CM Punk Interview

cmpunk.jpegWWE is like watching a live rock band on stage beating each other up while at the same time performing an improv comedy routine.”
– CM Punk

Highlights from recent interview with CM Punk and review for Smackdown vs. Raw 2009:

“I’ve always been straight edge, I just didn’t know it,” says Punk. “I never smoked or drank or did drugs. Through music, I found out that there was this whole culture of people who were just like me and they called themselves straight edge. When I found out, I was like, cool, that’s me. It was something that made sense. I had a label for myself finally, and I ran with it. There’s a lot of pride in me with being straight edge. I have it tattooed on my body. And once I found out that there was a name for how I was, my life changed.

“I’m one of those old souls and I had just seen so much stupid stuff at a young age at parties. I always ran with an older crowd and my dad was an alcoholic, so I just never saw the reason to use a crutch. I’m a meet my problems head-on kind of guy. If there’s a problem, I want to take care of it. I don’t need to drink to forget about it or get high. That’s just not me.”

Punk, who grew up in the Chicago area wanting to be a wrestler, started pursuing his career with a dream and a computer, looking up local wrestling schools on the Internet.

“When I was 15 watching pay-per-views with my buddies, we’d go out in the backyard and roll around, goof off, and hit each other in the head with lawn chairs,” says Punk. “It’s just in my blood. I became obsessed with becoming a pro wrestler, then when I found a school, I ended up paying a bunch of money to get beat up every day. I was off and running.”

CM Punk on his finish move the Go To Sleep:

“The Go To Sleep is perfect for me because I use my feet and my knees unlike any WWE superstar in history. You pick that guy up, and the fans know what’s coming. You boost him over your head and knee him on the way down. It’s gravity. It’s poetic. You knock them out and they go to sleep. There’s just something about that that’s me.”

On the physicality of wrestling:

“Honestly, I don’t like getting hit with anything, but getting sent through a table is no picnic,” says Punk. “I think people don’t take into account how the table shatters, you get splinters, and you wind up chewing on wood for some reason. It’s like when you go to the beach and you get sand everywhere, after you get sent through a table, there is just wood everywhere. There are screws that end up sticking in your leg, so you end up bleeding. It’s not fun. People think the table just cracks and that’s it, but it’s a lot more painful than that.”

On Tommy Dreamer

“Tommy is a nut,” Punk laughs. “Fans would hand him steel pipes or sewer grates or whatever and he’d smack people in the face with it. Dreamer and I always joke around about how he’s my mentor and I’m his protégé. I’ve actually known Tommy for years and years and years and he’s always helped me out tremendously.”

On the ‘naysayers’

As for being called “greasy” and a “wannabe rebel”, the real Punk says he’s been called a lot worse in real life. How does he get past all the haters? “I think that has a lot to do with what I call PMA, positive mental attitude,” he says. “A whole bunch of people told me that if I went to WWE, I’d never make it. But it’s like I never heard them. I never listened. To me, I’m exactly where I belong. I feel like I was born to do this. Whatever your walk in life is, you pick what you want to be, then go ahead and be the best one.”

On Wrestlemania:

“Wrestlemania is extremely intense,” Punk tells me. Last year, Punk made a huge name for himself by winning the Money in the Bank ladder match in front of 80,000 people. “I came to the ring and there were still a couple of other guys who needed to do their entrances. I was trying to soak it all in, look at some faces in the crowd, get some focus points, and it was just so super cool.”

On his name, CM Punk:

Speaking of making a name for himself, it was time once again to play “What does CM stand for?” Punk loves messing with people about his name (he’s told fans it stands for everything from Cookie Monster to Charles Manson), and he always has a new answer for me whenever I bring up the topic. Last time we talked about it, he told me a story of how it stood for Chick Magnet. “I don’t know where you got that from,” Punk laughs, even though he’s the one who told me. “CM has always stood for one thing: Chicago Made. Chick Magnet? That’s preposterous. Girls don’t like me. I was born and raised in Chicago. The city made me. Punk is just because I’ve always been a smart-mouthed, wise-ass punk. I still am. I was the guy, if a bunch of football players were messing with one of my friends, I’d walk over there and spit in their face.”

“Are you just messing with me now?” I ask

“Could be,” he laughs.

The mystery continues (and he knows I’ll ask him again next time I see him).

Funny thing is, Punk thinks he has one of the worst names in wrestling. “I think CM Punk is one of the worst names in the business, but I am what I am,” he says. As for the other bad names in wrestling history? “I’m a big fan of unnecessary alliteration. I’m a big comic book nerd, so it always tickled me that everybody’s name is like Peter Parker or Lana Lang. So in wrestling, Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese was always a really good bad name.”

“Whose fault are the bad names, the talent of the creative team?” I ask.

“I think it boils down to being the wrestler’s fault. You don’t always have to say yes to everything. You can say: ‘No, I’m not a Rooster.’ It is intimidating and you don’t want to screw up or burn bridges, so a lot of guys, if they hand you something, they just try and take that ball and run with it.”

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