In the history of wrestling, there have been a hell of a lot of controversial performers. It makes sense, considering that the entire industry is predicated on featuring people who in most cases need to have massive enough egos to pull off playing larger than life figures. Missed by fans who love him enough that even now, a full two years since he last appeared in a WWE ring, there are still occasional crowds that chant CM Punk's name. On the other side of things, several of his bosses, peers and people he’s interacted with see him in a very different light.
For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the most arcane facts that make his career so fascinating and in some cases had a direct impact on why he is so loved and so hated today. Some fans quite possibly could already be aware of some of the entries on our list but only true wrestling devotees won’t find some pieces of information here that they had no idea about.
15 Extra in John Cena’s Mania Entrance
In the history of Hollywood, Extras are often the unsung heroes that make the movies we watch possible. A relatively simple job, these professionals serve as human set decorations that fill up the background of the frame when the principal characters are out and about in public. It stands to reason then, that the greatest test of an extra being good at his job is that they go unnoticed. Somebody needs to explain that idea to the WWE, who routinely cast indie standouts and their future stars in the roles of extras, despite many of the chosen having an innate chemistry.
14 He Used Offensive Language
WWE’s summer of Punk, it could have been the coolest thing to hit the industry in years. Instead, it was an incredible storyline that was mired by a series of poor decisions. Vince McMahon and his bevy of writers should shoulder a lot of that burden, with Kevin Nash and Triple H going a long way to decimate a very promising star’s momentum but Punk didn’t help himself.
13 Friend to Nerdist
Cm Punk is a lot of things, pro wrestler, budding MMA fighter, and as it turns out the man is an unapologetic nerd. The Nerdist network is a YouTube channel, podcast empire and all around conglomeration of people who know a lot about pop culture coming together to entertain and inform the masses. As a result, it only makes sense that the Chicago native and the Nerds would make a pair made in heaven.
12 Comic Book Writer
Remember in the previous entry where we mentioned that CM is a little bit of a nerd. Well, his move into writing comic book storylines for Marvel Comics is yet more proof that the man deserves some serious nerd cred. After his unceremonious departure from the land Vince McMahon built, he was in need of a new career. Not content to simply sign a UFC contract and train tirelessly for a debut that hopefully will still happen, Punk embraced another one of his passions.
11 ROH’s First Head Trainer
Long before the straight edge Superstar took the WWE by storm, Punk was an indie stand out for companies like Ring of Honor. Taking part in hugely popular feuds and matches with men like Raven, AJ Styles, and Samoa Joe, if his in-ring contributions to the company alone were considered he would be incredibly impactful. Of course, he did a little bit more than wrestle for the company.
10 Beaten by Simon Dean and Maven
It is a fact of wrestling life, that with very few exceptions, most wrestlers we’ve enjoyed on major WWE cards at one time or another took part in matches for the company where they were trounced. A time-honored tradition exists where WWE employees who haven’t yet made a name for themselves in the company are fed to wrestlers who have, in order to make their foes look stronger.
9 Fired on His Wedding Day
When CM Punk left the company the night after the 2014 Royal Rumble, a lot of fans held out hope for a very long time that it was a short term scenario. As we found out when the man himself gave a long-form interview on the podcast his best friend, Colt Cabana, hosts, we weren’t the only ones. Turns out that Punk assumed that in a few weeks cooler heads would prevail, he’d be asked to return by his bosses and he’d do so.
8 Saved his Friend’s Home
When a DVD was released on the life and career of CM Punk, one of the most interesting tidbits for people who weren’t familiar with his life story was how strained his familial situation is. Although we won’t go into detail about the schism that exists as he tells it, we will say that he makes it abundantly clear that his family has no part in his life. Instead, Punk makes it known that his chosen friends fill the whole that family typically takes up.
7 Possibly Created The Shield Concept
Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns, collectively known as The Shield have in the matter of a few years become three of the biggest stars in the entire wrestling industry. If Punk is to be believed, the trio may just owe him a debt of gratitude. Quoted as saying “The Shield was my idea” on Colt Cabana’s podcast, CM elaborated by explaining that after an upcoming heel turn WWE’s power brokers wanted to team The Big Show and Daniel Bryan under him. Believing that the proposed duo was a bad idea, Punk suggested he should be surrounded by guys from the feeder system, Rollins, Ambrose and Kassius Ohno. When Reigns was suggested as a replacement, Punk agreed and the plan was set.
6 Accusations on Podcast
As we’ve already mentioned, CM Punk made an appearance on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast and seemed to speak very candidly about his issues with the WWE. Leaving a company under highly contentious circumstances after a tenure that lasted a decade is likely to sour even the happiest of people and as we know Punk can be a very prickly fellow. An appearance that resulted in both interviewer and subject being hit with a lawsuit, the picture that was painted was not a pretty one.
5 Wrestled for TNA
CM Punk is one of the most famous, controversial, loathed and beloved wrestlers of the last fifteen years. Most famous for his time in WWE, the story of his career has largely been written as a wrestler who made a gigantic mark on indie standout ROH, before he made the difficult leap to wrestling’s big leagues. Obviously, that isn’t the entire story, as he plied his trade for many companies over the years including TNA, who at one time was the second biggest company in North America.
4 Lady Killer
Over the years, there has been a bevy of beautiful women who have worked for the WWE. During CM Punk’s time with the company, he seems to have dated many of his female coworkers who made their money by appearing onscreen. Currently married to AJ Lee, a gorgeous and immensely talented wrestler, there certainly seems like there is fire to back up the rumor mill smoke.
3 Punched a Fan
October eighth, 2012, a date that will live in infamy for Punk fans across the world. At the tail end of a Monday Night Raw telecast, while being berated by the Mr. McMahon character, Punk escaped through the stands amongst the fans. One of the most popular stars at the time, it seemed like he should be embraced by most of the people who came to see him in the ring but that wasn’t the case.
2 Plays the Saxophone
Revealed in an interview for WWE.com about superstar’s secret skills, Punk spoke about how he began playing the saxophone in the fifth grade. Apparently he chose the instrument at the time because its rental rate was the cheapest, which seems surprising to us for some reason. Punk went on to briefly join Hot Stove Jimmy, a ska band before they told him his talent level wouldn’t suffice and his dalliance with the music world came to an abrupt end.
1 Reportedly a Jerk
Alright, at this point this may not come as much of a surprise, but it is a well-known fact that Punk has a reputation for being an absolute jerk. As with most people, he is a complicated person who has proven himself to be capable of immense kindness, but if he doesn’t care about you, interacting with him may be a sour situation.
Infamous for routinely being a ball of anger backstage, he seemed to take pride in being a man who is very difficult to deal with. Well-known to be extremely frustrated with his position in the WWE, throughout almost his entire run, Punk reportedly took the fact that he wasn’t the company’s top star out on people. Although we weren’t there, his behavior we have seen sure makes the tales of his conduct far more believable. Known to chew out fans that approach him in public or say things that rub him the bad way, it may be advisable to keep your distance. Interviewers also better beware, especially now that he is contracted to UFC, as a poorly worded question about his former career can veer you into a confrontational discussion or walk out.
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