This year’s “Wrestlemania” is set to be one for the ages as a legend from the wildly popular Attitude Era is preparing to square off against one of today’s top stars. I’m of course, talking about The Rock going toe-to-toe with John Cena. But could the WWE be considering a similar scenario with a few other names in mind?
“I really like C.M. Punk. I think he’s one of the top workers in the ring. I love his promos. I love his style. There’s no smoke and mirrors. I like the straight-edge lifestyle stuff he does. You want to start pairing that against the beer-guzzling “Stone Cold” Steve Austin? I think you’d have an interesting feud to say the least. He would push me to the limits, I would teach that kid a thing or two, and there would be some wonderful promos going back and forth.” – “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to XFINITY TV (April 2011)
I had a chance to talk to C.M. Punk about the possibility of a “Stone Cold” dream match, the significance of his upcoming title bout against Alberto del Rio at this Sunday’s “Survivor Series,” and the diet that helps him stay so skinny/fat…
Gordon Holmes: I have some good news for you.
C.M. Punk: Did you save money on your car insurance?
Holmes: I have, but that isn’t specifically what I was referring to. I checked out the “WWE ’12” video game last night, which is a blast, and I played a quick round as you vs. Alberto del Rio. I pulled off a win with your GTS finishing move. I think that bodes well for you heading into this Sunday’s title match.
Punk: That is good news. Thank you.
Holmes: You’re quite welcome. Now, what I wanted to ask you is; your title match at “Survivor Series” will be held in Madison Square Garden. Does the Garden still hold the same significance with today’s superstars as it did in the past?
Punk: Yeah. It’s special to me. I can’t speak for many of the other superstars, but I’m not a religious guy, and this is the closest thing that comes to church to me. This is my Vatican. It’s my synagogue. I love wrestling at the All State Arena in Chicago. That’s a very special place to me, and I’m not saying that the Garden is on a different level, it’s just different.
Holmes: You grew up in Chicago, so you didn’t grow up going to MSG. So what is it? Is it the history? That Hulk Hogan beat the Iron Sheik for the World Title there? The Wrestlemanias that were held there? Or is it the way that it’s talked about in such revered tones by the older class of wrestlers?
Punk: I think it’s all of that. I know the Garden means everything to Vince (McMahon) because the Garden was everything to his father. This is a place that they used to run twice a month. They used to sell this place out with Bruno (Sammartino) on top. It was just a magical, special place. You walk down the hallways and you see posters on the wall or pictures or signs…I recognize doorways at Madison Square Garden because of the backstage segments they used to do. “Oh yeah, this is where Hogan walked through to get to the ring at ‘Wrestlemania.’” It boggles your mind all of the moments that have happened at the Garden. To be able to even have a chance to be one of those moments is pretty crazy.
Holmes: With all of that in mind; Madison Square Garden, a title match, the 25th “Survivor Series,” do you have anything special planned?
Punk: I plan on stealing the show and I plan on winning. That’ll be special. To be the punk rock kid from Chicago, where everyone said, “You’re not going to make it,” to be able to say, “Well hey, I just won the WWE Title, not only in my hometown in July, but to turn around and win it in Madison Square Garden.” That’s pretty badass.
Holmes: You’re a guy who gets credit for being old school and having respect for tradition. Recently, you gave a nod to one of the guys who paved the way with your “Macho Man” Randy Savage tribute attire. Do you have any plans for anything else like that in the future?
Punk: I hope not, because I did the tribute to Savage because he unfortunately passed away. I don’t want anyone else to pass away.
Holmes: Understood, but to be fair you did a tribute to G.I. Joe and they’re all fine.
Punk: (Laughs) You know, I’m just a wacky G.I. Joe fan.
Holmes: You and me both. Speaking of old school, if you could have worked in any territory at any time, where would that have been?
Punk: Man, it’s unfortunate that I don’t have 90 minutes to talk to you about this.
Punk: Because that is, no lie, probably the best question I’ve been asked in the last year of doing this. Wow, what a question. I’ve had old timers tell me, “Man, you would’ve been great here, or you would’ve been great here.” Pat Patterson says I was born 20 years too late. I could’ve done Memphis. People have told me that Bill Watts would have loved me because of my mouth because in UWF the order of the day was getting heat. Heels got heat. It didn’t matter how big I was because he would have recognized, “Holy (expletive deleted), this guy gonna get shot, they’re going to set his car on fire.” I’ve had Michael P.S. Hayes tell me that I would’ve been a great foil for the Freebirds. But where I would’ve liked to work? I don’t know if I would’ve fit in, but I would’ve loved to work down in the Carolinas. I would’ve loved to work for the Crocketts.
Holmes: Straight Edge, with the no drinking and no drugs would’ve been the perfect foil for the hard-partying Freebirds.
Holmes: You kind of set the world on fire this summer with your original “Pipe Bomb” interview. Was it tough keeping the momentum going after such a big moment?
Punk: Yeah. I think comparatively speaking, getting to the top of the mountain is way easier than staying there. And that’s a great choice of words; I set the world on fire. And it’s hard to keep a fire burning that long, that bright, whatever. I keep my ear to the ground, I listen to what a lot of hardcore wrestling fans say, and they say, “Oh, they dropped the ball with the Punk thing. Man, he could’ve been the biggest superstar, blah blah blah.” Well, if you look where I was at this time last year and you look where I am now, I’d say that they haven’t dropped anything. Could they have done things differently or better? Of course they could have. Everyone’s an armchair booker and has their wishlist of how they wish things could have went. I have my wishlist too. I’d be wrestling Ricky Steamboat if it was up to me. When I went out there and delivered that interview, it was so shocking and eye-opening. But, if you do that every week it ceases to be eye-opening and shocking. It’s hard to maintain that same level and I don’t want to maintain that level because every day it becomes mundane. You have to have peaks and valleys so the awesome moments seem like awesome moments.
Holmes: Now I understand there’s a Go To Sleep Pizza?
Punk: There is, there’s a GTS pizza brought to you by the wonderful pizza people at Ian’s Pizza.
Holmes: Now, what is on a GTS pizza?
Punk: The GTS pizza is…man, I’m going to get this all wrong…there’s smoked turkey, swiss cheese, some drizzled onions. It’s sort of like a Thanksgiving oriented thing because turkey has the tryptophan in it which supposedly puts you to sleep. Very clever. It sounded pretty weird to me at first, but then I had it and it is absolutely awesome.
Holmes: How do you stay so skinny/fat if you’re eating this concoction?
Punk: (Laughs) That’s why I stay so skinny/fat because I eat a steady diet of Chicago pizza.
Holmes: “Survivor Series” is generally the time of the year where the WWE starts the ramp up to “Wrestlemania.” Any talk of what you’ll be doing?
Punk: I’ve broken through to new heights in my career, and I’m this crazy new top guy, so everyone’s expecting me to have this awesome “Wrestlemania” match. And I have no idea who I’m wrestling. People think I’m wrestling the Undertaker, people think I’m wrestling (Chris) Jericho. People are still crossing their fingers that Steve Austin is going to fight me. I really don’t know. I know who I want to wrestle, but I don’t know who it’s going to be.
Holmes: Who do you want to wrestle?
Punk: Steve Austin. I would love to poll everybody who’s either going to “Wrestlemania” or buying it on Pay Per View and ask them; who would you rather see? Dwayne (The Rock) vs. (John) Cena or Austin vs. C.M. Punk. I’d be so interested to see how that’d turn out.
“WWE Survivor Series” airs Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.