CM Punk stands by his decision to leave WWE in 2014.
In January 2014, CM Punk left WWE due feeling burnt out while continuing to work through injuries, including a MRSA infection. Since leaving WWE, Punk has consistently stated that he has no desire to return to professional wrestling, though he has reportedly made Independent appearances while under a mask.
Punk is back in the news this week as he confirmed talks with Fox over appearing on WWE Backstage, WWE's upcoming studio show on Fox Sports 1. And with Punk potentially joining WWE's studio show, people are wondering if it will lead to his in-ring return.
"Talking about wrestling and me doing anything in a wrestling arena always feels kind of weird and uncomfortable because there are so many variables. The number one thing for me is, I will never put myself in a position where I can be harmed ever again," Punk told Collider Live. "There's a lot of trust that goes into that. I gave of myself to a point where, I look back at it, and if I didn't leave and walk out, I would be dead. Because nobody else was gonna do it. I was sick, hurt, and messed up. And the people put in place to help; they weren't helping."
Punk continued, detailing what led to his eventual departure, "I begged for time off for I don't know how long and I never got it. People tell me it's different now. Apparently, you can go home with the sniffles, or you can call in. I say that, and I'm mad at myself for saying that because it's almost like I'm trying to shame somebody. If you're sick, you're sick. Go home. If you're hurt, you're hurt. Don't wrestle. Because of the fugazi lawsuit, I have mountains of paperwork that they had to send over for discovery where they're discussing all these crazy private things, but I'm not involved in the conversation. Like they're talking about my mental health. 'Do you think maybe he's depressed?' And everyone is like, 'I don't know, but he's got to wrestle in Europe for two weeks.' It's like, 'Woah, slow down.' As a member of the office, shouldn't you put a hold on that and take this guy off the road?"
Punk went on to say that WWE internally discussed his mental health, but no one talked to him directly.
When asked about wrestlers potentially unionizing, Punk replied, "No. My stance when people are like 'The Boys.' There is no such thing. There's absolutely no such thing. If you think there is, chances are you're on a different level. And I don't mean a higher one. It's insane how it's not a real sport. It's more cutthroat than a real sport."
While Punk lost friends over his departure, he stated that Batista is one person who disagrees with how he left, but they remain friends despite their differences.
"The funny thing about me and Dave [Batista] is he absolutely 100 percent disagrees with me, the way I left. But we're both grown-ass men who can talk about it instead of throwing stones."
It is unknown if Punk will return to ring or if he will be part of WWE Backstage. Punk has been on a media tour this week to promote his film Girl on the Third Floor.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit Fightful with a h/t to Fightful for the transcription.