CM Punk was on a recent episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone where he talked about his time in AEW so far. He also discussed some highlights from his career, most notably his infamous “pipe bomb” promo.
The promo was the catalyst for many lapsed fans to return to WWE and watch the product, and it helped create many new fans as well. Punk talked about if he expected the reaction from the promo, and he revealed the reaction backstage after it was delivered.
“No, I don’t think so, and I always tell this story, too,” Punk stated. “When I was done with that, I remember walking back up the ramp on the fly, thinking, well, I can’t go through the curtain because I just did this promo. If I go through the curtain, kayfabe-wise, I’m fist fighting somebody. I went side stage, which was just another little tiny thing that made people go, hmm, that was weird. And when I got into the back, there was nobody anywhere.
“Backstage is normally just buzzing with people in the hallways. It was empty, and I remember looking around like, ‘geez, what’s going on?’ And I walked past the curtain through Gorilla and everybody in the company was jammed into the tunnel, waiting to see me come through Gorilla because they figured the same thing. They were like, ‘oh man, this is gonna get real.’ And the first person I see is Chef Robert Irvine because he’s there with Gail Kim. And he just looks like he just got through like a Dorian Yates chest workout, and he’s just like, [Punk makes a jacked guy sound] ‘That was amazing!’ And he’s all fired up.
“He’s a guy that maybe doesn’t necessarily watch a lot of pro wrestling, but it resonated with him. And then I saw Chris Masters, and Chris Masters looks at me and goes, ‘Did you just hear what Punk said?’ And I was like, ‘Chris, it’s me,’ and he was like, ‘Oh, it is you. You’re gonna get fired, dude,’ and then I just walked up. It was a weird scene. I didn’t know it was gonna become as big as it did, but I knew just based off those reactions, we had something.”
When Punk made his AEW debut, he called back to the “pipe bomb” and sat down in the middle of the ring with legs crossed like he did before. Edwards asked Punk if there was any reaction that he did not expect from anybody in the business.
“No, I don’t think so,” Punk said. “I think everybody back there has game faces on, and they want to no sell stuff, but I had texts from some pretty lofty people in the business that I looked up to and respected. So, I knew I did some good television, let’s just say that.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.