Posts Tagged ‘paul heyman’

WWE’s Paul Heyman Predicts Sports Entertainment’s Next Big Thing

August 15, 2013

Paul Heyman (WWE)

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been well over a decade since the original incarnation of ECW closed its doors. So, if your first memory of Paul Heyman is that of the color commentator for Wrestlemania X-Seven, or Brock Lesnar’s agent, or even CM Punk’s best friend, you’re excused.

But for the rest of this interview, it’s important to note that Paul Heyman is on a short list next to Vince McMahon of people who have truly revolutionized the pro wrestling industry.

I spoke to the former “Mad Scientist of Extreme” in the days leading up to “The Best vs. The Beast” match at SummerSlam and got his thoughts on sports entertainment’s next revolution, John Cena’s unique appeal, and the moment he hopes he’s remembered for…

Gordon Holmes (@gordonholmes): If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it’s probably safe to argue that nobody in the wrestling industry has been more flattered than you over the past few decades.
Paul Heyman (@HeymanHustle): (Laughs)
Holmes: ECW has been imitated and rehashed so often that there’s no way it can be the next big thing for the business. I guess what I’m getting at is; what will be the thing that sparks the next boom period?
Heyman: The next big thing as far as presenting professional wrestling will be star-driven. It will be a personality that changes the game. Whose approach in the ring and in interviews is unlike anyone else that is out there today. And therefore his matches would have to be wrestled in a manner that no one else has been doing, at least for the past few years. And when that personality catches on, the industry will go along with him. That has always been the history of WWE and of professional wrestling. When the (Bruno) Sammartino era was over and they put Bob Backlund in as champion, Bob Backlund needed all of that support from the undercard to carry the load. But when the Hulk Hogan era took off, the entire company was built around Hulk Hogan. When the Steve Austin era took off, he had great support, but Steve Austin’s name and box-office attraction, and merchandise sales alone would have made this a multi-multi-multi million dollar company. And it’s the same today. If a personality catches fire to such a degree that it becomes a one-man cottage industry.
Holmes: I’m trying to think of a really unique personality and I keep coming back to Dean Ambrose. Could he be the guy?
Heyman: I think all three members of The Shield have the opportunity to grab the top spot in WWE and carve an image for the next several years for this company.

Paul Heyman Breaks Down Sunday’s SummerSlam Card

Holmes: John Cena has one of the most interesting dynamics I’ve ever seen in that half of the audience loves him while the other half hates him. Is there any way to course correct to bring everybody on board?
Heyman:
With all due respect, I think you’re missing it. The dynamic of children loving Cena and adult males hating Cena with such a passion is what makes him so fascinating. When there are 40,000 people in MetLife Stadium screaming “Let’s go, Cena” and 40,000 people in the very same stadium at the very same time challenging that half of the crowd saying, “Cena sucks.” That’s 80,000 engaged fans that paid for the privilege of being there. It’s very simple mathematics to me. John Cena drew 80,000 people who wanted to react to him. And to me, that makes him the top guy.
Holmes:
The fans eventually turned on Hulk Hogan.  The fans have turned on The Rock several times. The fans never turned on Steve Austin. So ideally would you rather have someone who is universally loved like a Steve Austin or someone who gets this intense mixed reaction like a John Cena?
Heyman:
Do you prefer a ridiculously hot blonde or a sexy, sultry brunette?
Holmes:
(Laughs)
Heyman:
I’ll take them both. Steve Austin can draw 80,000 people to cheer him on. Brock Lesnar can draw 80,000 people to boo him into the next country. And John Cena can draw 80,000 people who will debate whether he should be cheered or booed. I just care that they pay to see you.
Holmes:
An excellent point.

Holmes: Your friend Brock Lesnar is back in the WWE, you’re having wars of words every night with CM Punk. Is this the happiest time in your career?
Heyman: I’ve been remarkably blessed by the fact that I’ve had many different careers in this industry. I can’t truly compare the difference of being the lead color commentator with Jim Ross with being the owner of the upstart company that breaks every rule, breaks every taboo and spearheads a movement that actually gets it on worldwide Pay Per View with ECW. I can’t compare that with being Brock Lesnar’s advocate, going into SummerSlam in this focal-point match against my former protégé CM Punk. These are different careers to the point that it feels like I’ve lived many different lives. And to compare them would force me to look back on what I used to do and I never look back, I’m always looking into the future. All eyes are on SummerSlam, and my wheels are always spinning to what we’re going to do at Survivor Series, into the Royal Rumble, and ultimately Wrestlemania.

Holmes: You don’t like to look back, but I’m going to ask this anyway. You tweeted a picture of your children outside of the old ECW Arena. And if years from now, if they ask what Dad did for a living and you could only show them one match or one moment, what would it be?
Heyman: I will confess to you that your question has caught me off guard. In all candor, I would hope that just simply based on the decade in the making of “The Best vs. The Beast” that what Brock Lesnar and CM Punk will pull off this Sunday at SummerSlam will be so epic, so compelling, so riveting, and of such premium quality that if one day my children want to show their children, “Here’s what the old man did for a living,” my children will show their children that match.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “WWE: SummerSlam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

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WWE’s Paul Heyman: Punk vs. Lesnar Is ‘Worth the Price of Admission’

August 13, 2013

Paul Heyman (WWE)

I am the best wrester in the world. I’ve been the best ever since day one when I walked into this company. And I’ve been vilified and hated since that day because Paul Heyman saw something in me that nobody else wanted to admit. That’s right, I’m a Paul Heyman guy…you know who else was a Paul Heyman guy? Brock Lesnar.” CM Punk – June 27, 2011 – Monday Night Raw

This Sunday’s SummerSlam is being billed as “The Best vs. The Beast.” In one corner you have “The Best in the World” CM Punk and in the other you have “The Beast” Brock Lesnar. But it could have easily been called “The Battle of the Paul Heyman Guys.”

However, that isn’t nearly as catchy.

I spoke to the man in the middle of one of the most anticipated matches in SummerSlam history before Monday Night Raw and had a chance to ask him about his boys coming to blows, John Cena’s legacy,  Daniel Bryan’s future, and more…

Gordon Holmes (@gordonholmes): SummerSlam is a few short days away, we’ve got “The Best” vs. “The Beast.” What can we expect from this Sunday’s showdown?
Paul Heyman (@heymanhustle):  On Sunday, you can expect “The Beast” Brock Lesnar to prove that having Paul Heyman in his corner makes him “The Best in the World” over and above CM Punk’s claim to that accolade.
Holmes: But surely there was something you saw in CM Punk that made you want to partner with him.
Heyman: CM Punk and I together were the best in the world. We held the WWE Championship for 434 consecutive days, the longest WWE Title reign of the past 25 years. Think about that. Names like Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, all first-ballot Hall of Famers, and yet none of them could hold the championship as long CM Punk and I together. Obviously I saw in CM Punk a sports entertainer that I could mold into being part of a combination with me as the absolute best act on the planet. But without me? He’s only half the equation and I have “The Beast” Brock Lesnar with me.
Holmes: From a physical standpoint, it doesn’t look so good for Mr. Punk. But, Punk’s been overcoming those kinds of odds his entire career. Does that concern you?
Heyman: It doesn’t concern me, but it’s certainly part of the equation. I didn’t pick CM Punk out of obscurity and turn him into the top box office attraction for WWE because his skills were without merit. He is, in my opinion, the most serious threat to Brock Lesnar’s reign of dominance in WWE today. The only problem for CM Punk is that Brock Lesnar has made a career out of obliterating those threats.

Holmes: Wrestlemania had to have been very special for you. You had Brock in a main event against HHH, you had Punk in a main event against The Undertaker, and it all took place in your backyard at MetLife Stadium. Now that we’ve got two of the “Paul Heyman Guys” going toe-to-toe at SummerSlam, where does this one rank for you?
Heyman: It’s huge. Nothing short of it. And probably even bigger than that adjective. It’s exhilarating for me because you have the most unique, the most gifted athlete in the history of the WWE, or UFC, or college athletics in Brock Lesnar, going against a wrestler who probably has more heart, more determination, and the ability to overcome the odds better than anybody else that I’ve ever come across in my entire career in CM Punk. It’s a fascinating match-up. It won’t be over in 30 seconds. This is going to be an all-night affair. There’s an old expression in the professional wrestling business; “This match will be worth the price of admission.” I humbly suggest that Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk is worth the price of admission alone.
Holmes: Last Monday, an angry Brock Lesnar turns to you and says, “Paul, say something stupid.” How do you keep a straight face?
Heyman: He wanted me to say something stupid! Brock Lesnar is a man who thinks in a far different way than your average beast walking down the street. This is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete. Brock made his point, he told the world, “I, Brock Lesnar, am better than CM Punk.” So, what else is there for us to say?

Holmes: The WWE Title match at SummerSlam will be John Cena squaring off against Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan seems to have “Paul Heyman Guy” written all over him.
Heyman: I’m not done recruiting Daniel Bryan. I think Daniel Bryan is a fascinating performer who has put on arguably the most consistent string of best matches of the past year. The striking thing about Daniel Bryan is the best is yet to come with him. Daniel Bryan still has more to offer. And having seen footage of him dating back to when he was wrestling in VFW halls and very small arenas and high school gymnasiums, he still has so much more that the WWE Universe hasn’t seen. I’m admittedly, and I will confess to this, a huge fan of Daniel Bryan.
Holmes: Now on the other side of the ring you have John Cena, who I feel is criminally underrated as an in-ring performer. Anyone can have a good match with Shawn Michaels, but Cena’s been delivering the goods with a wide variety of talent for a long time.
Heyman: I think there’s a streak going involving John Cena that both the WWE Universe and the media have failed to pick up on. The glory days of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin lasted two, maybe two-and-a-half years. That was the peak of his run. He came back as General Manager, but day-to-day, going to every city, main eventing every Pay Per View, the focal point of Monday Night Raw…Steve Austin’s peak was two-and-a-half years. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s peak was along the same lines. John Cena has been the focal point of WWE since 2005. For eight and now going on nine years, John Cena has not only main evented all the Pay Per Views, been the major attraction on Raw. John Cena has gone to every city, main events all the live events, and yet he still makes all these media appearances, he’s done more Make-A-Wish Foundation visits than anybody in history…and he’s a tireless workhorse. And he shows up last Monday with his elbow…looking grotesquely…is that a word? His elbow was so messed up and yet he says, “Wrap me up, I’m going out there to perform because the people are counting on me.” There is a work ethic to John Cena that is to behold.
Holmes: So it’s safe to say you’ll have a seat at the curtain for the WWE Title match at SummerSlam.
Heyman: Oh absolutely. How could I not? I have a vested interest in whoever emerges as champion.
Holmes: Alright, hold the phone…is Brock Lesnar painting a target on the victor’s back?
Heyman: I did not reveal to you that it is Brock Lesnar. I only suggested that it is a Paul Heyman Guy that has his eye on the prize.

Holmes: Sunday we’ll see Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a “Ring of Fire” match. Bray Wyatt seems like another guy you would have had a field day with in the ECW days.
Heyman: I’m very interested in seeing how Bray Wyatt is going to survive the wrath of Kane.
Holmes: What do you think of the way Bray and his buddies have been presented to the WWE Universe?
Heyman: It’s an emotional presentation, and it sets him apart from everyone else which means that Bray Wyatt will stand out. Whether it’s in WWE or UFC or Major League Baseball or the NBA or the NFL or television or movies…any genre that is star-driven has the need for unique personalities. And Bray Wyatt is as unique as they come.

Holmes: Another interesting match is Damien Sandow against Cody Rhodes. Here we’ve got two young guys that seem like they just need a little something extra to help them move up the card.
Heyman: I think Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow need each other to get to that next level. They have a most interesting dynamic with each other and against each other. And here they have the spotlight of a featured match at SummerSlam. Think of the names that have not been announced in a featured match at SummerSlam so far. I don’t know who The Shield is fighting. I don’t know who The Big Show is fighting. I don’t know who Mark Henry is fighting. I don’t know who Rob Van Dam is fighting. I don’t know who Randy Orton is fighting. These are huge, top-line attractions. And yet, I don’t know who these performers are going to be wrestling against. But, I know that it’ll be Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes. They have an extraordinary opportunity here. If they can put on a match that steals the show, they will both move up the ladder together.

Holmes: Speaking of Rob Van Dam, it’s good to see him back with the WWE. He seems very motivated.
Heyman: I think anyone that has watched Rob Van Dam’s matches since he’s been back with WWE can clearly tell that he is motivated and determined to put on the best matches of his career.
Holmes: Without getting into too much detail, it’s been like night and day.
Heyman: I don’t mind getting into detail. I think TNA squandered the opportunity of exploiting the talents of Rob Van Dam. And I don’t think that’s a mistake the WWE is going to repeat.

Check back Thursday for a look at Paul Heyman’s career, his thoughts on the sports entertainment industry, and more.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “WWE: SummerSlam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE’s Paul Heyman on Ryback: ‘Nobody Can Be Undefeated Forever’

October 25, 2012

Paul Heyman (THQ)

I don’t know if the Paul Heyman/CM Punk dynamic would work on screen. I don’t need a mouthpiece.” – CM Punk (August 17, 2012)

The Straight-Edge Superstar is right, he doesn’t need a mouthpiece. But he’s certainly benefiting from having a conniving advocate who lurks in the background.

I spoke with Paul Heyman, a man some consider to be the best creative writer in the wrestling business, in the days leading up to Punk’s big title defense at “Hell in a Cell.” During that chat we discussed how he’s enjoying his new on-air role, Brock Lesnar’s opinion of the wrestling business, and what’s best for Ryback’s career…

Order WWE: Hell in a Cell Today

Gordon Holmes: You’ve taken on a bit of a new role on TV in that you’re more of CM Punk’s advocate than his manager. Has that been challenging for you?
Paul Heyman: No, it’s just a different role to play. You know, with Brock Lesnar…Brock doesn’t like to speak so it’s natural for me to do the talking. And it’s very easy for me to advocate for Brock Lesnar because I’m a great believer in him. It’s not too much of a stretch to hype accolades about Brock Lesnar. With CM Punk, I don’t have to do a lot of talking for CM Punk. I would present the case that I’m more of a lobbyist for respect for CM Punk as being the best in the world. It’s a different role to play and  I love the challenge of it just because it’s not the same role I was playing with Brock. Like any other performer you don’t want to be pigeonholed everyday for the rest of your life.

Holmes: Speaking of Brock, I read his book that you collaborated on, “Death Clutch.” And it seems like his biggest problem with the wrestling industry is the travel. Now with the limited dates he’s working it doesn’t seem like that’s a big problem anymore. My question is; does he enjoy the business more? Because I really enjoy watching him wrestle. It seems like he was designed to do it. It’d be a shame if he wasn’t enjoying it.
Heyman: There’s an old expression in the professional wrestling industry; you spend 23 hours and 40 minutes of your day traveling and working out and eating properly and dealing with rental cars and hotel rooms and family situations and divorce lawyers. But, the 20 minutes a day you spend in the ring is not only the best part of the day but makes everything else worthwhile. I believe that is the case with Brock Lesnar. I believe that Brock loves to perform. And, I think Brock lives for the moments that he’s in the octagon or the ring. It’s getting to the octagon or the ring and all that it entails to get there and the time that he spends away from his family that he finds unbearable.

Holmes: CM Punk has a big title defense against Ryback this Sunday at Hell in the Cell. Anytime you have an undefeated character such as Ryback, it provides some unique storytelling challenges. If it was in your hands, how would you handle the Ryback character?
Heyman: I think Ryback is going to demonstrate to the audience on Monday exactly how he handles defeat. And, nobody can be undefeated forever, it doesn’t work that way in real life. And, it’s easy to look like the biggest tough guy in the world when you’re on such a winning streak. But, can you maintain that aura about you once you lose? Brock Lesnar did, and I don’t think that people look at Brock Lesnar today and think, “Oh yeah, I remember the night he lost to this guy.” I think Ryback will face the very same thing. Now, I know there are people out there who have presented the case that Ryback’s entire aura has been built on the fact that he’s undefeated. I think a stronger case can be made that once Ryback is defeated, he’ll be even a stronger character for WWE because you have gotten this out of the way.

Holmes: Probably my favorite thing you were involved with during your managing career was the Dangerous Alliance in WCW. You had Ravishing Rick Rude, some guy named Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, Madusa…just an amazing line-up. If you were to recreate that stable in WWE, with CM Punk of course being the centerpiece, who would you pick?
Heyman: Wow…I find the fact that CM Punk and I are together…that makes us a Dangerous Alliance. I’d obviously never suggest that I should represent anyone else on television without first mentioning the name Brock Lesnar. As for rounding out the rest of the roster. I’d say we have the choice of cherry picking anyone. I’d certainly add Randy Orton to that group. And I’d take a young, hot, hungry tag team that is having an uphill battle with the system, someone like the Usos. I’d give them the stardom they deserve. And when it comes to the females. Since AJ doesn’t have the taste to accept my marriage proposal, I would probably grab someone like Nattie Neidhart who could probably tie everyone into a pretzel and make them tap out in 30 seconds of a legitimate fight.

Holmes: I understand you did some writing for the “WWE ‘13” video game. What did that entail?
Heyman: It entailed putting together the storylines for the Universe mode and for the Attitude Era. I have a viral marketing company called the Looking 4 Larry Agency and we were doing the viral marketing for this game anyway. And then THQ came to me about writing the actual storylines because I have a bit of product knowledge for that.
Holmes: A bit.
Heyman: Yeah. And so we were off to the races.
Holmes: As a writer, I feel like every time I branch out into a new format or genre I learn something new. Did you learn anything writing for the game? It must be much different than writing for a television show.
Heyman: The big difference between writing for WWE television and writing for the “WWE ‘13” video game is that once I wrote a storyline Vince McMahon didn’t yell at me about it.
Holmes: The guys at THQ didn’t chew you out?
Heyman: Who’s going to yell at me from THQ? I’m the guy they turn to to be the creative rabbi. Vince McMahon? He loves to yell at me.

Watch WWE: Hell in a Cell, Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

The “WWE ‘13” Video Game will be available for XBox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii on Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE Champ CM Punk on SummerSlam, Why He Laid Out The Rock

August 17, 2012

WWE Champion C.M. Punk (WWE)

It’s been quite a year for CM Punk.

Since cutting the promo that changed his career, the straight-edge superstar has had classic matches, been proposed to, and most importantly enjoyed a WWE Championship reign that is one of the longest in recent memory.

So why would he let the Rock come in and steal his thunder?

I spoke to the Voice of the Voiceless in the days leading up to his SummerSlam title defense to find out why he put the People’s Champ on his back, what we can expect from his triple-threat match, and his take on Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H…

Gordon Holmes: At Raw 1000 you shocked the world when you made the Rock eat your knee. What inspired that sudden move?
CM Punk: I don’t think it was sudden at all. I’d been very vocal about the Rock coming back and cherry-picking the days he comes in. So, when he comes in I’m going to smack him in the face.
Holmes: And how did it feel to finally act out on that?
Punk: It felt very good. It felt like instead of talking that I was backing it up with action.
Holmes: For those who are unfamiliar with your complaints about the Rock, why exactly did you make that move?
Punk: I just think there are a lot of people who work their asses off here. I’m here 24/7, 365 days a year and he’s here like three days a year. So when he comes in here and tries to lay claim to our success and things people have worked hard to establish, it’s a little offensive.
Holmes: It has to be a big compliment career-wise to be the next guy in line to face this huge name. The guy’s had something like two matches in the last eight years.
Punk: We’ll I’m in line to face the huge name if I hold on till the Royal Rumble. The WWE’s like a minefield. Any guy can beat anyone on any given Sunday. So hopefully I’ll make it and I’ll prove to the Rock that you can’t just walk in and pick your days. There’s some tough bastards here.

Holmes: This past year has been pretty amazing for you. And all throughout this, I don’t want to say you were clean-cut, because you’re not, but you were clearly the good guy. Now there seems to be more shades of grey in your character. What is your goal with that?
Punk: I think the goal is to just be myself. Not try to play a character; I’m trying to be me. The best characters in wrestling and sports entertainment are just extensions of themselves. I think the Rock is a great character because that’s him. He’s larger than life. He dials himself up to eleven.
Holmes: But it does feel like there’s a bit of an edge after Raw 1000. Were you holding back before?
Punk: I wouldn’t say I was holding back. There are necessary evils to everything. And, it’s a television show. You can’t show all your cards. We need things to do on a weekly basis and this is a progression of the storyline.
Holmes: What kind of feedback have you been getting about the recent change?
Punk: It varies from extremely positive, like “Welcome back, Punk” to “You’ve turned your back on the WWE Universe.” I think it’s very interesting and dynamic because I really haven’t done anything bad.

Holmes: You’re the WWE Champion, yet John Cena’s matches always go on last at the Pay Per Views. You’ve taken the attitude that it doesn’t matter where you are on the card as long as people are talking about you when it’s over. Is that something that drives your character?
Punk: One hundred percent. I’m the kind of guy, you put me first? That’s the main event. Everyone else can follow me. You put me fifth? That’s the main event. There isn’t going to be anything else on the show that reaches the quality of what I do. You can put whoever you want on last. On the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday show? I’m going out last. That’s the way it is. If they want to put someone else last on television, that’s fine, but they have to follow me.

 

Holmes: This Sunday is SummerSlam. You’ll be defending the WWE Championship in a triple-threat match against John Cena and the Big Show. What can we look forward to in that bout?
Punk: I’m looking forward to it, first of all. I find it interesting because my last two SummerSlam opponents the previous years have been John Cena and the Big Show. There is a variable in there in a triple threat match where the champion doesn’t have an advantage. The Big Show could pin John Cena, John Cena could make the Big Show tap and I’d lose my title. I don’t have to be involved in the decision. I think that’s going to make me more aggressive. And you’re definitely going to look for the three of us to try to steal the show.
Holmes: The whole Voice of the Voiceless thing kind of kicked off with you against Cena. And Cena, people either they love him or they hate him. But it’s one thing to chant “Cena sucks” and another thing to chant “You can’t wrestle.” Does that get to him?
Punk: You know, I don’t think that gets to John. I think our audience; some of them can be pretty cruel. And they like to hang their hat on that “John Cena isn’t a good wrestler” thing. I haven’t seen that for years. The guy has been a top-level performer for almost a decade.

Holmes: Brock Lesnar is going to get back into the ring this Sunday against Triple H. What are your thoughts on that bout?
Punk: I’m very much looking for to it. Last time Brock Lesnar was in the ring it was a complete spectacle. The guy commands attention, you want to see him wrestle. It’s going to be interesting to see how he mixes with Triple H. He busted open John Cena. Could he do the same to Triple H? I don’t know. Triple H is no slouch himself. He’s a multiple-time WWE champion.
Holmes: My thing with Lesnar is; he’s so entertaining. He’s so fun to watch and seems like he was genetically engineered to be a sports entertainer. It’s a crime that he doesn’t seem to enjoy it.
Punk: Yeah, and that’s why a lot of people are going to want to see this match. I know they called John Cena and the Rock at Wrestlemania “Once in a lifetime,” but this thing is definitely once in a lifetime.
Holmes: Brock will of course have Paul Heyman in his corner. You have called yourself a “Paul Heyman guy” in the past. What’s your relationship like?
Punk: I’m happy to see him when he’s here. It’s great. Before I could only hang out with him when I did shows in the Northeast. I got to grab a bite to eat with him. Now, he’s not here as often as I’d like, but when he shows up on Mondays it makes my day easier. He’s a dear friend I can bounce ideas off of.
Holmes: He gives you advice?
Punk: Of course.
Holmes: Is he someone you’d want to work with in the future?
Punk: I’d love to. But he’s busy with Brock. And I don’t know if the Paul Heyman/CM Punk dynamic would work on screen. I don’t need a mouthpiece. And I think we’re two separate entities. But behind the scenes we get along famously.

Holmes: Last time we talked, I asked you if you could work in any territory, which would you choose. You went with the Crocketts in the ‘80s. I spoke to Arn Anderson a few weeks ago to get his thoughts on that.
Punk: Oh man.
Holmes: I asked him, would CM Punk be the fifth man on a Horsemen War Games team or would he be the guy the Horsemen stomp in the parking lot?
Punk: (Laughs) I’m so interested to find out what he said. This is awesome.
Holmes: What do you think he said?
Punk: I think he said I would have been on the team.
Holmes: No, he said you would’ve been selling tickets with Dusty Rhodes and the Rock and Roll Express.
Punk: Wow. (Laughs) I don’t know if that’s an honest answer cause he always calls me such a heel. It’s flattering either way.
Holmes: I think I agree with him because I have a hard time seeing CM Punk with the tattoos, the piercings, and the straight-edge lifestyle meshing with the limousine-riding, jet-flying playboys.
Punk: Maybe not in this lifetime, no.
Holmes: Another thing we touched on was how you wanted to work with Ricky Steamboat. My question for you now is; how does that feud work with you and your no drugs and your no alcohol in the era of “Just Say No” against someone who was ridiculously clean cut.
Punk: It’s how you spin. I think that’s the fascinating things about me is I can spin it any way I want depending on how I want the crowd to react. There’s a million ways you could do it.
Holmes: Let’s hear an example.
Punk: That’s way too easy, just pick on his family. Remember when I sang “Happy Birthday” to Aaliyah Mysterio?
Holmes: That’s fair…and creepy.
Punk: (Laughs) Thank you.
Holmes: So you serenade Ricky Jr. and boom, instant Clash of the Champions main event?
Punk: I wish. (Laughs) That would have been fun. I was born in a different era. For me, the most flattering compliments I get are from those old-school guys who say I should have been around 20 years earlier.

Holmes: I was reading about your appearance at Chicago Comic Con, and you spoke of a retirement looming in the future. Is that accurate?
Punk: Well, eventually. I’m not going to wrestle forever.
Holmes: Well, yeah.
Punk: (Laughs) I would definitely say I’ve passed the middle point of my career for sure.
Holmes: What goals remain for you?
Punk: Not many. I kind of want to make a few guys and girls. And I think I’ve done a little bit of that with AJ (Lee). I want to make sure there’s a future for the wrestling business when I leave. I want to make sure there are people that fill that void.
Holmes: Are you someone who could just stop, or do you have some Terry Funk in you and we’ll see you two weeks after your retirement?
Punk: I don’t know. I can’t really figure that out. I’ve never done nothing, I’ve never had a break. Maybe I’d miss it in a year.
Holmes: Chris Jericho seems to do it right. It’s almost like he’s got a territory thing going on where he can wrestle, then take a break to let the people miss him, then come back.
Punk: I think that’s a smart thing for anybody. Look at anybody in our industry who’s been injured for any period of time. Like Triple H for instance, he tore his quad and when he came back the response for him was overwhelming. That kind of put him on a new level.
Holmes: When you do call it quits, what’s next? Straight-edge husband? Straight-edge dad?
Punk: (Laughs) Oh boy, I don’t know. Maybe a dog owner first.
Holmes: It’s all baby steps.

Holmes: The one movie I was super psyched to see this year was “The Avengers.” Now that I’ve seen that, the next thing I’m psyched for is the CM Punk DVD I keep hearing about.
Punk: To me it’s not a wrestling DVD, it’s just a hell of a story. Obviously I’m biased because it’s me, but I don’t think we’ve put out a DVD that’s this honest and raw and touches on where somebody came from, all the way to the point where they are now. There’s a lot of real-life stuff in there, Family stuff, from the day I started to Wrestlemania. Some of it’s touching, some of it gets me mad when I watch it. It’s an emotional story. And I don’t think you can write something better than that. It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s me.
Holmes: Any word on which matches are going to be included on it?
Punk: The funny thing is when I heard we were doing the DVD, I immediately was like, “Well, I need to be hands-on with this project.” I thought I was going to be picking all these matches and be really nit-picky about what goes on there. But, the documentary is really where I focused all my energy and I really didn’t care which matches went on. The thing about WWE DVDs is a lot of matches get put on different DVD, I just wanted to make sure that the matches that I picked told the story. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. You see the progression of my career and how I got to where I am now.

Holmes: Now that “Monday Night Raw” has been extended an hour, who would you like to see featured more often?
Punk: There’s a crop of young, hungry talent in FCW who are hopefully going to get their shake. As far as the people you’ve seen on TV now, Antonio Cesaro is somebody who has a good future in this sport. I’d like to see guys like Tyson Kidd get more air time. And really a lot of the girls. Having an extra hour will give us more time to tell more stories with matches. Hopefully we’ll get to exploit a lot of the hidden gems that we have.

Holmes: You’re also the cover…guy. Wasn’t sure what to call you there, for the new “WWE ‘13” video game. Congratulations.
Punk: Thank you, thank you very much.
Holmes: Is there added pressure on you to be better at the game now that your face is on it?
Punk: (Laughs) No, that’s the one thing I haven’t been asked to do yet, is play it. I’m out promoting it. I’m shooting commercials for it, I’m talking about it. I really haven’t had time to play it, but it is awesome. I can’t wait for it to come out.
Holmes: If I’m Kofi Kingston, and I school you in the game that has your face on it, you’re going to hear about it.
Punk: Yeah. But to go back to my DVD, there’s a Blu-ray extra entitled “Kofi vs. CM Punk.” We throw down a video game challenge. I’m not going to tell you what happens; you’re going to have to see the DVD to see who is the true video game master.
Holmes: I think I know who wins with the way you’re building it up.
Punk: (Laughs) I don’t think I’d be talking about it otherwise.

Holmes: I heard you’re going to be a “Scooby Doo” character?
Punk: Am I?
Holmes: There’s some kind of “Scooby Doo” movie that takes place at Wrestlemania. (To the WWE representative) Is this accurate?
WWE Representative: There’s going to be a variety of voices, but I can’t check my email so I’m not sure. But I think Punk is going to be one of the voices.
Punk: That is awesome. You bring good tidings, my friend. I would love the chance to say, “And I would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids and John Cena.”
Holmes: So you’re hoping when they pull the mask off of the ghost or whatever that the face underneath has slicked-back hair and a lip ring?
Punk: That would be nothing short of amazing. That’d be awesome.

Holmes: I have a theory about you.
Punk: (Laughs) A lot of people do. But I’m interested.
Holmes: Are you immune to peer pressure?
Punk: Yes, one hundred percent. I can’t put into words how I’ve never understood peer pressure. And I’ve seen people cave to do numerous amounts of things. The same people have tried to get me and they give up pretty quickly because they see I’m not interested.
Holmes: Is that the trick? You need to shut people down immediately and then they’ll learn not to even bother?
Punk: I think it has something to do with body language. Because if you dare someone to do something, you can see they’re nervous or scared about it and then you can kind of push their buttons and can goad them into doing something.

WWE Representative: Hold on one second, just to go back to the “Scooby Doo,” I just checked the press release and as of right now CM Punk is not a voice.
Holmes: Now I feel terrible.
Punk: (Laughs) Get me on this!
Holmes: C’mon, work some magic!
WWE Representative: We can do our own.

Holmes: Social media is changing the face of entertainment. When I was a kid, the WWE Superstars were these untouchable heroes, now you can jump online and have a conversation with them. Do you lose some of your…I don’t know…your aura by opening yourself up to the public?
Punk: No, I don’t think so. I think the appeal of my character is I’m just a regular guy. I’m one of the people. A kid who wants to tweet something to his hero John Cena? I think that’s awesome. Making us more accessible to the fans makes us larger than life. A lot of kids look up to us like we’re heroes, and tweeting a yes or no answer to his question can makes his day.

Holmes: You strike me as very much an “I’m not a role model,” kind of guy. And yet, straight edge, with the no drinking and no drugs, does seem to be a very positive message for kids.
Punk: I get a lot of moms and dads at autograph signings. Their kids will come up with “Drug free” written on their fingers in markers and they’ll be X’d up with their wrist tape. For me, it brings me down to Earth and makes me feel nice to hear moms say, “My kid wants to be like you. Thank you.” That’s humbling to me. I try not to be preachy about it, but if a mom thinks they can put their kid in front of a TV and say, “OK, you can watch this.” That’s very flattering.

Watch WWE: SummerSlam, Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes


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