CM Punk: Best In The World Starrcast III Recap

CM Punk: Best In The World Starrcast III Recap

Below is a recap of CM Punk: Best in the World interview and discussion at Starrcast III in Chicago.

After an introduction by host Mike Johnson of PWInsider, CM Punk (wearing an AJ Lee t-shirt) takes the stage.

Punk jokes that he wanted Conrad Thompson to send a tweet out saying he cancelled due to being too sunburnt, but that would have been a bad idea.

In regards to other appearances at Comic Cons and related events, Punk calls every event a “pro wrestling environment”. He says he’s hosted other panels and he still gets wrestling related questions, and it feels like it’s because wrestling is very much Americana.

Punk on rumors he might be appearing at AEW All Out, or a WWE comeback, etc—when will he come back? Punk says it’s not weird, it’s flattering. He says he’s made his mark and thinks it’s pretty cool people still care. He says ‘when are you coming back’ is better than people asking when he’s going away. Punk says the rumors about him hosting a FOX WWE show are false, and he’s not going to be anywhere. He says he hasn’t seen his wife in awhile and he’s going to be hanging out with her tonight and will not be at AEW’s All Out.

Punk says he’s fortunate to have done all of the things he’s done in his life, and he won’t say ‘blessed’ but he’s done some pretty cool things. Writing comic books, starring in movies, and sleeping at home, hanging out with his wife and dog is what he enjoys. He says acting is great because he gets to still tell a story, it’s a lot of fun. He’s been a fan of the Soska Sisters and discovered their film Dead Hooker In A Trunk. Twitter allowed them to connect and work together.

Punk says he’s very critical of himself, but when he saw his film Girl On The Third Floor he was like ‘85 percent of this movie is my face. This is like a fucking nightmare.’ After the screening, he joked that he didn’t hate it. He says there’s been some cool comparisons to Bruce Campbell and Jack Torrance (The Shining). He can’t announce a release date for his other film Rabid.

Does he miss the politics or anything about wrestling? He doesn’t pine for it because he’s done it all. He says he doesn’t wish he did anything differently, and that’s the shortest answer he could give. Punk says he had a pretty good career and thinks a lot of his work holds up well. He says he doesn’t miss it because he thinks he did enough in his time.

Is there anyone he comes across now that he’d entertain working with in a perfect instance? Punk says before he left, he recalled a time in 2010 when he was in San Diego at the same time as Steve Austin and asked him to work with him. Punk says he was going to work a dark match and wanted Austin to hit him with a Stunner to pop the crowd, then he set up the segment with the heels and it was a fun, goofy thing. He says that might be when Austin took a liking to him, and he started prodding Austin for a match. He thinks there was a ‘sliver in time’ where the match could have happened, but it didn’t. He looks at that now and wonders what could’ve been, then cites Marty Scurll as a guy that interests him. Punk says he knows who Will Ospreay is, and he doesn’t watch wrestling but he’s seen clips on Twitter and is blown away.

Mike talks about Punk opening the door for new talent and wrestlers taking time off, and Punk looks blown away that Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch took time off and got engaged. They keep the gag going by saying Finn Balor did the same…. and Punk came home to get legal papers. Punk says he doesn’t know if he really had anything to do with that, and he’s asked for time off ad naseum, but maybe now they won’t get burned out and split like him.

What would’ve made Punk stay with WWE? What would have made it different? Punk says no one talked to him. He says he didn’t think he’d make it to WrestleMania and cites Jon Moxley’s staph infection, and says he needed to go home. Punk says Vince handed out a two-month suspension that ended the day after WrestleMania, but no one called him. He says they finally got a hold of him two days before he was getting married, and he wanted to talk after that, but then the ‘magical’ FedEx envelope showed up. “Could they have done something different? Yeah, they could’ve fuckin’ talked to me.”

Punk jokes that he’d go back just to request some time off. Would he take a call from Paul Levesque or Vince McMahon now? He calls it a weird situation with the suspension and he’s been over it for a long time. He’s 40 years old and very Zen, and maybe before he was more confrontational back then but not now. Punk says this will probably get taken out of context, but he would have a conversation with anybody. He’s not reaching out or calling WWE, but it they contacted him he’d at least listen. Johnson says the door is unlocked, but he’s not opening it. Punk says he had a pretty good career and he’s let go of the personal stuff, but if they didn’t talk to him then, why would he now?

Is the WrestleMania main event an ‘unmarked check box’ in his career? Punk says wrestling culture can be very toxic, and it’s like that in sports. He talks about never missing live event loops, but there are a lot of things that need to be addressed to keep talent healthy. Punk says there should be an offseason, they need a neurologist on staff and should have better doctors… Johnson says let’s not go down that rabbit hole. Getting back to the WrestleMania main event, Punk says that mechanism in his head doesn’t exist now. He knew around the time of WrestleMania 29 that he wasn’t getting that spot for awhile, and then he started working to make as much money as he could. Punk says it might not make sense, but he either wanted what he asked for (the main event) or money.

On the rumor that Punk was upset he was wrestling Undertaker at WrestleMania, he doesn’t remember being mad about it. Punk says he pitched ideas to make the match better and make himself a threat to The Streak, but he wasn’t mad.

On Harley Race’s influence and passing, he says the last few years weren’t kind to Harley, and it’s almost like a relief. He says Harley watched everyone else around him pass on, and he never thought he’d wrestle Harley, but he got to work with him in Mid-America wrestling with Harley as a ref. Punk says Harley told him not to do the ‘1-2, 1-2 shit’ and it was a light bulb that Harley helped set off that he didn’t immediately see. Punk also shares a funny story about Harley throwing up in his car and being advised not to pull over. He says Harley was covered in puke and asked Punk to forgive him, then leaned in and hugged him after Punk accepted. Punk says he has a story about Ultimate Warrior and Harley that he can’t tell, but says there’s one about Harley carrying a taser and scaring people with it.

On Ring Of Honor’s status when he was there and working his series with Samoa Joe—he says there wasn’t really any pressure, but he went out there to have fun and have good matches. Punk talks about TNA not wanting him to work for ROH and Gabe Sapolsky thinking he was leaving, then says he was the one to suggest the 60 minute draw to extend the program. On memories working with Samoa Joe, Punk says you can see his fingerprints on certain things, then jokes about being responsible for the rash of 60 minute draws after that, but says Joe was a ‘peach’ and he hopes Joe is happy now.

When going to WWE, was it hard to remove himself from that since back then, Ring Of Honor served as a hub for wrestling. Punk says it sucked because he was going into the unknown, but he was at a point where he needed to prove himself. “You climb a mountain and you realize, oh shit, there’s another mountain.” He doesn’t think WWE was ever his final stop. He wanted to wrestle in Japan and got to work there, but it ultimately didn’t work out. Punk says he got tired of being jerked around and went back to ROH and made something good happen domestically.

Johnson brings up another story about when Punk was ECW Champion and he had a beef with Tony Atlas in OVW. Punk says after he met his commitments with OVW, he was free to leave Louisville but decided to stay there, and Joey Mercury told him about signing with TNA. Punk wanted to work a dark match with Mercury, but it spirals out of control and ended up being an 8-Man tag match. They were going over the match in the locker room, but Tony Atlas came in and mocked his wrist tape, saying it looked like Punk had two broken arms. Atlas repeated himself and Punk told Atlas it’s just something he did, but Atlas advised Punk to listen to his coaches or his “wouldn’t get called up.” Punk says he thought this was just how Atlas behaved, but after the match Atlas said the match was nice, but “one person was an asshole.” He says Atlas went on about his strength and praised others, but then Atlas made it known that he was calling Punk and asshole and then went at it verbally. Punk says Atlas didn’t know their names and he was brought there to do an anti-drug and financial speech because he didn’t—Punk responds to the ‘oooh’s’ and says they’ve since hashed this out. He says Atlas told him he’d never make it to TV, and Punk said he’s already on TV!

He transitions to talk about the more archaic practices in wrestling hierarchy, and how someone told him to clear the air with Undertaker. Punk wasn’t sure why he’d do that when Tony went at him, then talks about how people wanted to get him fired for trivial reasons like having the wrist tape. Punk says he eventually went to Undertaker and asked if Taker heard any good stories, and Taker laughed it off.

Going back to wrestling Undertaker at WrestleMania, he says he felt like there was a disconnect with making him win a Fatal 4 Way for the chance to face Taker. He talks about Michael Hayes explaining why Punk was going to lose to Kane, and how he went to Vince McMahon and was told he’d be more over as a heel with the loss. Fun fact—Paul Bearer’s ‘ashes’ were really cat litter, and one guy in the audience sounds bummed. Punk says he didn’t think he should lose clean on the way to Mania, and calls it a difference in philosophy.

Does he think Vince ever ‘got him’? No. There was always a fight or a conversation, and that’s what Vince enjoys, but he doesn’t think Vince or HHH got him. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. When Punk lost to HHH after he was gaining steam, HHH told Punk he tried to get the finish changed but says that’s the politics game. Punk called the finish a bad idea, but Vince said he knew best because he’s been doing it for so long.

What can he hang his hat on with his WWE tenure? Punk says his favorite memories are working with Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan, and talent with different styles. Johnson brings up Punk’s Money In The Bank match with John Cena and how Cena is transitioning to acting—Punk says working with him was easy and recalls when Cena let him call what he wanted in the ring. Punk says he broke down the ‘John Cena comeback’ in a logical way and Cena appreciated it, and working together was great. Punk says people were worried about their ‘spot’ before, but it wasn’t like that here.

Is the MITB match in Chicago one of his happiest moments? Not really. Punk says he didn’t sign a contract with WWE until that day, and he got what he wanted. The match ending wasn’t even decided until he signed the day of the show. Punk says it was a great moment, but he was always happier to help someone else get one of their own big moments.

Punk is asked about his promo style, and when he knew he would excel on the mic. Punk says he thinks it was always there from being a punk kid running his mouth. He says he couldn’t beat anyone up, but could still talk shit, then jokes “have fun with that one, internet!” Punk says it was easy to rile people up by talking, and he was always striving to be better.

Punk on writing the Drax comic while Dave Bautista was playing him—he wrote it in Jim Starlin’s voice, not Dave. On his wife’s book (Crazy Is My Superpower)—has Punk ever thought of writing a book himself? Writing one book, sure. Writing three books like it would be needed? No, because he’s tired of being sued. He feels like they should be able to speak the truth, then jokes that he saw the hell AJ went through with hers and jokes that he isn’t sure he wants to experience that.

Johnson brings up The Rock calling Punk while standing in a WWE ring. Punk says it’s still wild that people chant his name. He says people that never saw him wrestle but hate his guts, and that’s a testament. Punk says he was going out to walk his dog when the segment happened, and his phone blew up so fast that he thought someone died. When he got out of the elevator and outside, he realized what exactly happened and he texted Rock back immediately. Punk says The Rock was so smart because he went along with the chants and created a cool moment, and he did in fact hear people backstage were upset and there were a “few broken headsets” back there. Punk says he hashed things out with The Rock about being a dick in the past, but they got something positive out of it.

Punk says he’s not sure he was a dick to him and recalls when they were supposed to wrestle each other. Punk brings up an earlier story for context and says was going out for knee surgery and he says Vince called him after surgery and put him in a TLC match with Ryback, and says he hung up on the initial call. Punk says they shouldn’t have announced the match before checking with him, but he ended up being a good soldier. Punk says he’s not sure if he’d met The Rock before that, and recalls having a crash course meeting with each other and some of the writers where he was pitched a script for a promo. Punk says they didn’t do things the same way and they “had a one on one conversation in a crowded room”, but they ended up making peace and Rock said it was water under the bridge.

Punk says he pitched an all-star team / Cannonball Run style movie to WWE ten years ago, then the ice cream bars pitch comes up. Punk thinks they eventually will bring them back, then Johnson explains how The New Day’s pancake platter works. Punk says The New Day cereal is a smart move.

Punk says Kofi’s title run and success should have happened ten years ago, but at least now Kofi’s kids can experience it with him.

They talk about DC vs. Marvel for a bit and Punk says the “Us vs. Them” debate applies to wrestling too. He says it doesn’t matter if it’s WWE, AEW or NXT—“Don’t let either company trick you into thinking it’s ‘Us versus them’”. Punk says “You can fucking watch it all, and that’s rad.”

Punk on how he defines happiness? Punk says life is complicated, and politically he’s never seen anything like the current two party system. He thinks if you don’t think someone’s good enough because of race or background, he’s done with you. Punk says he’s always been this way, but his wife is brown. He recalls a story about a woman in Milwaukee telling AJ to “go home” and he thought he might be wearing Cubs gear, but the lady yelled it at AJ. He says he’s privileged because no one’s used the color of his skin against him, and AJ was bummed, but he said people need to be held accountable for their actions. He says next time he’d deal with it on the “9 o’ clock news” and his happiness is his wife and dog. Punk wants to do things to make people happy, and he doesn’t publicly boast about it. He feels like he’s always trying to bring people with him, and he’s empathetic to people in the world. He thinks this world will be a better place, and getting back to the AEW vs. NXT “war”, Punk says it’s good for the fans and that’s what matters. He says let the promotions pretend there’s a war, the fans can just watch it all and enjoy.

To wrap things up, Punk says people have their own version of who he is in their head, but it’s not up to him to live up to it. Punk says people shouldn’t behave that way either, then says Twitter is an infinitely better place since he discovered Twitter verification and notifications. It’s been much more enjoyable and Twitter isn’t real life.

Punk is told they are well over time and jokes that he needs a vacation to wrap up the show.


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