As noted, CM Punk took part in his “Best in the World” panel at Starrcast III today at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg, Illinois.
The special streamed live via the FITE.TV service.
CM PUNK: BEST IN THE WORLD STARRCAST III RECAP
-FITE.TV Starrcast hosts Scott Hudson and Mark Madden set the table and then introduced the Q&A host Mike Johnson, who introduced CM Punk. Johnson asked if it was fun or weird to be back in the pro wrestling environment for a little bit. Punk, who was wearing an A Lee t-shirt, recalled hosting a comic con panel and how it was a pro wrestling crowd.
-Johnson noted the rumors about Punk returning for either WWE or AEW. “When are you coming back is always a better question than when the f— are you going away,” Punk said. He said he won’t be anywhere. He said he hasn’t seen his wife because she was in Los Angeles and would be hanging out with her tonight. Johnson noted that some people will assume he’s working. Punk said that’s the nature of the beast.
-Punk spoke about being in his own bed every night or at least having days off and sleeping in the same bed for weeks at a time if he’s shooting a movie. He said he’s been very fortunate and thanked fans who have supported him. He said it’s cool that people have asked him to do movies and work on comic books and he’s able to do what he wants.
-Johnson asked about his movie work and playing someone other than CM Punk. Punk said it’s fun to tell someone else’s story. He said he’s had two roles in films and they are both jerks, so that tells you what his friends think of him. Johnson asked about the pressure of playing the lead role in Girl on the Third Floor. Punk said he watched the movie at a screening and it was a nightmare for him because 85 percent of the movie featured his face. People asked him what he thought of the film after the screening and he said he didn’t hate it, which is a compliment coming from him.
-Punk said there will be premiere events for Girl on the Third Floor in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Punk said he knew the premiere date for the movie Rabid, but he’s not allowed to say.
-Johnson asked if Punk misses the performance of pro wrestling and having fans react the way they did when he walked onstage. Punk said he doesn’t miss it or pine for it everyday, but he thinks it’s because he’s fortunate enough to do it all. Punk said the hard answer is no. “I think I did alright,” Punk said. “I think I had a good career.” Punk said he doesn’t miss it because he thinks he did enough with it and had a good career.
-Punk was asked if there were certain people he sees in wrestling that he thinks he could have fun in the ring with if he were to return. Punk recalled being in San Diego in roughly 2010 and asking Steve Austin to give him a Stunner after the dark main event. Punk said Austin noted that he’d been back several times and no one had asked him to do that before. Punk said he thinks that’s when Austin took a liking to him. Punk mentioned meeting Marty Scurll and thinking he was a nice guy, and Scurll saying he wanted to wrestle him, which Johnson said kind of puts him in the Austin position. Punk said he doesn’t know Will Ospreay, but he’s seen his clips online and seemed wowed by what he can do.
-Johnson noted how the landscape has changed and WWE wrestlers actually go on vacation. Punk was stunned when Johnson told him that Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch just went on a two-week vacation. The crowd laughed at Punk’s reaction. Punk questioned if it’s true that WWE wrestlers can ask for time off. Johnson said he thinks some of the change was because of Punk banging his head against the wall and breaking it down. Punk was still stunned. “Holy shit,” Punk said. “I don’t know if I had anything to do with that.” He said if he did it’s probably because he left after asking for time off ad nauseam. He said it it’s true they get time off then good for them.
-Punk looked back on asking to go home when he had an infection and finally just going home. Punk said Vince McMahon texted him four days later and asked if he was ready to come back to work. “It’s been f—ing four days,” Punk said. Punk noted that he was suspended for two days and said fine. He said he noticed that the suspension ended right after WrestleMania. Punk also said he found an uncashed royalty check that was over a year old. He said he reached out to ask if they would reissue it, but no one responded. Punk also recalled being fired two days after his honeymoon.
-Johnson noted that everyone who has had a public issue with WWE has ended up returning. He asked when the last time Punk had any conversations with WWE, noting that they could do things with the character even if he doesn’t want to wrestle. “I’d do it just to be like, I’m going to get some time off,” Punk cracked. He joked about signing a full-time contract and then going on vacation the first day. Johnson asked if Punk would be open to a conversation if Vince McMahon called. “I wouldn’t not talk to them,” Punk said. Punk said he’s 40 now and he tries to be as zen as possible so he wouldn’t make it confrontational. Punk stressed that what he was about to say would be used as clickbait. He said he would have a conversation with anybody, but he’s not calling them. Punk said he had a pretty good career and doesn’t feel like he has anything left to accomplish.
-Johnson recalled Punk’s desire to headline WrestleMania and questioned how he’s come to peace with that. Punk said he has friends who play baseball and hockey and there’s always a mentality to work hurt, which is also the case in pro wrestling. Punk said he thinks it’s something that needs to be addressed. He said there are people who will abuse the system. He said there’s a very real pressure from the office that becomes a “toxic masculinity thing.” He feels that pressure is a dangerous thing that gets people hurt and killed. He said he thinks it’s great that talent can ask for time off now, but they still need to address other things. Punk said every team and organization should have a neurologist on hand and added “they should have better doctors.”
-Punk got back into the WrestleMania question. He said it became evident on the last WrestleMania show that it wasn’t going to happen and he just wanted to be paid the most. Punk said he looks back and thinks he should have just asked for more money.
-Johnson asked if the urban legend is true that he was booked to wrestle Undertaker at WrestleMania. Punk said he doesn’t remember being mad about that. Punk said The Streak was a big thing and he was probably mad about how it was presented. Punk said if you’re just another guy facing Undertaker then that’s what you are. He said he wanted to be built up as a threat to Taker and he wasn’t, but he thought it was a good match.
-Johnson noted that Punk was heavily influenced by the late Harley Race. Punk said he wishes Race was still around, but at the same time the last couple years were cruel and so it’s also a relief. Punk said Race was in and out when he spent time with him in recent years in that he wouldn’t know him one moment and then would another moment. Punk said Race took a bump for him and that was cool. Punk noted that Ace Steel moved to Kansas City and worked for Harley and ended up buying his gym.
-Punk impersonated Race while recalling him telling him not to do all the “1-2, 1-2 shit” while he was refereeing his match. Punk also recalled giving Race a ride home and Race throwing up all over Punk’s new car. Punk impersonated Race telling him not to pull over so he could throw up because “it will alert the authorities.” Punk recalled Race asking if he could ever forgive him for throwing up in his car. Punk told him not to worry about it, then Race hugged him while covered in vomit. Punk said he and Steel had to drive the car back to Wisconsin.
-Johnson recalled Ring of Honor struggling and then Punk and Samoa Joe had their 60-minute draw and it changed the narrative. Johnson asked Punk about what it was like to carry the company on his back. Punk said he and Joe never approached it with that mentality and didn’t put that type of pressure on themselves. Punk also recalled TNA forbidding him and other talent from working an ROH show. Punk said a lot of people said they were going to work for ROH and then dropped out, but Punk said he’s an independent contractor and worked the show anyway.
-Johnson asked Punk for his memories of working with Samoa Joe. Punk spoke fondly of working with Joe and said he hopes he’s happy doing whatever he’s doing now.
-Johnson asked if it was tough for Punk to divorce himself from ROH after becoming such a big part of the company. Punk said he was entering the unknown of WWE, but he had to see what he was going to do. He said you climb a mountain and then you find another mountain. Punk said he didn’t look at WWE as “the final final.” Punk said all his heroes wrestled in Japan and he thinks All Japan in 1993 is the best wrestling of all time. He said he thought he made it when he went to All Japan and it didn’t work out. Punk said Gabe rebooked him and he decided to stay. Punk said he’s proud of that time in ROH and it was a place to get paid well and learn. Punk said it was hard to leave, but he felt like it was time to go.
-Punk was asked about a backstage story involving Tony Atlas. Punk said he became ECW Champion and finished up at OVW and didn’t have to stay, but he decided to stick around and hang out. Punk recalled Joey Mercury telling him that he was signing with TNA. Punk asked Danny Davis if he could work a dark match because it would be their last time working together. Punk said it turned into a four-on-four match. Punk was looking forward to the match because it was going to be fun. Punk said he was taping up his hands when Atlas approached him backstage and told him it looked like he had two broken arms. Punk explained the tape, but it didn’t register.
Punk recalled Atlas telling him that if he didn’t listen to his coach then he wouldn’t get called up to the big show. Punk looked down at his bag and the ECW Title was inside it. Punk said he thanked Atlas and went on to have the fun match. Punk said he was at the post show meeting when Atlas said most everyone was nice, but one person was an asshole. Punk said Mercury elbowed him and then he realized that Atlas was talking about him. Punk asked Atlas if he was talking about him. Atlas told him he’s an asshole, so Punk responded “f— you.” Punk recalled getting fired up and stressed that he and Atlas made their peace and hugged it out.
-Johnson asked what the fallout was from WWE management. Punk said people were suggesting he talk to Undertaker and he couldn’t understand why because he hadn’t done anything wrong. Punk said Nova (Mike Bucci) couldn’t wait to tell the office. Punk said he eventually went to Undertaker and asked if he’d heard any good stories lately. Taker laughed. Punk said he asked if they were good and Taker said yes.
-Punk spoke about working for Vince McMahon and Triple H. He said he doesn’t think they ever got him and noted that everything was a fight (I had some buffering issues, presumably due to watching NXT UK simultaneously).
-Punk spoke about some good memories of WWE, which included traveling with Kofi Kingston and working house show matches with Daniel Bryan.
-Johnson asked about working with John Cena and now Cena moving on from WWE. Punk said he liked working with Cena because he was easy and he thinks Cena was happy that someone else came in and took the reins. Punk said Cena was never worried about his spots. Punk said the same was true of JBL. He said there were always other guys who were worried about getting their spots in. Punk said he re-signed with WWE the day of his and Cena’s match in Chicago and the finish hinged on whether or not he re-signed.
-Johnson asked when Punk figured out that he had the gift of gab. Punk said he doesn’t know. He said he thinks it was always there and wondered if it stemmed from being a punk kid, getting beaten up, and still talking shit. Punk also recalled using different material based on the region or people in the crowd.
-Johnson was asked about writing an autobiography. Punk said it would be tough to write the three books it would take. He said he might have to leave things out and that sucks because people should be allowed to speak the truth. Punk also said his wife wrote a great book and joked that he wouldn’t want her over his shoulder.
-Johnson recalled The Rock trying to call him live on Raw from Staples Center. Punk said he was actually in an elevator at the time. Punk said it was brilliant of Rock to do that because the fans weren’t going to stop chanting his name.
-Hudson and Madden wrapped up the pay-per-view portion in mid-sentence from Punk. The conversation continued via FITE.TV.
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