In just a matter of months CM Punk has gone from undervalued and underrated to the one of the most popular wrestlers in WWE, currently holding the top title belt in the promotion. Thanks in part to his appeal to older fans and his respect for wrestling’s past, he’s at the top of his game these days. It seems the rest of sports entertainment has finally caught on to what hardcore fans have known for years: CM Punk is the best in the world.
Like most of the roster, Punk appears in WWE 12, the newest wrestling game from THQ and the successor to the SmackDown franchise, though thanks to contract disputes earlier in the year Punk almost didn’t make it. He got in just under the wire, and the devs were even able to incorporate his new entrance theme “Cult of Personality.” We sat down with the champion as he enjoyed his breakfast, he remarked about how impressed he was at the game makers’ ability to keep up with all the additions to expanding number of tattoos.
We began reflecting on the year that’s been and asking Punk how he thinks he can make next year even better. “Well it just depends on what I do at WrestleMania. It has to be something high profile at this point, but obviously the main event is set. So once again I miss out on what should be my rightful spot in Mania. But I’m a big Chicago Cubs fan, so I'm used to saying ‘there’s always next year.’”
He’s referring to the heavily hyped WrestleMania 28 main event of John Cena vs The Rock. We mentioned that WrestleMania III had a similarly huge main event with Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant, but real wrestling fans know that the Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat match stole the show and is still seen by many as the greatest match of all time. So who could Punk see having a Savage/Steamboat equivalent?
“Well, if I have to be realistic about it I’m not really sure. A lot of people think Jericho would make a great match.” He was referring to the internet hype around the possible return of Chris Jericho to WWE, though talks seem to be stalling between the two. (One recent rumor even speculates Jericho is annoyed at being left out of WWE 12). “It’s just about making it actually happen,” said Punk.
Speaking of Macho Man, lately Punk has added a Savage-style elbow drop to his move set, complete with pointing to the skies. We first witnessed the move at SummerSlam this year, which was not long after Savage’s unfortunate passing. When asked why he started doing the move, Punk said it was simply meant as a way of showing respect to legends of the industry. “If some kid in the audience sees that and wants to find out who Randy Savage is because of that, that’s great.”
Getting the shop talk out of the way, we started on to the reason we were there: WWE 12. Punk said he’d been playing it some on his newly acquired tour bus. He noted the bus had a 360 so he could play games against fellow performers, saying that beating Kofi Kingston had become so easy at this point it was a little sad. He’d enjoyed what he’d played so far, though he did take issue with Randy Orton being the cover athlete. When asked if he had any suggestions for improvements for next year’s cover, he mentioned that 13 always was his lucky number.
As for the rest of his gaming habits, he’s not really into portable gaming despite all the time he spends flying and on the road. Until purchasing the tour bus and 360, his most recent gaming addiction was a surprising one. “I have a Wii at home that I mainly play Punch-Out!! on,” continuing by bringing up a childhood obsession with Excite Bike, particularly the track creator.
His main reason for grabbing a 360 seemed to be for another of the year’s biggest games. “I got it so I can play Mortal Kombat against the guys, but I really only purchased it because you could download Freddy Krueger.” Punk’s a huge horror film buff, with Halloween’s being his favorite of the genre. A fan of John Carpenter in general, and was amused by our pitch that he would be great in Roddy Piper’s part in a of non-existent remake They Live.
As our interview wound down, we moved on to another love of CM Punk’s: comic books. Those that follow him on Twitter or have seen his “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” entrance know he’s a big comic reader, though lately he’s changed his style. Currently reading Vertigo’s crime series 100 Bullets, he said, “I’m mostly reading collections these days. They travel better on the road than single issues anyway, and I just like getting the story all at once.” It’s prevented him from reading the newest DC books, as he compared reading single issues these days to watching the first ten minutes of a movie then waiting a month for the next ten.
Above: See? We totally met him
After that question our time with CM Punk was sadly over, but we were happy to have a even a small chunk of time with the wrestler. Though some day he may lose the WWE championship title he currently holds, as long as we’re playing WWE 12, he’ll always be number 1.