WWE is featuring an uncensored interview with CM Punk in the October issue of WWE Magazine. Below are some highlights:
In your estimation, what do you feel is wrong with WWE right now, and what would you do to change it?
What's wrong with WWE right now is that there isn't enough youth. Most of the ideas are old. They worked in The Attitude Era or in the '80's—and I'm not necessarily saying that they're bad or they're wrong —but they need updating, they need tweaking. There needs to be some young minds spinning the webs, so to speak. I'm sick of seeing people who are excellent wrestlers get passed over for people who have abs or who were good second-string linemen in a European football league. I think there are a lot of people who, on their own terms, have made their own personas and perfected their craft simply out of love for what they do. They're not trying to be bodybuilders or footballs players who fail miserably and then call their uncle or their dad and say, "Hey, I'll give that wrestling thing a shot because I suck at everything else."
Why do you think it's such a strike against guys who—like yourself—are fans but aren't from a sports or bodybuilding background?
Now, this is complete speculation. I can't even tell you what somebody else is thinking. I can only say what I think works. And I'm not going to be right 100 percent of the time just like they're not going to be. Somewhere along the way I think we lost the Midas touch. This whole thing became uncool. I think the people who love it aren't going to go do something else if they get fired. Like Colt Cabana. He's a perfect example. He is a wrestler. If he gets hired and it doesn't work out, he's wrestling somewhere else the next day. He's not trying to shoehorn himself into an accounting job. He's a wrestler. He's always going to be there. So I just think if you love wrestling sometimes—maybe-you're punished. You're placed last in line. The attitude is: You're always going to be here, maybe we can use you later if we need you, but right now we're going to use this guy because he was good at college football, but he didn't quite make it in the NFL.
Another one of your gripes is about how the WWE Championship looks. How would you redesign the title? What is the definitive look of that particular championship for you?
Oh God. How long's this interview? Honestly, I think old Dwayne used to have a cute little blue cow on his title or something. Then, of course, Stone Cold had the Smoking Skull Title. I don't know. I think I could Straight Edge the hell out of that thing. A couple of "X"s might make it look good. Make it look like a title should look like, and not make it look like some sort of weird, rapper bling. I feel the definitive look, though, is what I like to call "Bret Hart's Title." I think everyone likes to call it the "Winged Eagle Title." That's a little redundant. I'm pretty sure most eagles have wings. That's the one that always sticks out in my mind.
This anger with your job has been festering for a while. Was there one moment backstage when you felt you'd had enough?
I can name one off the top of my head. How about main-eventing a pay-per-view as the World Heavyweight Champion against Undertaker and then, a few months later, being in a dark match against R-Truth at WWE TLC? That's pretty ignorant in my mind. This is the problem. We do this too many times to too many Superstars. It's a startstop kind of thing. The company likes to spotlight certain people. Like, "This week, Kofi's cool," and then, the next week, "We changed out minds we like Dolph this week." It flip-flops back and forth ad nauseam, and the next thing you know, the people couldn't give a crap about either guy.
When did the powers that be really begin to take your leaving WWE seriously?
I told them probably a year out. They would say, "Hey, how about we talk about your contract?" And I would just say, "No, I don't really feel like it." And they would say, "Okay, back off. Punk's crabby and temperamental. We'll get him next week." And the next week it would be, "Hey, let's talk about it." And then maybe eight or ten months out, it was, "Hey, I really want to sit down. We really need to sign you a new deal." And that's when I straight up said, "No, I'm not interested."
You mentioned on the Bill Simmons BS Report podcast that you had made the decision to come back and resign at WWE Money In The Bank. Do you think your decision was at all clouded a little bit too much by all the emotion going on that day?
I can definitely put it aside. I can be a robot if I need to be. Resigning was something that was on my mind day in and day out whether I was at the gym or sleeping. I was dreaming about it, I was really trying to figure out what the best decision was for me and my future. Call me crazy, but I was also trying to figure out what was the best decision for the company as a whole. I love what we do. I'm not going to get along with everybody I work with. I'm certainly not going to agree with everything all the time, but at the end of the day, I want everybody voice to be heard. I want this place to succeed. So I had to weigh my options.