CM Punk managed to break the internet without having to balance a champagne glass on his buttocks.

It’s the story of the year. Bigger than Sting’s debut at WWE “Survivor Series.” Bigger than Daniel Bryan’s neck surgery. Bigger than Nikki Bella becoming Divas Champion (sort of).

We all have closure when it comes to wondering why Punk abruptly left World Wrestling Entertainment after the “Royal Rumble” pay-per-view.

His appearance on Colt Cabana’s “Art of Wrestling” podcast covered all bases. It was a fulfilling two hour show that put to rest a litany of rumors that had been circulating for a better part of 2014.

I opened myself up to his version of what transpired over the last three years of his career, while paying close attention to every word he muttered.

I’m glad I did.


“I do not love this anymore. I’m f–king sick. I’m f–king hurt. I’m f–king confused. I don’t know, as a business, what we’re doing anymore. Every day you tell me this is a team effort, but every day it’s a f–king individual effort by me to find what’s necessary to even f–king come here. It’s not fun. I have zero f–king passion for this. I’m f–king concussed. I’m f–king hurt. All you care about is what segment I am, how soon I can get my f–king gear on and when I can pee in this f–king cup. I don’t want to do it anymore.”

Those are the words of a disgruntled man who had reached his breaking point with a company he felt had unfairly abused his body, mind and soul.

“You have shackled me. You have creatively stifled me. You have made this a very toxic environment. I no longer want to be here.”

All Punk ever wanted was to be the main event of WrestleMania. In his mind, he deserved the opportunity to close the biggest pay-per-view of the year in front of the largest crowd.

“When you look at the roster, how many active members of the roster have been in a WrestleMania main event? How do you expect anybody to get f–king better? AHL hockey players have to play with NHL hockey players in order to get better. I needed the experience of a main event at WrestleMania with someone who was equal or better than me so I could learn, so I could further become an asset to the f–king product.”

He makes an extremely valid point. There are only so many times you can place part-timers in that spot (ex. The Rock, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar). Those names aren’t the bread and butter of the roster. They make sporadic appearances for the biggest shows, yet they’re barely around to keep television ratings up, attend Live Events or put over young talent.

As hot as Punk was during his run, he never managed to get over that hurdle. Even as WWE Champion at WrestleMania 28 against Chris Jericho, he was in the shadow of The Rock vs. John Cena.

WrestleMania 29? His bout against Undertaker was the best of the night, yet Rock and Cena closed for the second year in a row.


When those aforementioned part-timers needed a credible opponent to work, Punk was always called from the bullpen to do the job.

The Rock defeated Punk for the WWE Championship at “Royal Rumble.” He also won the rematch at “Elimination Chamber” the following month. Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak rolled through the Straight-Edge superstar for his 21st victory, making it three-straight pay-per-view losses in a row.

Losing to Lesnar at “SummerSlam” was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Punk was constantly putting over guys who never stuck around afterwards, hurting his stature with the common fan in the process.

How could he be a top-level talent if his shoulders are always being pinned to the mat? With the exception of his “Elimination Chamber match with Rock (which he didn’t want to do because he needed time off to nurse his injuries), there was never any continuation to any of those storylines. They were one-off affairs that amounted to nothing.

Punk was better than that. He wanted more.


Creative differences wasn’t even the biggest reason he wanted out, though. His body had reached its breaking point. He was working all the time, embracing his leadership role and doing what was necessary for the betterment of WWE.

It was too much.

Punk worked several months with MRSA, a very serious staph infection. It’s resistant to common antibiotics, so it needs a very specific kind of medicine to treat and cure.

According to Punk, Chris “Doc” Amann (WWE’s primary physician who he refers to by name) avoided the issue and prescribed broad-spectrum antibiotics to tide him over. The gigantic lump which grew on his waistline was causing him an immense amount of discomfort, yet Amann always found a reason to avoid cutting it out.

It was only when AJ Lee (his future wife) told Punk to visit her doctor in Tampa Bay that the correct diagnosis was made. If he had waited any longer, there is a very good chance that it could have killed him.

Whether it’s negligence or sheer laziness, not treating Punk’s symptoms with the utmost of care is unacceptable no matter which way you look at it.

All AJ’s doctor had to do was stare at the lump to tell how serious the matter was. That’s scary.


About a concussion he suffered during the 2014 Royal Rumble match:

“I got a concussion in the Royal Rumble. It’s pretty god d–n obvious. I knew I had a concussion. Everyone knew I had a concussion. And they were like we want you to take this test and I said your test is bulls–t. I took the test while texting you [Colt Cabana] and listening to my headphones and I “passed” with flying colors. But then they were like we want you to go to the ring and run the ropes. And I was like but I just passed your test and they were like yeah, but we still think you have a concussion. I was like so your test is worthless. I’m not going out in the f–king ring like a two-week rookie to run the ropes in front of everybody. Let’s just call it [a concussion] now.”

I pray that WWE’s concussion policies are more grounded than what Punk described. Their testing can’t be overly reliable if they had to make him run the ropes to confirm their results.

In response to an article by Yahoo Sports, WWE said the following:

“WWE takes the health and wellness of its talent very seriously and has a comprehensive Talent Wellness Program that is led by one of the most well-respected physicians in the country, Dr. Joseph Maroon.”

Professional sports leagues like the NFL and NBA have strict guidelines as it pertains to the treatment of concussions. While WWE is attempting to follow that same path, it appears that they have a ways to go before matching their peers.


We all have the right to be happy. There’s no point in being miserable and loathing every day with hate and disdain.

Punk, by his account, is content. Leaving World Wrestling Entertainment was the best thing he could have done. He has a beautiful wife, free time to work on any project he so chooses, as well as the financial stability to (probably) live comfortably for the rest of his life.

We should all hope to have something even slightly resembling that.

His relationship (or lack thereof) with WWE, Vince McMahon and Triple H is forever tainted. We’ve seen the company reconcile with disgruntled employees in the past, but this feels different.

Punk’s passion for wrestling is shot. It’s non-existent. It may never return.

We may never see him compete in the squared circle again. He may never be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

It is what it is. An explanation has been granted. We’ll also get a chance to hear even more when he returns to the podcast to answer questions from anyone willing (and polite) enough to send them to Cabana.

If I were in his shoes, perhaps I would have followed suit and looked for any reason out. Maybe I wouldn’t have lasted as long.

Very few people in sports entertainment have the testicular fortitude to stand up for themselves the way Punk did. It should be commended and replicated throughout the remaining roster.

His life won’t be defined by his time in WWE, nor should it.

Punk owes us nothing. He never did.

Go 2 Sleep.

Note: I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of some of the other juicy stories he regaled fans with during the show, including how WWE decided to terminate his contract on the day of his wedding. 

For a full look at the podcast, click here


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