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CM Punk Rips TV Host For WWE Questions

December 20, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

CM Punk has done a great job isolating himself from critics since announcing his UFC contract. Unfortunately for Punk the softballs came to an end when he went Off the Record and it didn’t take long for things to get ugly.

Michael Landsberg has had his share of verbal confrontations over the years and has never been known to shy away from tough questions or avoid the yellow elephants in the room. Which is why I am surprised that Punk wasn’t more prepared for the verbal joust that took place last week on Off the Record.

The interview started off on a bad foot for Punk when Landsberg made a complete mockery of Punk in the UFC by playing a video of potential Punk opponents which included Jose Cansenco and Chef Boyardeee. Yeah, you could see where this was going. Punk did not find it humorous and the interview grew to be contentious from there.

Landsberg asked Punk if he had ever been punched. Punk laughed and said he had been punched many times in a WWE ring. What a dumb answer. Here is a guy that is upset he isn’t being taken seriously as a UFC fighter yet he gives an answer which makes him look completely foolish.

This isn’t the first time Punk has helped fuel doubters and critics with his answers. It is amazing to me that someone as polished as Punk in media has been so unprepared to answer tough questions about his move to UFC. I don’t understand how someone from the UFC hasn’t sat down with him yet and crafted more well thought answers than some of the responses Punk has offered. Quite frankly it makes the UFC look more like a circus or mockery than Punk.

What is also interesting at this point is that Punk starts drinking coffee throughout the interview. I found it odd and a little unprofessional at the time but so be it. I saw it as Punk giving the interviewer a middle finger. At the end of the interview Landsberg brings that up and Punk says he needed to drink it to keep himself awake.

Punk is then asked about comments Dana White has made about Punk being offered an opponent at his own level. Punk says he’d fight anyone, including Anderson Silva for the right price. Punk says that he doesn’t want to take it easy and wants to put the “miles in.” He also says it probably wouldn’t be a good decision to fight someone like a Nate Diaz at this point in his career.

The interview progresses and it doesn’t take a psychologist to read Punk’s body language and assess his descending attitude throughout the interview. I will say that Landsberg appears to have picked up on it early and egged him on a bit as the interview progressed. Landsberg at the end of the interview finally calls Punk out on it and asks him if he was uncomfortable with the interview. Guess what? He was.

Punk says that the interview was very wrestling centric and he was there to talk about the UFC. Okay that may be well and good but it was Punk that first brought up wrestling when Landsberg asked him if he has ever taken a punch. Landsberg said nothing about the WWE up to that point. Even at the halfway mark there was only one question that Landsberg asked about the WWE and it was in comparison to UFC.

The truth finally comes out when Landsberg asks Punk he has no UFC fights scheduled, he has no UFC pedigree so what should he have asked them? Punk brings up the segment earlier in the show which made a joke of Punk fighting in the UFC. It’s funny because coming from wrestling you’d think Punk would just not sell the rib and move on. Instead he sat there with a sour puss for fifteen minutes. Nobody likes being laughed at but how Punk can expect journalists to take a former WWE wrestler with no MMA pro or amateur experience, not even a training camp under his belt seriously is incredibly naive of him.

Again, Punk is in desperate need of a media coach. It is in the best interest of the UFC to do that immediately. Punk is in for a reality check if he thinks that everyone in the sports media is going to treat this thing seriously. It is what it is and what this interview told me is that the criticism is starting to get to him. The more he feeds the critics, the more they will come to feast.

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Seth Rollins Talks CM Punk

December 19, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins has quickly become something of a spokesman for the WWE. Rollins is popping up in more and more media interviews and you knew it was only a matter of time before he was asked about WWE public enemy #1, CM Punk.

Rollins has transitioned smoothly into a must-get for journalists hoping to snag a WWE superstar for their radio show or newspaper. Rollins in a short time frame has become something of a voice for the WWE, offering honest, thoughtful, and entertaining interviews to fans and media alike. This is probably why it didn’t take him long to get asked about his former foe, CM Punk.

It has been less than a month since Punk delivered his biggest pipe bomb yet on Colt Cabana’s podcast. Punk ripped the WWE and specifically went out of his way to embarrass Ryback. While Vince McMahon told Steve Austin he’d love to have Punk back, what do the other wrestlers think? How would he be treated by the locker room? Glenn More and Steve Guy asked Rollins about just that.

I don’t see why not. He’s a self-admitted jerk, first of all. And if you listen to his podcast, he didn’t say that he was in a great mood the last few months that he was there. He admitted how grumpy he was and how much of a jerk he was, even more than he already is. I think we would welcome him back. I’m not to hold too much grudges. I think everyone deserves a second chance; an opportunity to redeem themselves. I would welcome him back. I’m sure he would face some resentment, as far as the locker room is concerned. But guys get over that stuff pretty quick. I think if it was best for business, yeah, I would be open to it for sure.

Rollins was talked about how Punk left and whether he’d do the same thing.

I think it could have handled better, probably, on both sides. And I think down the road, people involved will say the same thing. But as much as I don’t necessary agree with the way he left, I think I understand, mentally, where he was. This business can take a toll on you. You travel a lot. You get beat up a lot. There’s a lot of frustration that’s involved and mentally, over time, that can wear on you. It can put you in place where you’re a different person. And when you’re not happy with who you are and the person you want to be, you gotta take a step back. You gotta look at things outside the bubble a little bit. I think that’s what he did and I think he realized that he needed to take a step back and see what was going on. And if he didn’t like it, then he can move on. I think they agreed to disagree. Like I said, could have been handled differently from a public relations standpoint on both sides. I think once the dust settles, everything will feel itself out and it should be alright.

Finally he was asked about Punk going to the UFC. Rollins has positive thoughts on that as well.

Good for him. Kudos to Punk for finding himself something to do after WWE. He’s made a big splash over the last few weeks between his podcasts and signing with UFC. I wish him the best of luck. I really hope that he has as much success there as he has here. I think it will be very interesting for him to try something new. He’s only been a pro wrestler since he was 18 years old. For him, at his age, to step out of his comfort zone and try something new is pretty admirable and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does.

If you were expecting Rollins to come out and rip Punk you were mistaken. Rollins is a Punk fan yet I am not quite sure if he will be as welcomed back as he thinks without a public apology to the Big Guy.

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UFC Star Rips CM Punk, Says Signing Is Ridiculous

December 15, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

He might do great, but why does he get a chance? He’s an amateur. You’re going to put an amateur in there with pros? That makes us all amateurs, so I think it’s ridiculous. As far as I’m concerned, f-ck him, f-ck the whole situation. Anybody who takes that fight is tripping.

Not everyone is excited about CM Punk coming to the UFC. Punk has now become the target of one angry UFC fighter who believes that Punk’s UFC deal is making a complete mockery of the sport and guess what…he’s right.

It didn’t take long for CM Punk to get a taste of his own medicine. Remember, Punk has been outspoken for the last several years of guys walking into the WWE and getting WrestleMania main-events while the rest of the crew are working house shows and putting their time in. Punk is now in a similar situation on the opposite side in the UFC. The biggest difference however is that many in Punk’s new locker room don’t believe he has earned any of it.

UFC veteran Nate Diaz is the first big UFC star to publicly bash the signing. Diaz went off on Punk over the weekend and while he doesn’t wish any warm on Punk, he believes the entire situation is terrible for the UFC fighters and the sport as a whole.

I don’t dig it,” Diaz said. “He has got no fights. I know he’s a big draw. I looked him up. Everyone’s going to buy tickets. It’s going to be great for the venue and the UFC, but at the same time, it downgrades all the fighters.

Whether you are a Punk fan or not, you can’t argue with Diaz. Having a guy fight in the UFC with no fights under his belt or no amateur pedigree makes the entire sport look like a circus. It hurts the credibility of the sport and the fighters. What does it say about the UFC if Punk walks in, without any experience, and wins? It says exactly what Diaz is saying.

If I want to, I can’t go play in the NBA – not even Stefan Struve’s big ass,” Diaz said. “He can’t go play in the NBA if he wants to because he feels like making a change. For a publicity thing? They wouldn’t pay him no money, and they wouldn’t even let him play. It’s ridiculous.”

I don’t think you should just let some millionaire WWE guy just come on over and play a little game, like have fun with his career. I’m over here busting my ass, fighting for 10 years and doing my thing and having a serious job that I have to do for this. And this guy is going to come over and probably get paid more than everyone in the room.

Hey, that kind of sounds familiar doesn’t it. CM Punk’s own words on a similar situation are coming back to haunt him.

I have no personal problems against Dwayne. It’s very frustrating being here and watch a guy come in and get credit for a WrestleMania buyrate when he didn’t do anything on the show. He certainly didn’t do anything entertaining.

This whole situation is making Punk look like a bigger hypocrite by the day. Once again you have to keep in mind, Punk has been the one beating this drum for the last three years in the WWE. This was his fight and unfortunately for him he is the one that opened up the comparisons to his situation and the ones he whined about for the last three years.

I’m sorry, but this guy’s making a joke out of my serious life and getting compensated more for it,” Diaz said. “I don’t mean no harm on him, but I don’t think it’s right.

Nate Diaz isn’t a popular guy but it is hard for any objective fan to disagree with him. This whole situation really is a complete joke.

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CM Punk talks UFC, AJ’s Thoughts, WrestleMania, and More

December 11, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

CM Punk is once again a hot commodity. The former WWE champion is on everyone’s minds after signing with the UFC. Punk is doing a lot of media and as expected, is shooting straight about his trajectory from the wrestling ring to the octagon.

It’s been less than a week and people still have questions. It is still hard to wrap my head around a guy with 0 fighting experience, amateur or pro getting a UFC deal after suffering numerous injuries as a pro wrestler, including several concussions. Yet that is exactly what Phil Brooks is going to do and he isn’t shy about discussing it.

Punk has talked to a lot of media and a recent stop at RollingStone.com may be one of the most insightful interviews he has done yet. The interview doesn’t touch on the WWE much at all but asks the questions we have all been wondering about Punk’s plan, his mindset, and what the hell is exactly going on here with the straight-edged superstar.

Punk was asked about whether critics and fans should reserve judgment until after Punk steps inside of the octagon as opposed to jumping conclusions. Punk says yes and even someone as confident as Punk isn’t going to make any bold predictions.

For sure. I’m not gonna sit here and make bold predictions about first-round head kicks and beating ranked opponents. This is about me and my journey to get there. I understand other peoples’ point of view about, “Oh, there’s great fighters out there like Ben Askren.” My only point on that is, “Don’t be mad at me, Ben. Be mad at [UFC President] Dana [White].” I’m sure Ben Askren’s a nice guy. If he’s mad at me, I understand. But if the Blackhawks came to me before Dana and Lorenzo did and were like, “We’re gonna put you in goal,” I’d be like, “That’s great. I played a little hockey when I was a kid.” You know what I mean? I’m not gonna deny myself some opportunity because somebody on Twitter thinks I shouldn’t have it.”

I do agree with Punk on one thing here. He is not the enemy. If you are upset that he is signed to a UFC deal, don’t be mad at him. Be mad at UFC management for signing him. Ironically, you could have said the same thing in regards to Punk whining for the last three years about The Rock and Brock Lesnar but I digress.

Punk isn’t quite sure whether the UFC will be more positive for him than the WWE, but he is happy with the way things are moving. Punk offered an interesting comparison between both companies to Rolling Stone.

I’m not sure I did know (whether UFC is more positive). If I can maybe throw out an example of how things are different – the lack of communication from the WWE office was astounding. They said they suspended me and never contacted me. They were in my town, about an eight-minute drive from my house multiple times, and didn’t feel like it was necessary to come try and talk to me, so I assumed that they didn’t want to talk to me.
Then, you’ve got Dana and [UFC CEO] Lorenzo Fertitta wanting to talk to me, and they get on a jet and fly to Chicago to talk to me. So that pretty much told me exactly how Dana and Lorenzo do business. I’m sure there are other people out there who have different situations with them, but they’re playing straight with me. And being backstage [at last Saturday’s UFC 181] and introducing everybody to my wife, it was such a great experience. And I’m sure part of that is the name value and who I am, but everyone seemed to be happy, which is different and odd for me.

I think most of us were curious as to what his wife, WWE Diva AJ Lee thinks of this. I think many of us wondered what his wife of less than one-year is thinking after hearing that her husband has signed to be a UFC fighter.

After I spoke with Dana and Lorenzo, that’s when it got serious and that’s when I brought it to her attention. Trust me, whatever nerves I’m gonna have stepping into the Octagon will pale in comparison to the nerves I had when I had to bring this up to my wife. I was honestly terrified. I was like, “She’s gonna shut it down, and I’m gonna have to figure out a way to smooth it over so I can do this, because I don’t take no for an answer, she doesn’t take no for an answer, and this is something I really wanna do.” Right off the bat she recognized that. She’s been around me long enough to know that, ever since the first day I met her, this is something I talked about doing, and she’s not somebody that’s gonna step in front of her husband trying to accomplish something that he dreamed about.

Finally, Punk is asked whether he is still itching for that WrestleMania main-event spot.

No, absolutely not.

All in all this is a fantastic interview with plenty of more details about Punk’s transition into UFC, reaction, and path to the octagon. Check out the entire interview over at RollingStone.com

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Pro Wrestling’s Five Most Memorable Events of 2014

December 10, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s hard to believe that another year has been and gone already. 2014 came and went in blur, bringing it with more than its fair share of memorable moments.

It was the year of the WWE Network and the year of Batista’s brief return. It was the year The Shield broke up and Bray Wyatt was, for what feels like a fleeting moment now, the coolest thing in pro wrestling.

Though as memorable as these stories were, they didn’t get us talking quite as much as these five memorable events from 2014.

5) The end of TNA?
With the announcement that Spike TV would not be renewing the company’s flagship show once their current deal ended, it seemed the writing was firmly on the wall for TNA, and there was a while back there when we were all drafting eulogies and contemplating the future of mainstays like Bobby Roode and James Storm.

Yes, it seemed that for a while, the predictions of pessimistic (you may say realistic) wrestling fans everywhere was about to come true: The end was nigh for Dixie Carter’s little wrestling company.

As we all know now, TNA lived to fight another day, but it was looking pretty close back there.

4) Daniel Bryan shines at Wrestlemania
Daniel Bryan’s rise from the doldrums of WWE to the headline act at Wrestlemania was big news this year. As fans, we gave ourselves a pat on the back for making our voices heard both online and at the arenas, demanding our man Bryan be given a starring role at the biggest show of the year.

Then, we gave WWE bigwigs a bigger pat on the back when, for once, they actually came through for us.

Though subsequent injuries meant this one finished on less than the perfect ending, for a while, this was the sure fire feel-good story of 2014.

3) Sting arrives in WWE
In this writer’s mind, you’d be perfectly justified switching this one with our number two entry, and to be honest, this one only misses out on the number two spot because, well, we all saw it coming.

Still, even if it wasn’t the most surprising event of the year, the sight of the WCW icon between the ropes of a WWE is one many long-term fans never actually thought we’d see.

Whether the Stinger’s run as a WWE performer turns out as well as we’re all hoping it does remains to be seen, though it’s fair to say him being there in the first place was by far one of the biggest things that happened in 2014.

2) 21-1
The silence said it all. There wasn’t a single person watching Wrestlemania 30 who really believed, in their heart of hearts, that Brock Lesnar would emerge victorious against The Undertaker.

Even this writer, who penned an article for another website outlining why Lesnar was the perfect choice to end The Streak- didn’t really believe he would.

Then it happened. The Dead Man went down. Brock made the cover. A three count later, and The Undertaker was 21-1 at Wrestlemania.

1) CM Punk quits
Though talk about most of the stories on this list eventually simmered, ready to be replaced by the next big shocking turn of events, the news of CM Punk walking out of the WWE never really went away.

Punk left after his appearance at the 2014 Royal Rumble, and we all spent pretty much the rest of that year talking about it. For some, it was ripping into Punk for ‘taking his ball and going home,’ for others, it was plotting his huge, apparently inevitable, return in any number of fantasy booking scenarios.

Either way, Punk remained hot news for months after his last appearance inside a wrestling ring.

The Straight Edge Superstar’s recent appearances on Colt Cabana’s podcasts have only fanned the flames of this one, making it by far the most memorable events of 2014.

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Top 25 WWE Ladder/TLC/Money in the Bank Matches In History

December 10, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

These Top-25 lists are picking up steam, so I’ll take the WWE approach of beating a good thing into the ground. With Money in the Bank coming up, it’s a good idea to look back at two decades-plus of WWE’s greatest ladder matches, and figure out what the best of the bunch truly are. There’s no bad matches to be found here; every entry is rewatchable time and time again. With TLC and Money in the Bank upping the ante of the classic ladder match, this list will cover a lot of ground, and no doubt provide a little argument fodder. Enjoy!

(Note: this list only includes matches which ended with the retrieval of a belt, briefcase, etc. As such, the TLC 2012 match with The Shield vs. Ryback and Team Hell No is excluded. Otherwise, it’d have likely been top ten).

25. Kane vs. Big Show vs. Matt Hardy vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler – Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Money in the Bank, July 18, 2010)

Firmly in the ‘let’s shoehorn gimmick matches into the secondary PPVs so that gimmick matches have less meaning’ era, Money in the Bank’s come away unscathed, thanks to the car-wreck spectacles that never get old. In this case, the maiden match of Money in the Bank’s spin-off event hit its mark, with a dose of big man psychology. Show and Kane were natural targets by the smaller competitors, while Show used a custom mecha-ladder for climbing.

24. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena – Money in the Bank Ladder Match (TLC, December 16, 2012)

Ziggler put his previously-earned briefcase on the line (stay tuned for that), and, as is modern custom, lost to Cena in several matches on Raw prior to the PPV contest. Just as naturally, Ziggler took his usual laundry list of wild bumps through the course of the match, before winning as a result of AJ Lee shoving Cena off the ladder. That’d be Ziggler’s lone win of relevance over Cena, but Dolph memorably cashed in four months later on Alberto Del Rio.

23. John Morrison vs. Sheamus – Ladder Match (TLC, December 19, 2010)

Forgotten in the dogpile beneath main event-and-celebrity over-focus, Morrison and Sheamus had themselves a nifty little feud late that year, and a title shot at The Miz was at stake. Akin to the Razor/Michaels matches of yore with the larger adversary throwing around the nimble stud, Morrison gradually overcame the odds and won in dramatic fashion after Sheamus attempted to tip the ladder. Sadly, the Morrison/Miz bout is just as forgotten as this great match.

22. Mr. Kennedy vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. CM Punk vs. King Booker vs. Finlay – Money in the Bank Ladder Match (WrestleMania XXIII, April 1, 2007)

Before Damien Sandow came along to look unceremoniously weak in failing in his cash-in against John Cena, there was Mr. Kennedy to lose his briefcase to Edge in a Raw quickie, following a Kennedy injury. The WrestleMania opener had plenty of intrigue, with a host of realistic winners. Jeff’s seated dive through Edge and a bridged ladder is cringeworthy, yet hilarious for the sight of brother Matt encouraging him to do it, then reacting as horror as Jeff lay hurt.

21. Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Christian vs. Tensai vs. Santino Marella vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Sin Cara – Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Money in the Bank, July 15, 2012)

Another case of a heel being so much fun to watch that the crowd can’t help but cheer for them, the fans in attendance went berserk over Ziggler bumping Christian off a ladder in the end so that “The Show Off” could claim the briefcase. The match also seemed to be a coming-out party for Kidd, whose acrobatics finally had the forum for which to shine. Unfortunately, a torn meniscus sustained early in 2013 would sideline Kidd for almost a year, halting any push.

20. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian – WWE World Tag Team Titles, Triple Ladder Match (WrestleMania 2000, April 2, 2000)

The ‘unofficial’ TLC match (the official moniker for such matches wasn’t coined until SummerSlam that year) was the brightest bulb of a shockingly-dim WrestleMania. A quiet crowd most of the night, the fans memorably buzzed for the Dudleyz setting up the table bridge across two ladders inside the ring. Some of the slower spots haven’t aged well, thanks to innovation and improvement, but there’s still plenty of sick spots to marvel at.

19. Edge vs. John Cena – WWE Heavyweight Title, TLC Match (Unforgiven, September 17, 2006)

A bit of a shocker when Edge went over Cena in Cena’s Boston backyard at SummerSlam, but that only meant Edge would return the favor in his native Toronto. The visual of Edge being AA’d off of a ladder through a double stack of tables would remain a fixture in WWE’s “don’t try this at home” PSAs for quite some time afterward. Seems as though out of all of Cena’s frequent opponents, only Edge matches CM Punk in creating consistent greatness with Cena.

18. Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk – World Heavyweight Title, TLC Match (SummerSlam, August 23, 2009)

Given what a merchandise vessel Hardy had become for a company that loves its multiple revenue streams, it’s hard to believe Hardy would be gone by week’s end, with no return five years later. Punk’s victory transitioned into his tepid feud with The Undertaker, beginning immediately after the match as “The Dead Man” performed a supernatural body switch with a downed Hardy. In 2009, it was astonishing that Punk could win any PPV main event.

17. Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio – Vacant World Heavyweight Title, Ladder Match (Extreme Rules, May 1, 2011)

What a weird time period for WWE. Edge vacates the championship three weeks earlier upon his hasty, very real retirement, and a top contender’s match is made for the PPV. The crowd heavily bought into Christian, and a dramatic finish saw Edge providing timely interference to offset that of Ricardo Rodriguez and Brodus Clay. Christian winning the gold was possibly the biggest pop of his career, so naturally he lost the title to Randy Orton two nights later.

16. Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. MNM vs. William Regal/Dave Taylor – WWE Tag Team Titles, Ladder Match (Armageddon, December 17, 2006)

Teddy Long punched up this one by adding the Hardyz and MNM, as well as the ladder modifier, seconds before the bell rang, I suppose in an effort to get non-buyers to purchase the show at about 8:23 EST. The match is most notable for Joey Mercury damn near getting his face grafted off in a see-saw spot gone awry, forcing him to wear facial contraptions for a time afterward. London and Kendrick retained in the midst of an 11-month reign the company barely promoted.

15. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane vs. Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater vs. Sin Cara vs. Wade Barrett – Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Money in the Bank, July 17, 2011)

Takes a back-seat to CM Punk and John Cena’s all-timer to close the show, but it holds weight as the match that boosted Bryan into the main event tier where he’d more or less reside ever since. A wellness policy exodus played out as Sheamus powerbombed Sin Cara through a ladder, leading to a stretcher job into thirty days of oblivion for the luchador. Bryan’s victory was fairly unexpected, and the Chicago fans gave him a pop nearly comparable to Punk’s.

14. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – WWE Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match (WWE Challenge Taping, July 21, 1992)

The WWE’s first ever ladder match seems very tame compared to the anarchic stunt shows of later years, but two masterful workers in their relative youth put together a dramatic series of ‘near-falls’, with the match more about the drama of the climb instead of insanity. Hart purportedly suggested the match to Vince McMahon, who asked for a demonstration at this TV taping. The match made it onto several video releases, and became a tape-trader’s bounty.

13. Randy Orton vs. CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Christian – Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Money in the Bank, July 14, 2013)

In a roundabout way, this match made it possible for Daniel Bryan to stand tall at the end of WrestleMania XXX, holding two World Titles aloft (although the Rumble was definitely the fuse). The best ladder match in the spinoff PPV’s history began with a hero’s welcome for the returning RVD, and culminated with Paul Heyman turning on Punk, just prior to Orton’s victory, which was confusing at the time, but became much clearer following SummerSlam.

12. The Rock vs. Triple H – WWE Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match (SummerSlam, August 30, 1998)

A year later, Rock was a mega-babyface that transcended the business, while Triple H would be the slimy villain he was born to play. Here, however, was the match that virtually shot both men into the main event for good. In front of a nuclear Madison Square Garden crowd, Rock about blew the domed roof off with a People’s Elbow while Helmsley lay prone on the oddly-yellow ladder. HHH’s win only freed up Rock for the World Title run we all saw coming.

11. Chris Jericho/Chris Benoit vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge/Christian – WWE World Tag Team Titles, TLC Match (SmackDown, May 22, 2001)

A worthy sequel to Benoit and Jericho’s heart-stopping title win over Steve Austin and Triple H one night earlier, an irate Vince McMahon booked the new champs against the TLC Six on free television. WWE Network, assuming it survives the long haul, will eventually have this episode up, as the match is otherwise lost to history thanks to Benoit’s involvement. A shade below the original TLC battles in terms of overall quality, it’s still one of the best ladder matches ever.

10. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Rob Van Dam (Money in the Bank, June 29, 2014)

The best of both worlds for WWE: a spotfest with some truly innovative moments (Rollins getting back-dropped onto a ladder bridge/puzzle structure) and a great storyline threaded through (Ambrose attempting to kill Rollins for breaking up the Shield). Kingston and company took turns keeping the pulse going while Ambrose, selling a dislocated shoulder, refused to let Rollins win. Kane tombstoned Ambrose to end the Ahab-like endless chase, and Rollins won to build on a genius heel turn.

9. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian – Ladder Match (No Mercy, October 17, 1999)

Hanging above the ring was a bank robber’s sack of cash, and the winner would win Terri Runnels’ managerial rights. If it was believed that the winners would be elevated by association with Terri, the four just elevated themselves with a performance for the ages, becoming made men to varying degrees. Interesting note: Edge came dangerously close to missing the match, as he was almost unable to fly to the show due to a hurricane (he lived in the Bahamas at the time).

8. Eddie Guerrero vs. Rob Van Dam – WWE Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match (Monday Night Raw, May 27, 2002)

Easily the best ladder match in Raw’s history, even if Undertaker and Jeff Hardy’s clash a month later received more company hype, despite it being a dramatic finish to an average match. This match was so good, even a moronic fan running interference couldn’t ruin it. RVD regained the gold, leading into the post-match involvement of Steve Austin, who went after Guerrero, only to be thwarted by a returning, suddenly-heel Chris Benoit; an angle that ended up fizzling.

7. Edge vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Kane vs. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin – Money in the Bank Ladder Match (WrestleMania XXI, April 3, 2005)

The first of its kind remains the best of its kind. From Benjamin’s hands-free ladder ascension to Benoit German-suplexing Jericho, who was holding a ladder, it’s possibly the most uncluttered Money in the Bank match ever, and one that didn’t overstay its welcome. It’s also arguable that Edge’s eventual cash-in on John Cena was the most relevant of its kind, since nobody had ever seen a cash-in until he did it nine months later. Anything since dilutes the fun to a degree.

6. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho – WWE Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match (Royal Rumble, January 21, 2001)

There’s a moment of retroactive horror in the body of the match, wherein Benoit goes for his patented headfirst dive to the floor, only for Jericho to wallop him upside the head with a jarring chair shot. If seeing that moment overrides any possible enjoyment you can derive from the art of the match, it’s understood. For the more unmoved, it was a viable candidate for 2001’s match of the year, rivaled by a litany of classics, one of which is to come.

5. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon – WWE Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match (SummerSlam, August 27, 1995)

Gorilla Monsoon’s first act as figurehead President was to remove Psycho Sid from SummerSlam, and give Razor the shot at Michaels’ gold, in the match they put on the map. Wise choice; it boosted the show into pretty good territory, rare air in 1995. Ramon played de facto villain, smashing Michaels’ knee to pieces with the ladder, before Michaels superkicked him off a second ladder. The botched ending, and Michaels’ tantrum, somehow adds to the charm.

4. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian – WWE World Tag Team Titles, TLC Match (WrestleMania X7, April 1, 2001)

From the greatest WrestleMania ever comes the ideal spotfest: accelerated, minimal set-up for the convoluted spots, and the type of chaos that comes from involving a few intruders. Nominee for the best bump visual in ladder match history: Bubba Ray Dudley and Matt Hardy smashing four tables into dust after an interfering Rhyno tipped a painter’s ladder over. Edge and Christian’s win was a bit anti-climactic, but you can’t discount the efforts before then.

3. Edge and Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz – WWE World Tag Team Titles, TLC Match (SummerSlam, August 27, 2000)

Gets the slight nod over its WrestleMania kid-brother for the sole reason of a less rushed ending. Conventional wisdom had the Hardyz going over here in their home state of North Carolina. In defeat, Jeff busted out a frightening Swanton Bomb off a ladder on the floor through Bubba Ray Dudley. The match is also known for an unfortunate double-entendre that Jim Ross made about Edge and Lita that gained new perspective about five years later.

2. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels – World Heavyweight Title, Ladder Match (No Mercy, October 5, 2008)

Doesn’t stand out, but it should. In fact, a lukewarm crowd is possibly all that kept this from the number one spot. Jericho and Michaels’ hate-filled feud in 2008 came to a head with this match, which was less about cutesy spots, and more heavy on the “I’m gonna kill you” brutality. Indeed, most of the ‘spots’ were Jericho and Michaels trying to make the other suffer, without the need for Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions. An inexplicably undervalued masterpiece.

1. Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels – WWE Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match (WrestleMania X, March 20, 1994)

Like Savage and Steamboat, a newer fan may wonder what’s so special about this match, after seeing many a stuntshow since. For 1994, Ramon and Michaels put together a match just unheard of for the time, and wouldn’t become standard for a few years yet. Michaels took at least five or six crazy bumps off of Ramon’s power-based offense, and the dramatic near-finishes had the MSG crowd buying into every second. It’s still the gold standard.

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CM Punk in the UFC is the Height of Hypocrisy

December 08, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

This thing isn’t a joke. You don’t just decide “I’m a professional wrestler I think I’m going to fight.” It takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work — just like wrestling does. I’m sure these guys have to train hard and have to get in great shape to professional wrestle. You can’t just jump up one day and say, “I’m going to be a pro fighter and I think I’ll fight next month.” It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t even come close to working that way.” – Dana White 2007

CM Punk will be returning to action…but not in a WWE ring. The former WWE world champ is stepping into the UFC octagon in a move that has a lot of WWE fans excited and a lot of MMA fans asking questions.

It (fighting MMA) was always in the back of my mind since then. There was a fork in the road, I chose one direction. I’m fortunate to be able to revfisit things and take another fork in the road.

Punk has signed a multi-fight deal to join the UFC. The announcement comes less than two weeks after Punk returned to the spotlight after a series of podcast interviews in which he blasted the WWE and gave his side of the story on his exit. Ironically the things said in those interviews make very little sense in light of his latest announcement.

Punk talked extensively about the injuries he has suffered over the last several years in the WWE. He talked about concussions, bad knees, and MRSA infection, and broken ribs to name a few. Punk talked about burnout and went on a lengthy rant about Ryback in particular injuring Punk during their program. For a guy who has been so badly beaten up in a pro wrestling ring the last several years, the move to an actual combat sport doesn’t seem very logical does it?

My first reaction to hearing the news is that this may be the height of hypocrisy for CM Punk. Especially when you look back on all of the harsh statements Punk made against The Rock coming back to the WWE.

I have no personal problems against Dwayne. It’s very frustrating being here and watch a guy come in and get credit for a WrestleMania buyrate when he didn’t do anything on the show. He certainly didn’t do anything entertaining.

Let’s fast-forward to 2014 and compare the situations. You now have a guy (Punk) who is getting a UFC fight without any professional or amateur athletic background simply due to his star-power. This is a guy who is taking a spot away from an MMA fighter who has made the sacrifices and trained hard to get a coveted UFC spot. It would be one thing if Punk had to earn it on The Ultimate Fighter but he has never even had an MMA fight. His spot on the UFC card is undeserving no matter how you look at it and he is now that guy walking into the UFC locker room, without even an amateur fight or background, and taking someone’s spot. It doesn’t get any more hypocritical than that.

And then there is Dana White. The same Dana White who blasted competitors in the past for signing fighters with no MMA experience for their celebrity.

Which athletic commission is going to let this guy fight?” White asked. “Who the f**k are they going to find to fight Herschel Walker? A guy in a wheelchair?

Great question! Which athletic commission is going to let CM Punk? At least Herschel Walker had a professional sports background and the same can be said for James Toney who got a fight in the UFC. They also did not have a history of concussions. Keep in mind that a couple of years ago when Kurt Angle expressed interest in joining the UFC that Dana White was going to make Angle go through TUF to get a UFC spot and Angle is an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling! CM Punk is getting a contract and a fight simply for being a professional wrestling superstar.

I don’t have any doubt in my mind that Bellator was the key factor in getting this deal done. There was no Bellator aggressively signing fighters back when Angle wanted in. Bellator is aggressively going after the UFC and there is no doubt that they would have given Punk a fight on network TV if the UFC didn’t jump first. I also don’t care what anyone from the UFC says, this move is about a company that is struggling mightily on pay-per-view and looking for a Hail Mary. Even with Anderson Silva coming back, the UFC will be lucky if they get two fights out of him in 2015. The UFC has been unable to create new stars and the numbers don’t lie. They need something and signing a popular WWE star is about as good as it is going to get.

Signing with the UFC is one thing. Getting into a UFC fight is another. Punk had a problem staying healthy in a worked pro wrestling sport for the last several years. Granted he wrestles a more physical style than most but it is pro wrestling. Will his body hold up through a full training camp? Has he even put in a full training camp to see if it would? That is a big question.

Regardless, it will be a must-see event the day Punk steps foot inside of the octagon. My suspicion is that a guy without one MMA fight, one camp, and no amateur wrestling or boxing background is not going to fare well.

But we’ll all be watching and as far as Dana is concerned, that’s more important that credibility in 2014/15.

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CM Punk and the UFC: The Internet Breaks

December 07, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

One thing’s for sure: it shouldn’t be too difficult for Dana White to license the rights to “Cult of Personality.”

Oh, and Phil Brooks, whatever moniker he uses when entering the Octagon, won’t be denied sponsors for his trunks this time. He may not get Pepsi’s sphere emblazoned across his crotch, but it’s more than what Vince McMahon reportedly was willing to allow.

But a bigger loser, from an ego standpoint, has to be Triple H. Not only was CM Punk unwilling to work with McMahon’s son-in-law at WrestleMania XXX, but Punk will instead be sharing the stage with some 1-0 or 2-1 no-name, lunch-bucket rookie. There’s a chance Punk could get his teeth kicked in by this likely-undistinguished competitor, and it’s still preferable in Punk’s eyes than that WrestleMania ‘reward’.

The idea of 36-year-old Phil Brooks trading star-print tights for sponsor-plastered trunks sent aftershocks throughout the social circuit, as Brooks announced Saturday night at UFC 181 in Las Vegas that he’d signed a multi-fight deal with the organization. Brooks is expected to have his first fight at some indeterminate point in 2015.

From a fighting standpoint, it’s a headscratcher; despite incorporating mixed martial arts into his training regimen, Brooks has never competed in an actual MMA match, nor does he have an amateur background in competitive grappling or fighting. Brock Lesnar was a Division I wrestling champion who also competed in one MMA fight prior to his UFC debut. Brooks has no such experience.

From a business prospective, using Brooks’ name, and accumulated notoriety throughout 2014, makes sense. In this year alone, there have been some ghastly UFC buyrates. UFC 174 on June 14 drew only 115,000 buys, headlined by Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov for the Flyweight Championship. A Jon Jones defense of the Lightheavyweight Championship on April 26 at UFC 172 drew just 350,000 buys, paltry considering Jones’ name value.

While WWE buyrates largely sunk into the hopper from a combination of waning fan interest and the proliferation of streaming sites (not that UFC doesn’t face the second problem), it’s fair to say that Brooks probably wasn’t the cause. Repetitive booking, homogenized direction, and too much John Cena took their toll on the brand, and Brooks never was really allowed to ascend as undisputed number one. Would the numbers have rebounded with CM Punk as full-blown headliner? Can’t say for certain, but nobody else gets their name chanted for months after telling the company to go screw.

Only eight UFC events have drawn more than one million buys and Lesnar was in four of them, all of which were World Heavyweight Title bouts. Tops is his avenging win over Frank Mir at UFC 100 in July 2009, drawing 1.6M buys. That’s almost 500,000 more than the second-place event, his dramatic comeback win over Shane Carwin at UFC 116, sitting at 1.16M buys.

Since Lesnar returned to WWE, only one UFC event has cleared the million mark: Chris Weidman’s gruesome rematch with Anderson Silva a year ago at UFC 168, where Silva’s leg infamously snapped like balsa wood. That sits in third place with 1.1M buys.

Only four events have even topped 700,000 buys since Lesnar’s departure, and all had either Silva, Georges St-Pierre, or Jon Jones in the main event.

In other words, a little wattage wouldn’t hurt.

That’s not to say that Brooks is going to work his way up the caste and challenge Weidman for the Middleweight crown, or even Robbie Lawler for the Welterweight title. Dana White has already stated that Brooks’ first opponent will be some relatively inexperienced fighter (read: tomato can who may or may not have seen Eight Men Out). It’s hard to imagine a 36-year-old taking up the game becoming a virtuoso, especially without a competitive background in some form of martial art. Dave Bautista was relatively lucky to win his only MMA bout (and not even UFC) at age 43; despite his occasional big talk, he never competed again.

Best case scenario for UFC, it’s a novelty hire, which sounds like something a minor league baseball team would do as a promotion (“It’s Canseco Flip Off Night! Give us your ‘finger’ at the ticket office and get a free bobblehead!”). Chances are, that first fight against John Q. Gumshield will do a better buyrate than most seasoned, and recognizable, fighters would do. Brooks losing would taint his drawing power, so as implied, it’s important that Brooks win. A tease of him being in contention would probably win over an audience that likes the lure of the chase.

Best case, Brooks stays strong long enough to co-headline an event with Brock Lesnar, rumored to be flying the McMahon coop after WrestleMania. Think late 2015, maybe even the annual year-end spectacular that UFC favors, Lesnar headlining against someone like Cain Velasquez or Fabricio Werdum, while Brooks goes on semi-last against perhaps a more noteworthy middleweight, perhaps CB Dolloway or Gegard Mousasi. On paper, that sounds like Brooks would get torn to pieces, but it’s merely an idea. I’m not the promoter here, although I’m sure White’s already stained his rug with this thought.

And what if Brooks clearly enjoys the UFC lifestyle? Maybe he fights three or four times and then migrates into a talking-head position with Curt Menefee or Ariel Helwani, but an endorsement of the UFC life is an open door for others in WWE, those who call BS on the whole ‘brass ring’ speech McMahon gave last Monday, to give MMA a go.

There are names that would have a chance; Jack Swagger is a proven amateur wrestler with an irregular body type that could create mismatches through leverage. Rusev maintains a background in muay thai, and is young enough to have a realistic chance of making a dent in the sport. El Patron Alberto is no longer a WWE star, but as a household name in Mexico (not to mention suddenly relevant in America from his WWE horror stories), he could potentially resume his fighting career in some capacity, even as a two-fight novelty. It’s been five years since Alberto’s last fight, nearly the same time gap Ken Shamrock had in his MMA career (which doesn’t sound promising for Alberto).

The WWE connection to UFC worked once before with Lesnar drawing disenchanted, or just suddenly ‘grown up’, wrestling fans to the sport. Brooks’ name holds immeasurable sway in 2014, and his hiring is White’s savviest business move in quite some time.

It is indeed ‘clobbering time’, but for whom?

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CM Punk Calls B.S. On Vince McMahon Apology

December 04, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It didn’t take CM Punk long to respond to Vince McMahon’s apology. If you expected Punk to have a change of heart after hearing the CEO say he is sorry, you better think again. Not only is Punk still irate, he is calling the apology “bullsh*!”

CM Punk returned for another interview on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast. This week’s podcast featured less pipe bombs but did address two highly anticipated topics. Punk addressed Vince’s apology and Vince’s feelings that Punk would be back in the WWE someday. Vince is sorry that Punk received his termination notice on his wedding day as he told Stone Cold Steve Austin.

“I would like to do this. I would like to apologize. Sometimes in a big corporation, the legal people don’t necessarily know what talent relations are doing and conversely. Punk got his severance papers moreover on the day he got married. That was coincidence. So I want to personally apologize for that.”

Vince also went on to say that he thinks they can work out with Punk as he did with Ultimate Warrior, Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart, and Hulk Hogan. Now most immediately accused the Chairman of the Board of lying through his teeth. CM Punk is one of them. Punk isn’t buying it and wants to assure all of those fans chanting his name that he isn’t coming back and is closing the door on the WWE.

Me? I’ll go work the fu*cking Young Bucks at PWG. I don’t give a fuck. See, the thing (is) if I say it’s not off the table you’re going to have these people that are holding on to hope that I’m coming back. I understand and it makes interesting conversation, right? I think there’s plenty of guys out there that think they know. Jericho, I think, is one of them. Jericho thinks that I feel exactly how he felt in 2005 and he left for two, two-and-a-half years or something like that. So from his perspective, he felt in 2005 that he was never going to come back. And now he sees me saying that and he’s probably like ‘ah, just wait three years, you’ll feel like it will come back.’ I can see his point of view but then in turn I go ‘motherfu*cker, they didn’t fire you on your wedding day. They didn’t purposely and maliciously try to ruin a day that is supposed to be special to everybody. It’s your wedding day.’ I don’t want to hear ‘oh, it was a coincidence. I don’t want to hear ‘oh, the lawyers didn’t talk to talent relations.’ I talked to Hunter on the 11th, on the 13th Fed Exed overnight I got a document that was dated the 12th. My wife asked for that time off so she could A) get married, B) go on her honeymoon. The weekend after her honeymoon she was back on TV. They knew. I don’t want to hear ‘oh, it was a coincidence.

And you know what, I’ll address it: if the apology was sincere you wouldn’t use it as a publicity stunt on Austin’s podcast. You have my phone number, you have my address. You could text, you could call, you could show up when you’re a 10 minute fu*cking drive from my house and apologize to me like a man. That’s the fu*cking reality of it.

That’s the fu*cking timeline, ladies and gentlemen. I was sick and fu*cking hurt, and sick and tired, and I walked out. And I can do that because I’m an independent fu*cking contractor. And then I was suspended and then nobody contacted me after my suspension to be like ‘you’re unsuspended, we need you at Raw.’ I got those phone calls ‘we need you at TV’ a day after elbow surgery. I got that phone call a day after knee surgery. They weren’t afraid to do it then. So where the fuck was my phone call. Oh, I’m suspended, fine, great, I’m suspended. You know what? Maybe in the two months I’m feeling better and I’m going to come to my senses. But nobody ever found out because nobody ever reached out, you know what I mean?

He also wants to make it clear, he is never coming back.

“Every six months, we had a new head of talent relations, whether it was Jane Geddes, whether it was Sean Cleary. They were all these people who had no business being the head of talent relations. Every six months, somebody new. And you’re supposed to relate to the talent and nobody knew how to talk to these people. I’m a wrestler. I don’t know… The head of the HR department doesn’t know anything about taking bumps, he doesn’t know what a payday is. If I said ‘hey, I’m a blue eye’ he wouldn’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. So it’s hard to relate to these people, you know? I don’t want to hear it was a coincidence. I’m sorry. It was a publicity stunt. You’re sorry. Great. Be a man and call me. I’m sorry. It’s the fu*cking way it is, though, man. It’s the fu*cking reality. And if anybody out there thinks it was a coincidence, come on. Come on.”
“People are asking me like ‘do you accept Vince’s apology?’ And I’ll say I appreciate the sentiment but that was not a sincere apology and he knew about it since June. Why didn’t he apologize in June if he really felt bad about it? He just wanted to make sure a TV camera was on him so he could kind of damage control it and be like ‘oh, I’m really sorry.’ Well, if you were you would have apologized earlier, and if you were, if you really wanted to talk to me, you would have responded after I got a hold of everybody in the office. You would have said ‘you’re unsuspended.’ You would have said ‘we need you back on TV’ like you did when I was walking out of the hospital still anesthetized. … So, yeah, it’s done. We’re closing this chapter of my life.

So one thing I continue to fail to understand here is why he was both mad and surprised. He walked out of the company, injured or not, and was not in any communications with the office. He does mention that he spoke with Triple H but curiously he fails to leave the details of that call out. I think those details are very important. Is it his fault or theirs? I think a bit of both and it surprises me that he can’t see that. What are they supposed to do?

Now as far as being terminated on his wedding day, that is certainly spiteful and intent to hurt. However, here is a guy that leaked weeks before this that he wasn’t coming back when his contract was up. Here is a guy that walked out of the company and wasn’t talking to anyone. It would appear to me, especially from all of the rumors you heard about him being disgruntled, that he wanted to leave. Again, I would think he’d see this as a gift! Let’s face it. The guy is reportedly set for life so it isn’t as if he is going to have to worry about paying his bills. I am not sure what Punk’s end game here was if he was that upset about being terminated, even if it was on his wedding day. From all indications he wanted to leave and they could have extended his contract indefinitely until he returned from injury. The other thing is, he could have had his job back the next day if he wanted it! Yes he was fired but if he was that upset about losing his job, he could have it back in a second. Sure it was caddy, but I just think there is a bit of a drama here that isn’t making sense.

Punk is clear and he isn’t coming back. I think it is time to stop the chants and leave the guy alone and let him move on with his life. Many will disagree but I still think that the door could reopen although that won’t happen for years. Who knows where he will be in his life in 2-5 years? I doubt it but it wouldn’t shock me at all to see him back, but not for several years.

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CM Punk Will Wrestle Again

December 03, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I’m going to make a prediction that many of you WWE fans are going to roll your eyes at as if this was a known secret in the business…

CM Punk will return to the WWE.

It may not be immediate and it may come when we least expect it, but the “Voice of the Voiceless” will spout off again in a WWE ring in the future, much to the delight of fans across the globe.

An arc of sorts was created the other night when WWE Chairman Vince McMahon publicly apologized to Punk for being served with termination papers by the company on his wedding day. The wrestling mogul said he hopes there I still an opportunity to work with Phil Brooks, the man behind the Punk persona again.

“I would like to apologize,” McMahon said on a special episode of the Steve Austin Show on the WWE Network. “Sometimes in a big corporation, the legal people don’t necessarily know what talent relations are doing and conversely and Punk got his severance papers on the day he got married. And that was a coincidence. So, I want to personally apologize for that.”

It was the first time McMahon spoke publicly following CM Punk’s now infamous podcast interview last week where he torched the WWE for how he was treated during his time with the company. Considering CM Punk’s wife, AJ Lee, is still on the active roster, McMahon’s apology about the wedding snafu makes sense.

And yet, despite all of the damming comments and accusations, McMahon would still like to work with CM Punk one day.

“Other than that, the only thing I want to say about Punk is there have been a number of individuals in the past that have been disgruntled, said a lot of things about the organization and I’m not going to wash the dirty laundry in public. I don’t think there’s any reason for that. I think there are a lot of things he may say that he may regret one day in terms of looking back at it. But nonetheless, I hope that one day we will be able to get back together again.”

The reason for my optimism about a change of heart – although Punk has admitted time and time again about how happy he is to not be in a squared-circle, is the fact that wrestlers, regardless of the generation and the promotion, wrestlers return to the scene of the crime. Ric Flair returned to WCW, Bret Hart has reconciled with McMahon and is part of the WWE again. Hulk Hogan has made appearances within the company and helps to promote the WWE Network and marketing events. There are even reports that Kurt Angle is trying to decide between staying with TNA Wrestling and making a return to the company he got his big break with.

On Thanksgiving Day, Punk was quoted in a story on the Sporting News website as stating, “CM Punk had a lot to say about his final few years with the WWE when he opened up to Colt Cabana on the Art of Wrestling podcast. He talked about the injuries he was dealing with over the past few years, the money issues he had with the company and how it all built up to him walking out on the company this past January.”

I wonder if that all changed once Punk heard the conversation between McMahon and Steve Austin, one of the most rebellious faces the business has ever produced.

“They kept saying ‘your client is going to TNA, he’s going to TNA, and the brand is going to be ‘f*** WWE and this and this'”, said Punk. In an interview with Brian Fritz. “And my lawyer was like ‘I’ll tell you right now, my client is not going to TNA. He absolutely despises professional wrestling and he wants nothing to do with it. He says he’s never going to wrestle again.'”

”There’s no working relationship and there never will be ever again. That wedding day thing, you know, is pretty ridiculous.”

While you can never-say-never in the wrestling business, Punk returning to the WWE is about as close as you can come. So despite the outcry from fans and chants at WWE shows, it’s not going to change anything.

Punk still appears determined to stick to his guns, but should the itch come back and McMahon remains open to the former WWE Champion returning, the door will always remain open, even if it is only cracked.

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