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Former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar CM Punk spoke publicly for the first time since walking out on the company in January during an explosive podcast with friend and fellow wrestler Colt Cabana.
Spoiler alert: He’s never going back to the WWE again. Ever.
CM Punk, real name Phil Brooks, ripped his former employer on the Art of Wrestling podcast for a variety of things — the most damning being some questionable medical tactics by WWE doctors.
The main reason for the former WWE champion leaving professional wrestling was his health. Shortly after leaving WWE, Punk discovered he had a full-blown MRSA infection that was reportedly misdiagnosed as a “fatty deposit” by company doctors.
Prior to that, Punk was pressured on more than one occasion by the WWE to return to action while injured:
CM Punk on returning from a concussion:
“I got a concussion in the Royal Rumble. It’s pretty god d*** obvious. I knew I had a concussion. Everyone knew I had a concussion. And they were like we want you to take this test and I said your test is bull***. I took the test while texting you [Colt Cabana] and listening to my headphones and I “passed” with flying colors. But then they were like we want you to go to the ring and run the ropes. And I was like but I just passed your test and they were like yeah, but we still think you have a concussion. I was like so your test is worthless. I’m not going out in the f****** ring like a two-week rookie to run the ropes in front of everybody. Let’s just call it [a concussion] now.
CM Punk on returning from elbow surgery:
“I remember when I was supposed to go back to Birmingham and get cleared before I came back to wrestle from my elbow. One day I was just at TV and it was the same thing … I’ll probably just cut a promo and then Michael Hayes comes up to me and goes, “Alright, you’re working so and so,” and I was like no I’m not. I just got this laser eye surgery and I don’t want anyone f****** up my eyes. And he’s like you really should have told somebody, and I was like told them what … my elbow! And he goes no, I just checked and they said you’re cleared. I was like I haven’t even gone to Birmingham to see Dr. [James] Andrews yet, what do you mean I’m cleared? I talked to Dr. [Chris] Amann and Dr. Amann was like I called him [Dr. Andrews] and I told him how you were and he said OK and he cleared you. I was like what kind of witch doctory bull**** is that? Like I’m going to go see him before I f****** wrestle. Book that s***, I’m not wrestling tonight.
Things were so bad that Punk admitted he looked forward to surgeries for the time off the road. The final tipping point was when the WWE withheld CM Punk's royalty check and eventually fired him on the day of his wedding.
“The day of my wedding, I got a FedEx in the mail and it was my termination papers,” Punk said. “I was fired. On my wedding day. Very calculated and very deliberate. And as much as I kind of chuckled at it and didn’t let it affect my day, I was like once again you pushed too f***** far. You pushed the wrong guy.”
Punk would go on to explain he eventually hired a lawyer and he “got those mother*******” as part of a settlement with the WWE.
SB Nation's Cageside Seats has other highlights from the near two-hour interview:
People were calling him about sponsor money after the pipe bomb and he pitched it to Vince McMahon, who wouldn't sign off on it. Then Brock Lesnar came in and was allowed to have sponsors on his wrestling gear.
The story behind the pitch to WWE involved on walking out with Chael Sonnen at a UFC show and how it would have been good business. Vince told him someone might die in a fight and there's no way they could let him go. Vince was also apparently appalled at the idea of women fighting in the UFC.
He says the Ryback program took years off his life because of how green he is. He also calls Ryback "steroid guy" because "I call it like I see it" and reveals that Ryback kicked him in the stomach so hard during a match it broke his ribs and he never got an apology or call about it.
At Raw the night he walked out, he went in and was told he was going to have to take a drug test -- he calls it a "piss test" -- and considering the new policies they put in place so wrestlers who had failed previous tests could get strikes taken off their record, he was livid that he, of all people, would have to take a piss test. He demanded to be taken care of for his various health issues and they wanted him to sign a bunch of papers and take the piss test. That's when he decided he was done.
He says WWE was worried that he was going to go to TNA and his lawyer told them he isn't interested in that and he despises professional wrestling now. He also said there won't ever be a working relationship with WWE ever again.
UPDATE (7:25 p.m. ET):
The WWE sent the following statement to Yahoo Sports:
“WWE takes the health and wellness of its talent very seriously and has a comprehensive Talent Wellness Program that is led by one of the most well-respected physicians in the country, Dr. Joseph Maroon."