cm-punk

Ten months ago, CM Punk was at the top of his game. A year removed from being the longest reigning WWE champion of the modern era, Punk competed in the Royal Rumble. Ten months later, it sits as the last match CM Punk ever wrestled in the WWE.

Ever since he walked out on the company in 10 months, things have changed for Punk (real name Phillip Brooks). He married WWE Diva AJ Lee, began showing up at Blackhaws games and Walking Dead recap shows on A&E and recently signed a deal to work for Marvel Comics. The question everyone wanted to know and has wanted to know is, “Why leave?”

Why leave a position you worked your entire wrestling life for? In CM Punk’s words, it was quite simple. Concerns for his long-term health (the Ryback program in October 12 “took years” off his life), the WWE’s concussion policy, getting FedEx’d his termination papers on his wedding day and tensions with Vince McMahon finally broke him and he rang his own bell and left.

“People tweet me all the time that you can’t change [the company] from your couch in Chicago. I absolutely disagree, because that’s exactly what I did,” Punk told Colt Cabana on Cobana’s The Art Of Wrestling podcast. “When I split in January, they changed everything. Part of me thinks they changed a lot to spite me, and that’s fine, because certain people who deserved certain things, at certain times, got those things. And that’s something I never got.

I’m the f*cking happiest I’ve been in at least three years. I thought this thing that I loved, that I thought I loved, it just made me so miserable all the time. When you boil it all down, I was miserable. I was unhappy. F*ck it, I made myself happy. I left. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it was also a long time coming.”

Punk’s original program at WrestleMania was to see him once more become WWE Champion. Instead, that slot went to Daniel Bryan who went on to main event inside the New Orleans Superdome. Of course, smart fans and purists alike just wanted to see Bryan vs. Punk for 45 minutes inside the Superdome to be happy.

Long held in high regard for his creativity on the mic and backstage, Punk’s ideas constantly kept getting shot down by Vince McMahon, especially following his pipebomb interview which not only went viral, it established CM Punk as a mainstream name.

“I’m talking to Vince, and I tell him that since I cut that promo, we got more mainstream attention. Everyone wanted to interview me, whether it was GQ Magazine, the cover of USA Today … I had legitimate companies approaching me, just wanting to give me money to sponsor me.

I had a big money deal on the table, and I went to Vince … I told him my idea, said I wanted to do this sponsorship thing. I deserved it. I got all these new eyes on the product, and he says ‘nope, you can’t do that. Sponsors for Raw would get mad, the other wrestlers would get mad.’ A year later, Brock Lesnar comes back, and the motherf*cker has sponsors.”

Lesnar’s re-emergence into the company in 2012 was met with mixed reviews. He’s since gone on to become WWE Champion and appears at a rather infrequent pace, forcing the company to push semi main events such as Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins and The Authority vs. Team Cena at the last two non-Lesnar main evented Pay Per Views.

At 36-years-old, Punk somehow has exited wrestling before it beat him. He’s not walking away and constantly coming back like Ric Flair. Instead, he’s happy — and that’s the only thing that matters to him.

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