In the latest edition of Colt Cabana's popular podcast "The Art of Wrestling", former WWE wrestler CM Punk, who left the organization back in January, describes the reasons for his exit in a lengthy, tell-all interview.
Punk's absence had been a mysterious topic for months, but we now have the answer straight from the wrestler himself, as the former title-holder describes the financial and personal reasons accompanying his retirement.
Punk's primary gripes with the organization were the "creatively toxic" environment fostered by CEO Vince McMahon, as well as the health risks associated with wrestling, namely the sport's concussion issues. Punk detailed shoddy concussion protocol exercised by the organization, various injuries that he had suffered over the course of his career, and WWE's insistence to put him in the ring despite these impairments. The most harrowing episode, he says, involved a staph infection that nearly cost him his life.
Name-dropping a number of brands, sponsors, and magazines interested in working with him, Punk also explained how every attempt to market himself further was nixed by McMahon, despite the fact that McMahon allowed other wrestlers to get away with the same self-promotion. Punk believed that he wasn't being billed or respected properly within the WWE universe, creating a one-sided relationship in favor of the company. It came to a point, Punk said, where he felt that he wasn't being fairly compensated for his work. A lengthy litigation circus eventually unfolded after he decided to leave.
Based on Punk's description, McMahon is a shameless, greedy, and self-interested owner who is only out to protect the WWE name as opposed to the wrestlers themselves. Essentially, Punk's move came down to the fact that he no longer wanted to serve as a puppet for the industry. It's a fair complaint. Who doesn't want to feel like they have at least some measure of control over the direction of their career? As Punk reminds us, "Money is not everything, ladies and gentlemen."
While Punk's fans are undoubtedly distressed about his decision to leave, they should at least take solace in the fact that Punk is at peace with his exit:
I'm the fucking happiest I've been in I don't know how long, at least three years, legitimately. I find these other things that have made me happy and I thought this thing that I loved, that I thought I loved, it just made me so miserable. All the time, it made me miserable. I guess the black and the white of it, when you boil it all down, the essence of it, was I was miserable, I was unhappy, fuck it! I made myself happy. I left. That's what it boils down to. It wasn't an easy decision to make but it was also a long time coming.
Wrestling aficionados should listen to the podcast themselves if they want to get a detailed description of WWE's inner-workings from a primary source. Check it out here.
[via Caged Side Seats]