AEW star CM Punk joined WFAN’s Moose & Maggie to promote AEW All Out this Sunday on pay per view, where Punk will wrestle Darby Allin. Punk, now a veteran presence in the locker room, was asked if he would serve as a mentor to younger talent. Punk said he was willing to, but doesn’t want to come across as a know it all veteran.
“I don’t want to be a guy who thinks I know everything, because I don’t,” Punk said. “Part of this experience for me is continuing to learn. In 2013 I might’ve thought I knew everything. That was a great time for me to leave. And now I’m like ‘man this is great.’ I got to share a ring with Sting last night. I never thought that something like that would happen. And just talking to him, I’m learning still. I’m not going to tell the young guys I know everything, ‘hey, listen to me. Do it this way.’ I think that’s the beauty of it. There’s no right way.
“It’s like in Major League Baseball. There’s a million different hitting coaches that are going to tell batters a million different things. ‘Work on this, whatever.’ If somebody wants my advice, I’ll happily give it to them. If someone looks at me as a mentor, maybe. I have a wealth of experience that I can help these guys with I think. But I am in no way, shape or form there to fix anybody’s anything. I’m there to help if somebody wants it.”
Punk was also asked if he had any mentors during his time in WWE when he first arrived in the mid 2000’s. He described WWE as a shark tank and said most of his mentors came from his time prior to joining WWE.
“There were a few guys but it was few and far between,” Punk said. “I know the place has changed, but when I showed up in that locker room for the first time in 2006, it was a shark tank. And the culture there is very much, they would like to put guys against each other. ‘You want to try and steal that guy’s spot and take what that guy has.’ I’m a student of professional wrestling and a fan of professional wrestling, and I look at the history of professional wrestling. There were a lot of great territories where they had multiple top guys. Guys could rotate in and out.
“WWE seemed to be focused on the one guy, and they wanted everyone else fighting over banana peels to be that one guy. There were a few guys that helped me out in the locker room, but I’d say the majority of the ‘old timers’ that helped me was prior to WWE. Eddie Guerrero was a guy who helped me out. Harley Race, Terry Funk, Dusty Rhodes, Tracy Smothers. All these guys, they’ve been there, done that, and they were out of that system. And they loved helping the young kids. I felt there was a lot of people in the WWE system that maybe didn’t want to help as much as they could have or should have, because they were too busy protecting their spot.”
One talking point during several WWE media events has been Vince McMahon and Nick Khan being asked if AEW was competition for WWE. Here Punk was asked if WWE was competition for AEW. His answer was similar to that of AEW President Tony Khan.
“Yeah I think it be straight up telling a big old like if you said that you didn’t want to beat them in whatever metrics they deem successful,” Punk said. “If you ask them, they’ll say AEW is not their competition, which is great because I think everyone sees through that. If you ask us, I’ll say yeah, absolutely they’re our competition. However, we’re focused on what we’re doing. We’re focused on the people in the building that have paid to see AEW. And we’re not so much worried on anything else.
“I know that TNT executives love ratings. That’s what they’re business is driven by. I’m focused on the fans, and I think that’s how you grow the business. I think that’s how we’ll eventually grow AEW. If you’re talking about head to head competition with WWE, they have about a 30 year head start. AEW has been around for 2 years. I like what we’ve been doing and it’s fun again for me. So I’m not trying to bankrupt anybody, put anybody out of business. But it’s 100% competition. If you say it’s not, you’re fooling yourself, or you’re pretending somebody doesn’t exist or whatever. And I think you’re shooting yourself in the foot.”
You can watch the full interview below.