CM Punk Talks
Interview by Al Lagattolla
CM Punk made a return to IWA MidSouth and worked three shows in three days in the Chicago area. He worked for Interstate Promotions (I-Pro) on May 27th, then worked consecutive days in IWA. He talks to Chicagowrestling.com's Al Lagattolla about why he returned, and about how he felt the crowd reacted.
He also talks about his future with NWA-TNA. After he has been gone for months, there is renewed talk of bringing him back. He talks about that, and also strongly denies that his altercation with wrestler Teddy Hart had anything to do with his departure from TNA.
AL: I didn't think I'd see you back here again anytime soon. What's the story?
PUNK: There really is no story. Every single month since I left IWA, Ian has asked me back and I kept saying no. I just felt like the time was right to come back. I was talking to Dave Prazak and helped out with the women's tournament. I told Ian he should start using Samoa Joe. And I wanted to work guys I wanted to work. I wanted to work the Pitbulls and Tracy Smothers. The first idea was for the women's tournament to do me and Hero again. Also, I was already booked to work I-8 in Chicago, so I was already going to be here. It worked out for me, worked out for the Drakes (at Interstate Productions) and it worked out for Ian.
AL: What do you think about the chants at the match ... "Let's Go Punk," "Let's Go Hero," "Let's Go Joe."
PUNK: Considering we hit the ring at maybe a quarter to 11. They had already seen phenominal wrestling with Tracy Smothers and all the girls. I think it's awesome. There are so many indy shows out there, but a lot of times the main event doesn't live up to the hype and there are a lot of show-stealing matches. Everybody really wanted to see Hero. They wanted to see Joe, Homicide, BJ, B-Boy and me, maybe. It had a real main-event feel. And the crowd was electric. It was great. That's why I love wrestling.
AL: Joe did have a good following. It's the first time I'd seen him live and yeah, he's very impressive live.
PUNK: Yeah, he can go. He's a fucking stud, seriously.
AL: Is it weird to come back now, since you've been away?
PUNK: No. It's a good thing. Honestly. It's like the TNA thing, guys can sit at home and then they are fresh. Now I'm fresh. There are new guys, Sydal and Delirious and Arik Cannon. And I get to do the Hero thing again, but a different spin on it, and it wouldn't have been possible to do it if I stayed.
AL: What is the spin on your Hero match?
PUNK: Instead of the mutual appreciation thing it's more of a rivalry now. Instead of being friends who just like to kick the crap out of each other, I'll have more of a heel edge.
AL: People really anticipated Hero's match against Joe, and I think it worked out the way everybody wanted. Is there still no chance Hero is ever going to go out East (to Ring of Honor) or is that a question I need to ask him?
PUNK: You probably should (ask him). I tried, and it's a long story.
AL: Would you like to have him out there?
AL: How about your trip here, were you happy with the draw?
PUNK: I didn't think it was going to be that big. Ian seemed to be disappointed, but I was happy with it.
AL: What about Ring of Honor's draw here.
PUNK: I was very happy with it.
AL: There were some reports that there was some disappointment, that you were looking for at least 1,000.
PUNK: No. I think the number 1,000 was tossed around, but I'm happy with 700. It's the first time Ring of Honor ran in Chicago. At St. Paul, the WWE was a block and we drew 400 people. I'm ecstatic with that. Last weekend in Philly we ran against Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, and yeah I know it was in Tampa Bay but people still will sit home and watch it. And there was a Phillies game. And WWE was down the street and we drew 500 people. People say it was a bad draw because we drew 1,800 at the last Philly show, but take into account that it was Christmas break and we had Great Muta. It's still an indy show.
AL: You guys have had a lot to go through, it's not just the Feinstein mess ... it seems you've gone through a lot in a year.
PUNK: We have the uncanny ability to turn chicken shit into chicken salad. The armory canceled on us one day before a show or a couple days before the show. They were mobilizing and they had live ammunition in the armory. We couldn't be in it and that's the rules, but they let us set up a tent and it did add a different atmosphere. It was a good time. I think the Ring of Honor locker room can turn bad situations into good ones.
AL: What's next for Ring of Honor? What's next for you?
PUNK: We have lots of blockbuster shows for the summer. Chicago in July, Jersey in July. We've got Ohio in two weeks. Baltimore on the 24th. For me, it's another crazy amount of silliness. The 24th of June I'll be in Baltimore, and the 25th I will be in IWA. The 27th I'm in Jersey. I'm still occasionally taking weekends off because I need it, but I also need money. I've been working as hard as ever.
AL: Is Japan possible? Is TNA possible?
PUNK: Japan is always possible. I have something in the works but I can't really talk about it. TNA contacted me. I told them I was open for discussion, we'll see what happens. The quote was they want to throw out some ideas "for your big return." I don't know what that means.
AL: Big return sounds good.
PUNK: Yeah, but I've heard it before. I'm sure all the haters out there still think that TNA is mad at me because of the fight with Teddy (Hart). That's not really true.
AL: Everybody does think that.
PUNK: I know. But I was done. I walked in that building and I knew the program was over. They weren't happy. They said me and Julio didn't go over as heels, and they put us on ice for a little bit. They're going to bring us back.
AL: I think a lot of people would be interested in a match between you and Teddy. Is that something that could happen anywhere?
PUNK: I think it could happen. Just like I said earlier about coming back to IWA, there's a time and there's a place for everything. Everything will fall into place, and when it feels right, that's when it'll happen.