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CM Punk On Returning To WWE, AJ Lee Still Working There, Spars w/Michael Landsberg

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CM Punk was on Thursday's episode of Off The Record with Michael Landsberg. The interview was to discuss Punk's transition to UFC but a lot was discussed, perhaps even initially trying to aggravate Punk for the sake of entertainment. Whatever the case, the interview was entertaining and I recapped it in its entirety.

For clarity, I subtitled the topic of conversation below:

What to the friends of CM Punk Phil Brooks call him?

To a lot of his buddies, he’s “Punk” or “Punker”

Mocking video, looking at prospective UFC "opponents" of Punk:

A video package was ran, exploring possible opponents. Jose Conseco (after shooting himself in the hand), Drake (after fight with Diddy), Justin Bieber and Chef Boyardee were featured as possible opponents for him. Punk said he’ll fight the chef or host Michael Landsberg.

Dana White protecting Punk>?

When asked if he’s taken a real punch in the face, Punk said if he’s going to ask that, he hasn’t seen some of the guys he faced in WWE. Yes, Punk said he had taken a real punch to the face. Punk said he’d been in his fair share of unfortunate scraps outside of the ring and not in front of a TV camera.

Landsberg feels Dana White has protected Punk by putting him in a fight against someone with limited experience. He asked Punk if he’d fight a guy with Nate Diaz’s experience. Punk said, look, this is where things will get said out of context. He doesn’t think Nate called him out but that he expressed his opinion of UFC signing him. Punk is still a Nate Diaz fan and will watch his next fight. Would Punk fight him? He said he would fight anybody given the proper time to fight time to prepare for it. He said he would fight Anderson Silva if paid the proper amount to do so.

Punk said this is a challenge that he signed up for and taking it easy doesn’t really make sense. Landsberg asked which was more dangerous to his health, life of a wrestler or life of a UFC fighter. Punk said UFC has a referee to stop a fight. In wrestling, you break something or you hurt something, you keep going and finish the match. Using air quotes, Punk said “the show must go on.” Landsberg agreed the long-term effects of being in WWE are worse than in UFC.

The greatest hockey player in the world right now:

Asked who the greatest hockey player in the world right now, Punk said Duncan Keith after some thought. He’s obviously bias because he’s a Blackhawks fan. He said the world appreciates more of the flashy forwards such as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane or Sidney Crosby. Punk said Crosby is still up there and he’s filled the gap since Gretzky left. Landsberg said he would have bet $1 million he was going to say Jonathan Toews.

Landsberg's past w/Chael Sonnen and his comments:

They played a tape of “best censored moments” from “Off the Record” which included Chael Sonnen giving out the cellphone number of Stephanie McMahon and several other clips. Landsberg said the biggest fight they ever had was King Mo and Rampage Jackson, who fought 20 minutes after they went off the air and they couldn’t use a word of it. Punk said he loves it.

Punk said he never offered to fight Chael and that’s Chael being Chael. He said Chael 'is an imagination' and likes to play “with you guys.” Punk said he talked about an idea of Sonnen being his wrestling coach but he took it to the next level.

Will CM Punk ever return to WWE?

Landsberg said there is almost no one that has never went back to WWE, reading a quote from Punk that he would never resume a working relationship with them. He talked about Bret Hart going back when the blood was so bad. Punk asked if that was a question. Landsberg clarified, how does he know he wouldn’t go back, how can he say he won’t go back when everyone seems to go back. Punk said he doesn’t know because he can’t tell the future. He knows himself and knows what’s in here (points to his heart) and says he has no desire to go back. Punk said he doesn’t think they [WWE] have any desire to see him back either. Punk said everyone is happy.

Landsberg said it all comes full circle and according to Vince [McMahon], it’s just business. He mentioned how in the case of Bret Hart, he felt like Vince killed his brother, yet he still eventually went back. Landsberg said “just business” seems to be very powerful. Punk paused and said, “sure” and said his integrity is pretty powerful as well.

AJ Lee still working for WWE:

The interview shifted to Punk’s wife AJ Lee. Landsberg said to Punk that his wife still works there, right? Punk affirmed that and Landsberg asked how does he find that given Punk’s public feud with Vince and how he really called them out about the medical care they offer their people?Landsberg asked what it’s like for his wife working there?

Punk said this is taken out of context. He didn’t mean to call anybody out. He simply told his story, the truth and what happened to him. Punk said it wasn’t to call anybody out. He’s a passionate guy that lost the passion to do his job. He said his intent wasn’t to call anybody out. Punk said he has had plenty of conversations with his wife — AJ Lee — about working there and if she wants to work there, more power to her. He said they have separate careers and will continue to have separate careers and they’re stronger for that and for supporting each other.

WWE's medical care for their performers:

Landsberg told Punk he says he didn’t call them out but to be fair to his question, he did point out they had been irresponsible in their treatment to concussions and Punk pointed out the fact he had a staph infection that went misdiagnosed to the point he could have died, correct? Punk answered with, “mhmm.”

Landsberg said Punk may not have done it for the reason of calling them out but said this is a terrible reflection of the WWE. Punk said he just recanted his experiences and it’s something he would like to move on from the past. He said he’s not shy about his past and doesn’t regret anything but is here to talk about his future in UFC. Landsberg said “right” but those points are extremely important for the world we live in today. From concussions and the issues that exist, not just in WWE but UFC and the NHL (which Punk is a fan of) and the NFL as well.

What does Vince McMahon think of UFC?

Landsberg asks Punk what Vince thinks of the UFC. He says everyone wonders if he sees them as the enemy. Punk said he can’t really say what Vince thinks about anything, that Landsberg would have to ask him. Punk says he knows that Vince doesn’t view them as competition, at least that’s what he publicly says but that’s about as much as Punk can guess Vince’s opinion of the UFC.

The confrontation:

They showed a clip of Chael Sonnen getting up and walking out on Landsberg. Back to Punk, Lansberg said he’s trying to get a read on this and asks him if he’s kind of “pissed off” about the questions that he’s asked. Punk said they are very wrestling-centric and he’s here to talk about UFC but no, he’s doing his job. Punk said it’s OK, he has an agenda. Landsberg questioned what he was going to ask him about UFC, he’s not a UFC fighter, he doesn’t have a fight schedule. He said “we don’t know anything about that” and asked Punk if he was doing this interview… Punk cut him off and said “and you’re laughing about that” and you have me on your show. Landsberg questioned who was laughing.

Punk said he produced an entire segment prior to him coming on, making a joke of this situation (pointing to the video about him possibly fighting Bieber or Chef Boyardee). Punk understands that and appreciates their point of view. Landsberg said for a guy coming from the wrestling world, tongue in cheek does exist. He says Punk can’t take himself that seriously that they can’t joke about him fighting Justin Bieber. Landsberg says Punk has to believe they’re not being serious when they say that.

Punk said no, that’s fine and he’s not upset about that. He said Landsberg’s demeanor is completely different off-camera when he knows he’s not being recorded. Punk said that’s funny to him. Landsberg said he’s interested about that. He’s never heard that before. Landsberg questioned what is different about his demeanor. Punk said he tried to be friendly, tried to act like his friend but when he gets him on camera he tries to act like the cool kid in school. Punk understands that and said he asked him off camera if we saw each other at UFC 182 if he was going to big league him. Landsberg said big time is the term. Punk said he wants to play incident when he’s not on camera and when he gets on camera, he wants to act like he’s hot shit. Punk said he appreciates that and likes his gimmick. Punk said he loves it.

Landsberg said Punk doesn’t love it and said it was disrespectful for Punk to be drinking coffee or tea when he’s in the middle of the interview (Punk had been drinking from a cup throughout the piece). He doesn’t know if Punk does that all the time. Punk said he’s got to stay awake on TSN, he needs his caffeine. Landsberg said, “wait a second, I’m offended by that.” Landsberg said the last three minutes he’s done are perhaps the most enjoyable three minutes he’s done in 2014. He said he’s looking forward to saying goodbye so he can go back to the nice guy Punk apparently accuses him of being.

Punk said he’s sure he’s been accused of a lot worse. Landsberg said, “uh yeah” and wished Punk Happy Holidays. He said he’s looking forward to when he actually has an opponent, has a fighter and comes back on the show and talks about looking ahead to that fight. Punk said he’ll be there, shalom.

You can watch the complete interview at this link. They uploaded a highlight of one of the segments at this link, which you can also watch below:

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