ESPN.com’s James Walker has a new Q&A online with WWE Champion CM Punk. Below is an excerpt:
CM Punk, a year ago at this time, considering your contract situation with WWE, did you think you would be in this spot, defending the world title at Wrestlemania 28?
CM Punk: No, because I was leaving. At Wrestlemania last year — and I always say I thrive in high-pressure situations — my job was to steal the show and prove to everybody how awesome I was and what an amazing talent they were losing. I went out there with Randy [Orton] and we put on, in my opinion, the best match on the show of pure wrestling. I wasn’t concerned about what I was doing next year. I was leaving in my mind. I didn’t think I would still be here or holding the title.
At what point did that mentality shift? Did the pen have to hit the paper for you to finally realize you were staying in WWE?
Punk: Yes, absolutely. I didn’t re-sign until middle of July, I think. It was actually the day of [the Money in the Bank Pay Per View], I believe. It was after the show even started. So it was down to the wire.
You mentioned Chris Jericho has never been “The Man” like you’ve been. Can you elaborate? Jericho has held world titles in the past.
Punk: Sure, but there’s always, I think, somebody that has overshadowed him. I guess an argument can be made that John Cena is still “The Man.” But the numbers don’t lie with merchandising, ratings and everything else. We’re not trying to hotshot the title around or play hot potato with it. We’re giving people a champion they can believe in. And Jericho was never really that guy. He was never really, I guess, the ambassador John Cena has been and that I’ve been lately. That’s what I meant by that.
Click here to read the article in its entirety.