As we get closer to CM Punk making his debut in UFC he is hitting the media circuit as many fighters do. That being said not many of those fighters use the opportunity to set fire to their former employers. Of course during these appearances Punk will be asked about the WWE because that is what brought him into the mainstream consciousness. He just can’t resist the chance to tell everybody how bad the company was in his eyes.
After being gone 2 years you would think some of that venom may have died down but not for Punk. The funny thing is that he sounds like a little bit of a hypocrite sometimes. In a Rolling Stone in 2015 Punk this to say about WWE politics…
“For the longest time [in] what I did, the competition wasn’t that clean-cut. It didn’t matter if you were the best. There’s slimy backstage politics, there’s always somebody trying to undercut you. To me, there’s something romantic about just you and another guy locked inside a cage and the better man wins. In that time and space, nothing else matters. I definitely think it can be f–king scary, but I like embracing the things that scare me.”
Yes, in the octagon it is about who is the best man but I think Punk knew that the WWE is scripted and that there are other elements at play that will get you to the top. Also he has been given a spot in the UFC that he would have been pissed about in the WWE. One of the main gripes he had was that he was not a part of more main events and headlining Wrestlemania when he left. How guys like The Rock got prime spots while working part time. At least people like Rock, Undertaker or whoever were legends who actually put time in the profession at some point in their life.
What has Punk done in MMA? Nothing compared to anybody he would face in the UFC. He is having been gifted a spot in a legit sport at its highest level, while there are people who work their whole life and knockout guys in dirty bars and clubs around the country for 20 bucks dreaming of an opportunity. Why does CM Punk get this coveted seat at the table, it’s because he was a professional wrestler at the biggest company in the world. This is the reason why the card says CM Punk and not Phillip Brooks because the real name doesn’t sell. Dana White is trying to make money and he knows that Punk will PPVs and this is what Vince McMahon when he gives a prime spot to The Rock.
The opportunity to be a pro wrestler at its highest level has provided Punk with the ability to train and survive the injury setbacks for 2 years until he made his debut. Most of his MMA counterparts did not make that kind of money to or have the notoriety to rest and heal to get their body right before their big break. Leave it to Mr Brooks and he was treated as an indentured servant…
“Back in I want to say, 2011, my contract was up and they were trying to re-sign me and they were trying to re-sign me for lowball figures,” Punk said.
“It’s what they do to the guys. They’re indentured servants,” he continued. “They try to pay them the smallest amount of money you could possibly pay them. There’s no health insurance. You’re responsible for your own travel, your own hotels, your own food on the road. You’re home once a day, maybe. I did that 10 years to get to the WWE and then I did it 10 years there, so my gas tank was empty in that regard.”
Now in my experiences indentured servants never lived a life as good as Punk and they don’t get paid. NCAA athletes are treated more like indentured servants and most people scoff at the notion. Yes, pro wrestlers are responsible for their own travel, food and health insurance and its always been that way in the business. They also write all of that stuff on their taxes at the end of the year too as business expenses. Judging the bus CM Punk was showing off in his bio DVD “Best in the World” I don’t think he figured out how to make those trips as painless as possible.
After his initial interview with Colt Cabana in 2014 when he left the company, I thought we heard the worst he had to offer. You all remember the one where he totally destroyed poor Ryback even though he probably wishes he didn’t since Ryback is at odds with the company now. The same interview where he basically accuses the WWE doctor of being criminally negligent. Not that I cape for WWE but I think it’s just a bad look to keep finding ways to say something bad where you used to work especially when you are using the benefits of being their former employee to your advantage.
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr