CM Punk is a controversial figure in the world of wrestling and one WWE executive thinks controversy was in the air when the company decided to make him World Heavyweight Champion.
Speaking on his Something To Wrestle podcast, WWE executive Bruce Prichard discussed CM Punk’s first World Heavyweight Championship and says it was extremely controversial:
“Very controversial (CM Punk cashing in Money in the Bank on Edge). It was controversial because I don’t think that Punk had a lot of people in the locker room that were really pro-Punk. He’s a polarizing figure. I thought if he’s that polarizing in the locker room then, what’s the general audience feel about him? And I really felt the general audience was intrigued.
“He was different and there was something about Punk, especially at that time… it was a groundswell. People were getting behind him. I thought then, I think now, later on when he did the whole X Division, I thought that he was a much better heel, a natural heel. The idea at the time was for him to eventually turn heel. The way that they did it, that was after I was gone, I thought was superb.
“I thought it was really good for him but again, in an effort to shake things up, you wanna see surprise on people’s faces? You wanna see genuine reactions? Have a camera backstage when Punk won the title. There were those that were like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ There were those who were happy for him and again, it was a moment that no one was going to call, and I thought it was a good one.”
Bruce Prichard also explained that he was not immune from having “philosophical differences” with CM Punk but felt the star was just misunderstood:
“Hopefully, if you listen to the beginning of this show, you heard me talk about and praise CM Punk and talk about how he was misunderstood and how people felt about him and the fact that I thought that we just needed to explain who the hell he was… and people have a habit of you look at somebody and immediately form an opinion of who they are by the way they look and you can’t do that.
“That just doesn’t work in life, and I think Punk was a victim of that… The interactions that I had with Punk during that time were all good and we had great discussions. Look man, we had philosophical differences at times that we were able to talk out and that’s why I learned so much about him and figured out that, wait a minute, this guy’s just misunderstood.”
When Did CM Punk Leave WWE?
CM Punk infamously walked out of WWE in early 2014 after growing increasingly frustrated at his role in the company. He received his official termination on his wedding day in June of the same year.
Punk did not return to the pro wrestling world until 2021 when he debuted in All Elite Wrestling although controversy has followed him in that company as well following his well-documented backstage fight with The Elite after All Out 2022.