it’s insane how it’s not a ‘real’ sport but it’s more cutthroat than a real sport.”
One of Punk’s close friends from his time in WWE and a former multi-time World Champion in his own right, Dave Batista, apparently disagrees with the way that Punk chose to leave WWE. Punk thinks that his departure was the only choice he had with his physical and mental health dwindling and no one willing to step in to give him time off.
“The funny thing about me and Dave [Batista], too, is that Dave 100% disagrees with me the way that I left,” Punk said. “But we’re both grown-ass men who can talk about it instead of just throwing stones. I feel I went about it the way I had to go about it because nobody else was going to take me out of that situation. I mean, concussions, and I had a staph infection, and it’s not getting dealt with, it’s not getting helped and their concern was, ‘He’s just got to go out there and wrestle, he’s got to go out there and wrestle.'”
You can watch the full clip in the video above. If you use any quotes from this article, please credit the Collider Live! podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.