With the Survivor Series pay-per-view taking place this Sunday and the release of WWE ’12 coming up on Tuesday, it has been a busy time for the wrestling giant.
CM Punk, one of the sports most interesting figures, discussed with The Post his feelings about the new video game, how he has become one of the most popular superstars and how he incorporates his own personal beliefs into his on-screen role.
Punk is featured along with a slew of other WWE superstars in the upcoming game WWE ’12, which is wrestling’s yearly answer to games such as Madden and FIFA. Punk described exactly what it is like seeing himself in a video game, calling the experience “awesome.”
“When I was a little kid and I fell in love with pro wrestling , the prospect of having your own action figure or being in a video game, that was awesome. It’s cool to see,” Punk said.
The former WWE Champion often finds time when on the road to play video games, especially against other superstars, including Kofi Kingston, who is also one of Punk’s former tag team partners.
“I play against Kofi, I lost count as to what the record is right now but I don’t think he’s beaten me a single time because Kofi is really bad at video games. I’m trying to help him out,” Punk said.
This year’s version of WWE ’12 aims to take on an added realism when it comes to immersing the player in the life of a superstar. Punk, who has been in wrestling for over a decade, says that WWE ’12 is an accurate depiction of the sport, but would add one feature to make it even more accurate.
“It’s dead-on, the only thing I would love to see maybe next year is a ‘lack of sleep’ meter. Factor in like ‘Hey CM Punk did media all day and his lack of sleep meter is full’ and then you get a crappy match because of it. That would be really accurate,” Punk said.
Despite his desire to see the draining effects of a lifestyle that keeps superstars on the road all year long and can often times be extremely taxing, Punk had no gripes about it. In fact, the Chicago native revels in the opportunity that he has to travel the country and entertain fans on a nightly basis.
“You know, it’s not really a drain, I signed up for it and that’s the kind of person I am. If you sign up for something, you don’t really have the rights to complain about it and I am one of the people on earth that thinks if you don’t think life is purely for entertainment, then you’re missing something. I love being busy and that hectic, go, go, go schedule and I love being in a different city every night. I feel like I was built for it,” Punk said.
Punk’s rise to superstardom began earlier this year, when the sometimes controversial Superstar went away from the script, dishing out an inspired promo that earned him a suspension from televised events and some say ushered in a new era where the “fourth wall” that exists between the television show and the fans was seemingly dismantled.
After he won the WWE Championship from John Cena in July in front of his hometown fans, Punk left the company briefly, citing that his contract had expired and was not renewed. Punk did make a triumphant return however, and despite being seen as an anti-hero in many facets, often competes with John Cena as one of the sports biggest names.
“It’s really interesting that nobody has been able to scratch at Cena as the ace of the company. I’ve always been a believer in my own abilities and have said if given a shot I could be that guy. I think John Cena’s appeal is that he’s a superhero, a big muscle-bound He-Man type guy. I’ve beat John Cena in merchandise sales and I won’t get into that but if you put my ugly face on a poster, because I don’t look like a superhero,” Punk said.
Even Punk’s selection of entrance music, which often times is produced in-house, shifts from the mainstream and reflects his WWE persona.
“One of the reasons why I wanted ‘Cult of Personality’ as my song because to me, it’s all about the personality. I think I’m a character that resonates with a lot of people. Being the ace of the company and face of the company is a burden I can shoulder. It hasn’t happened yet but it will,” Punk said.
Even though he hasn’t bested Cena as the ace of the WWE, Punk has a championship bout Sunday against Alberto Del Rio.
The ever-confident Punk said that he will win the WWE title at Survivor Series, and his act will be a tough one for John Cena and The Rock to follow.
“I don’t feel slighted about that at all. Rock coming back is a big deal and everybody wants to produce in [Madison Square] Garden. The slogan on the back of my t-shirt is not just as slogan on the back of a t-shirt, I truly am the best in the world. Rock and Cena are going to be sitting in Gorilla when I get done with my match and walk through with my WWE Title and say ‘follow that,’” Punk said.
Punk, whose character has professed living a “straight-edge” life, is as real as they come in the WWE. In a sport that has seen it’s stars struggle with alcohol and drug abuse, Punk’s “straight-edge” persona is no gimmick and the superstar follows the same ideals in real life, likening substance abuse to a roller coaster ride.
“Drugs and all of that have never been glamorous to me. It’s weird, you could ride a roller coaster, and roller coasters are fun but every once in a while some horrible accident happens and God forbid someone dies riding a roller coaster. That’s enough to get certain people to say ‘I’m never riding a roller coaster.’ You look at drug use and abuse and the odds of that roller coaster derailing are much, much higher than an actual roller coaster derailing. I’ve seen the effects of drugs and alcohol and that just never looked like fun to me.
“Blacking out, not remembering your night, waking up next to someone you don’t know, any kind of side effect seems like something somebody that didn’t like you would do to you so I never understood why you would do that to yourself,” Punk said.
Punk also described how he looks at people who often mock professional wrestling as something that is ‘fake.’ Punk believes that professional wrestlers work just as hard, if not harder than athletes in other sports, and that the ride never stops.
“I think the people who say that are the people who don’t understand and don’t get what we do. What we do I think is harder than any sport. I’m not sitting on a beach in Cancun for four months a year, I don’t have to report to training camp to get into shape for my season. It’s year round,” Punk said.
But even with regards to the detractors, Punk maintains his calm, cool and collected demeanor and takes pity on those who do not appreciate the sacrifices that wrestlers make.
“A lot of people get bent out of shape about it but I don’t, I just take pity on those who go out of their way to tell me what I do is fake, like I don’t know what I do for a living and don’t know my own life,” Punk said.
Wrestling fans can tune into WWE’s Suvivor Series on Sunday and can pick up WWE ’12 when it hits stores on Nov. 22.