It’s been a long time since reigning WWE champion CM Punk was pinning wrestling opponents in a warehouse ring in Mokena.
Along the way the man billed as the Straight Edge Superstar has won his share of title belts and enemies.
The popular professional wrestler and Lockport native will hit the area Aug. 11 for Wizard World Chicago Comic Con at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
We caught up with the former Second City Saint by phone. Here’s what he had to say:
QUESTION: What was going through your head when you won the WWE champion belt last November?
CM PUNK: It was the highlight of my career. It’s like college graduation, your wedding, winning the Super Bowl and a retirement party all in one.
Q: You grew up watching professional wrestling. Who was your favorite wrestler?
CMP: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is No. 1 with a bullet. It’s easily explained: He wasn’t the biggest guy in pro wrestling, but he had the biggest mouth. That was me as a kid.
Q: And of your contemporaries, who do you admire now?
CMP: I admire just about anybody for various reasons. Everyone has traits that I admire.
You’ve got to admire John [Cena] for all the work he does with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, though. The WWE likes to broadcast his involvement with Make-A-Wish, and they should.
“I know how many of their events I do and how many John does, and there is no comparison.
Q: Speaking of John Cena, you have a bit of a rivalry and you’re both appearing at Chicago Comic Con. Should we be worried about an impromptu rematch?
CMP: [Laughing] You shouldn’t be worried; you should be hoping for one! Actually, we’re at the con on different days. You can probably expect some trash talking, though.
Q: Do you have a favorite wrestling move?
CMP: I’m klutzy and uncoordinated. I can’t fly off the top rope. Guys who can do a backflip off a rope like they’re on a diving board … that is always pretty impressive.
My moves? I kick people in the face. Straight high kicks.
Q: You’re also a big comic book fan. Which character is your favorite?
CMP: When I was a kid, I read based on the characters, and my favorite was Batman. As an adult, I read books based on who is writing them. I’m a big fan of “The Punisher.”
Q: You started off a DC Comics fan and now you’re more of a Marvel Comics guy, then?
CMP: Batman was my favorite character, but even as a kid, I had this bizarre loyalty to Marvel. I read mostly Marvel as a kid.
Q: If you could star in a movie or TV series as any comic book character, who would you like to be?
CMP: I can’t pick just one. I’d go for some pretty obscure characters.
Anyone from Ed Brubaker’s “Criminals” series. I’d like to say Batman, but I can’t fill the shoes of Christian Bale or Christopher Nolan.
The Punisher would be fun. Let’s face it, it’s not like I’d say no to anything. Heck, I’d even be Aquaman if they asked me.