POST NEWS UPDATE: CM Punk comments on his mindset when it came to leading AEW Collision

Originally published at POST NEWS UPDATE: CM Punk comments on his mindset when it came to leading AEW Collision

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

** An extensive interview with CM Punk was conducted by Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. Punk opened up about his mindset and approach when he was leading the charge for AEW Collision.

The short time I had when I was ‘in charge’ of (AEW) Collision, that’s the way I did things. What did we draw here last time? Okay, my goal is to get one more ticket sold and I did that. What were the ratings last time? Okay, and you work incrementally.

Elsewhere in the conversation, Punk shared that he was close to returning to WWE before debuting in AEW. He stated that it was close to happening. He then began discussing his time on WWE Backstage. He believes it was current WWE President Nick Khan who was trying to get him back into the company at the time. Punk is a part of C.A.A. (Creative Artists Agency) and Khan was the co-Head of Television for that agency. He feels if Khan was not in the position he’s in at WWE, he would not be back with the company.

Yeah (it got close to me returning to WWE before debuting for AEW) … Yeah (it was close to happening). Like, yeah, okay, this is done. Even before Backstage. Oh yeah. I thought Backstage was gonna be like a backdoor way to get me in and I told everybody from FOX, I was just like, ‘Look! I wanna work for you guys. It sounds like fun but if it’s any way tied to trying to get me back, we’re not gonna have the best business relationship,’ because at that time, I had a handshake thing and things were in place and it didn’t happen and again, I was just like, okay, well so, I’ll do this but not that and they’re like, ‘No, no, no, no. We’re hiring you to be an analyst. We have bought the TV rights for SmackDown so you’re gonna be talking about –’ it’s no different than Brett Favre doing football or whoever… It didn’t get that far (to the point where there were concrete plans in place). I think it was Nick Khan (who was trying to get me back in) … I’m with C.A.A. so I think since the day I stepped out, I think Nick has been trying to get me to come back in… Probably not (in WWE right now if Nick Khan isn’t in the position he’s in).

Punk is currently recovering from a torn triceps that he suffered in the 2024 men’s Royal Rumble. He stated that no audible was called in the match because of his injury.

No (it’s not accurate that an audible was called in 2024 men’s Royal Rumble because of my injury). But good. I want people to think that. That’s the great thing about me. It’s always audibles. ‘Oh, that didn’t mean to happen.’ Good.

Towards the backend of the conversation, Punk was asked if he believes three-time WWE Divas Champion April Mendez (A.J. Lee) will be back on television and here was his response:

Probably not … I think there is, yeah (an open door). Selfishly, I would love it, but I’m her biggest fan so, I love everything she does.

** While guest appearing on Sunday Night’s Main Event, Josh Alexander recounted early in his career when he wrestled Roderick Strong. Alexander was not able to keep up with Strong and got gassed out early in their bout. From that point, he was motivated to never let that happen again.

I do remember the first name I worked where I was just like, sh*t, I gotta level up. I am not ready for this spot and that was Roderick Strong. I wrestled him the night before a Ring of Honor show in Toronto at a local indie in Oshawa and I died after like six minutes because that guy, he’s dipped in flubber. I don’t know how to explain it. He just doesn’t stop moving, and I was five, six minutes into the match and we were going like 20, 25 minutes for that main event that night and he just forced me to go through it, like, I was a dead body and at the end of it, he was just like, ‘You need to get in better shape dude’. Ever since then, that’s when I started doing the hour on the stairs every morning because I just never wanted to feel like that again, I never wanted to feel so inferior to anybody in the ring again. Now I’ve turned into the guy that Roderick Strong was known for 10, 12 years ago. I’m the guy that blows people up now so…

** The Athletic published a feature about L.A. Knight. In the piece, there’s a quote from Sheamus and he expressed that Knight is doing a great job.

He’s done this for a long time. He knows what he’s doing. He really dove into that character, and people responded. What’s most important in this business is you get a reaction. He’s doing a great job.

** On TNA programming, Rich Swann and A.J. Francis are a newly formed duo and while appearing on the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz, Swann recounted when he first met Francis. They were on the same flight and Swann told Francis he looks like he could be a wrestler. Francis happened to be on his way to a tryout and it was six months later that Swann saw him on television.

I’ll tell you how I met A.J. (Francis). I was on the way to — well actually, I was coming home from Baltimore from a wrestling event and I noticed this big, huge guy on the back of the plane and it just so happened to be where I was sitting and he looked at me and he said, ‘Aye, what’s up man?’ I said, ‘Man, you look like you could be a wrestler’ and he said, ‘You know, that’s funny. I’m actually about to go do a tryout right now.’ I said, dang, this guy’s gonna make it. Lo and behold, six months later I see him on TV being a huge star that he is and then fast forward, our paths cross again in TNA Wrestling and you know, he ain’t lying, we gonna turn this into T.N.A.J. Francis with your boy Rich Swann.

** During a chat with MuscleManMalcolm, former WWE Intercontinental and ECW Champion Ezekiel Jackson stated that one of the names originally suggested for his run in WWE was ‘Ezekiel Shabazz’.

Came with ‘Ezekiel’, I was like, ‘Okay.’ I study the Bible so a lot of scriptures just popped in my head. It was like, ‘Okay, how can I play off of this?’ And that’s it, Ezekiel. The next week, funny story, they gave me a list of names… I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody this. They wanted ‘Ezekiel Shabazz’. I’m like, you want a Jewish Muslim? It didn’t fit and they came back with a list of names and in my head, I saw Jackson, and growing up in the 80s, one of my favorite movies was Action Jackson. I started thinking further ahead. Like, okay, Ezekiel Jackson, Action Jackson, could lead to that and that’s where Ezekiel Jackson came from.

** There’s a feature on Monster Factory from ‘WHYY’ that includes quotes from Drew Gulak and David Marquez.

** AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion Yuma Anzai and World Junior Heavyweight Champion Rising HAYATO are going to be producing AJPW’s 4/11 show in Tokyo.

** Montez Ford was welcomed onto Busted Open.

** The Independent previewed WrestleMania 40 with Bayley and Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER.

** April 2nd birthdays: Scorpio Sky.

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.