CM Punk had a nice run in WWE despite the questionable booking decisions made for his character by creative. He didn’t fit the standard WWE mold for what a champion should look like or how they should act and the fans loved him for it. Often times it seems he was punished simply for being that way- different. In the 1990s that would have pushed him all the way to the top but in today’s corporate, charity-based marketing environment it often doesn’t pay off. Instead of a proper push for a guy like CM Punk we are more likely to get someone we don’t want at the top shoved down our throats.
Insert Roman Reigns here.
Punk left WWE and had an unsuccessful run in the UFC before finally re-emerging as a wrestler again in All Elite Wrestling earlier this year. He is still “straight edge“ meaning he is clean of alcohol and drugs and from all of the wrestling shoot interviews given by people in the business over the years he is a rare species.
Start watching Kevin Nash shoot interviews and you will ultimately ask yourself how are these guys still alive.
Punk recently appeared on the Dropping Character podcast and talked about how hard staying straight edge was for him in WWE.
There’s a lot of bullies in professional wrestling and a lot of it comes down to people being taught by the previous generation to hold onto your spot. ‘Somebody’s gonna take your spot, the young guys are coming up. They’re gonna take your spot.’ So me coming in, I was a threat to a lot of guys and me being straight-edge, not drinking, not doing drugs, I was a threat to other guys. They didn’t get that. They would try to bully me into — like weird peer pressure like, ‘Have a beer!’ I’m like, ‘I don’t drink.’ ‘Well why? Why don’t you?’ Just weird stuff that grown ass men should not be participating in. But I got thick skin. What can I say? And a lot of it translates to people — you get punished in their own special way. I don’t know if that stuff goes on anymore. It’s a different company [WWE] from what people tell me but yeah, the pro wrestling culture definitely a lot of the time sucked and you know, lesser people could break, quit or whatever. I just always kind of looked at it like, ‘Well, if I get fired, I get fired. I have a back-up plan and that is just to go back seamlessly into the life I had.’ I could always do that.
He is and always will be a true legend in the wrestling business and being able to do it squeaky clean is part of the reason why.