Marc Raimondi of ESPN did a feature on CM Punk that included a behind-the-scenes look at his big return to AEW, along with comments from Punk himself. In the article, it was noted Punk signed his AEW contract just 30 minutes before his debut appearance on last month’s Rampage.
Before all of that, WWE had apparently reached out to Punk around December 2020 to potentially bring him in, but because WWE “played games” things never really got serious between the two sides.
“I remember one of the first things I ever said to them was, ‘Above all, don’t play games,'” Punk recalled. “And they played games. Some things never change. … When you enter a conversation with people you have a past with and you know who they are, how seriously can you take it? I know exactly who they are and they just continue to prove it. I’m trying to be as diplomatic as I possibly can.”
During the conversation, Punk also discussed how his passion for wrestling weakened, in part, due to how not only how WWE treated its talent, but how wrestlers treated each other. In previous interviews, Punk has stated the backstage handling of Brodie Lee — and how the locker room kept it quiet until his passing — was a big reason he decided to give it a go with AEW.
Punk felt ultimately its best for wrestlers to look out for number one because if they were considered family, pro wrestling would have a union by now.
“To me, honestly, there’s no such thing as ‘the boys,'” Punk said. “If there was such a thing as ‘the boys,’ there would be a f***ing union. And too many times you see people just get so unfairly treated and there’s a whole locker room full of people who would be — if it was them — be like, ‘Hey guys, help me.’ And I was one of those people.
“The business is always going to be the business. It’s built the way it is. I will always tell individual wrestlers, you have to protect yourself. You can’t expect other people to come to your aid. I found out the hard way. There’s other people that it’s still happening [to]. You can be loyal to a company that wouldn’t piss on your ashes, if you burned alive, or you could just make sure at the end of the day that you’re happy and you’re healthy.”
Punk is scheduled to wrestle his first AEW match against Darby Allin at tomorrow’s All Out PPV.