Thanks to Jules Allen for sending in the following recap:
ESPN Sportsnation host Michelle Beadle was a recent guest on Jim Ross' Ross Report podcast, and during the interview Beadle spoke on a number of topics, including the alleged backstage incident in WWE involving her, CM Punk and AJ Lee which took place at the 2013 Tribute to the Troops taping.
The ESPN host clarified the situation on Ross' podcast, dismissing the initial reports of flirting with Punk.
"Look, first of all, when I'm flirting people will know I'm flirting. I've also known Phil for a few years at this point and I had, at that time, considered him a friend. We texted on a regular basis, we've had dinner numerous times. You know, It's just one of those things where he's not my friend, whatever. It was what it was. I thought it was a friendship, I guess I was wrong."
Beadle started to explain what went down, which is obviously a different story from Punk's initial story.
"I show up at Tribute to the Troops," said Beadle, "I see him in the hallway, I say 'what up, f–kface', which is my very loving way of referring to my friends. I don't call my friends… I just… I'm an idiot. I call them all kinds of names, that's how you know I like you. He was alone in a hallway, he didn't really say anything. I was with P.R. from WWE and my assistant and we walked by. The next thing I know, she's in my face yelling at me and I honestly, I swear to you, thought it was a joke."
As Lee blasted Beadle, and the Sportsnation host thought it was a joke. She said Punk had his back to both of them the whole time, and she couldn't believe what was happening. WWE public relations were apologetic to her on site, but Beadle said it wasn't their problem. She thought the situation would be put to rest, until she saw it as a big story on wrestling sites and sports blogs. She decided to send out a three-part tweet on Twitter, explaining her side of the story.
To this day, Beadle and Punk, who were apparently very good friends, have not spoken since.
"Phil and I stopped being friends that day and I wish him the best of luck and that's it," said Beadle. "It's a bummer because I always respected him. I thought he was one of those cool guys that kind of didn't fall into a certain role and kind of did what he wanted but to watch all that happen and to have somebody tattle on me and have their girlfriend get in my face is a little pathetic. But it's okay, I've moved on."
Ross asked Beadle if she was surprised Punk left the company so abruptly.
"He loves wrestling," admitted Beadle. "As a kid he loved it, it was his passion. But I also think there are certain ways of a system that he doesn't really get down with all that much. He's got a beautiful place in Chicago, has a great life, great friends…was I shocked that he walked? Not really. Am I shocked he's still gone? Yes. I think I thought, as a lot of fans have, 'Oh, maybe he'll show up at WrestleMania, oh, maybe he'll show up at this.' Look, we might not be friends anymore, but I also, as a fan of wrestling, I do miss him. I miss him as a wrestler, I think there's really, with the exception of Cena, but he's a different guy altogether, there's really no one that can get on a microphone and do what he does."