AEW star CM Punk joined The Angi Taylor Show to promote his first match in seven years at AEW All Out this Sunday, where he’ll wrestle Darby Allin. Punk also talked about his now legendary debut on AEW Rampage: The First Dance on August 20, and whether or not the nerves were getting to him that day.
“I was freaking out a lot,” Punk revealed. “It’s like riding a bike, but also you don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s doubts. I think when you’re an entertaining and you’re on that stage, that doubt always creeps in. Because I think as human beings, we want everybody to like us. And I think you come to terms pretty quickly with that and you develop the tough skin. I’ve also developed the courage to be disliked in a way. But in my hometown, there’s no way that was going to happen. It was like a big party. I was nervous, but as soon as my music hit, that all washed away, it all washed away.”
During the interview Punk referred to WWE largely as ‘the place I used to work’, as opposed to by name. He explained that he felt it wasn’t necessary to mention the promotion he worked for from 2005 to 2014 if he didn’t have to.
“I understand life’s tough and not everybody can do it, but I’m just somebody that will just never compromise myself,” Punk said. “And I say the place I used to work, because I don’t feel it’s specifically necessary to mention them when I don’t have to. I am full of anxiety and stress doing press for AEW right now that I’m inadvertently going to say a whole bunch of stupid stuff. People are going to break it down and use out of context quotes for clickbait.
“But the reality is you can’t talk to me, coming back after seven years, without bring up the place I used to work. I’m just trying to do my best to not sling mud so to speak, because everything I say about them is 100% the truth. I just want to focus on and highlight the positives of the new place I work, AEW. I’m trying here, I’m trying.”
To that point, Punk also revealed that a return to WWE was never, from a logical standpoint, in the cards for him. He also revealed he hadn’t even considered a return to pro wrestling until about three years ago, due to a lack of an AEW in the wrestling landscape.
“I don’t think I considered it,” Punk said. “Three years ago, five years ago I don’t think AEW even existed. I don’t think going back to WWE was ever really, logically, on the table.”
Punk also answered fan questions, including one that asked what moment, prior to his return at Rampage, got him the most. He pointed to a brief conversation he had that evening with one of the top stars of AEW’s Women’s Division.
“I’m going to call out Thunder Rosa,” Punk said. “I was a nervous wreck the whole time, I’m pacing the hallway, I can’t sit still, I can’t watch a monitor, I can’t talk to people, I’m running around. And then I’m waiting to go out, waiting for my music to hit and she (Rosa) just looks at me says ‘hey, welcome back!’ I almost just burst into tears. She got me pretty good with that one. I don’t know if that was her intention, but yeah, she got me.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Angi Taylor Show and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription