Accusations have been levied toward CM Punk since All Out 2022, labelling him as being “difficult to work with”.
Since his last AEW appearance, that accusation has been oft repeated by fans on various social media platforms, who purport to know the behind-the-scenes feelings in WWE and AEW.
After he called out Adam Page (unscripted) on AEW Dynamite, as a response to Page’s own “shoot” comment months prior, there has been a plan to discredit Punk’s achievements and label him as hard to work with in wrestling.
This was followed by an incredible unprofessional press conference after All Out 2022, and an ensuing fight that caused both Punk and The Elite to be suspended from AEW.
CM Punk will finally be returning to AEW on the debut episode of AEW Collision, marking nine months since his last appeared on any AEW show.
In this article, well have a look at the evidence, checking out interviews with various stars and situations from his career, and see if CM Punk is indeed “difficult to work with”.
Is CM Punk Hard To Work With?
CM Punk is not considered by many to be hard to work with, although a few wrestlers have considered him to be difficult to work with.
However, it was CM Punk himself who addressed the accusation that he was “hard to work with”, refusing any notion that he could be difficult to work with behind the scenes.
CM Punk spoke about the rumours that he is difficult to work with, and cites fans not understand his role in the business, and bothering him when he’s out with his wife, as the reasons behind this.
“I was on television twice a week, 52 weeks a year for eight, nine, ten years? So I get that all the time,” Punk said. “And there’s this vicious rumour that I’m hard to deal with and I’m mean. I think it’s because I played a bad guy on wrestling television for so long, that people confuse the two. And yeah, there’s instances where I’m like ‘man I really did my job.’ And then there’s instances where I’m like ‘come on man. I’m out with my wife. Let me just eat.’”
However, Punk did previously note that he was difficult to work with, during his time in the WWE. However, he noted that to be on top you had to be, just like stars like Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin had been in the past.
He was noted to have argued with Vince McMahon over creative, refusing to perform scripted promos over the years. However, he also proposed his own replacement ideas, and always went through with WWE’s creative when no compromise could be found.
Road Dogg Called CM Punk “Difficult To Work With”
Road Dogg said that he found CM Punk “difficult to work with” during his 2014 run alongside the former WWE Champion.
The New Age Outlaws had a short program with Punk in early 2014, with Billy Gunn being CM Punk’s last singles opponent in WWE.
On an episode of his “Oh You Didn’t Know” podcast on AdFreeShows.com, Road Dogg spoke about CM Punk being difficult to work with in WWE, although he admits he had little to do with Punk at this time.
“ just remember he was kind of difficult to work with and I didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes. I hadn’t been there that long and I wasn’t in the inner circle. If this had happened three years later, I would have probably known a lot more of what was going on behind the scenes.
So I didn’t really know what was going on with him, but I know he was hard to deal with. And so maybe that’s [why] and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that that’s why it was.“”I just remember he was kind of difficult to work with and I didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes. I hadn’t been there that long and I wasn’t in the inner circle.
If this had happened three years later, I would have probably known a lot more of what was going on behind the scenes. So I didn’t really know what was going on with him, but I know he was hard to deal with. And so maybe that’s [why] and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that that’s why it was.“
“He had, not personal issues, they were professional issues, but it was personal compared to how me and his relationship, he wasn’t going to talk to me about it. So and it was just like me and Billy both kind of looked at each other like whoa, what are we gonna do here you know, and and so we just did the best we could to do our stuff around him, and let him be him and us be us and you know how that worked out.“
He Didn’t Want To Work With Triple H At WrestleMania 30
One thing that fans cite as CM Punk being difficult to work with is his refusal to wrestle Triple H at WrestleMania 30.
Punk was embroiled in a rivlary with the Authority in the run up to WrestleMania in 2014. He feuded with the likes of The Shield and Kane, with Kane eliminating him from the 2014 Royal Rumble.
It was clear this was leading to a match with Triple H at WrestleMania 30, which would likely see Punk get his win back from their last encounter in 2011, during “the Summer of Punk”.
When Vince McMahon told him he’d be in “A Main event” against Triple H, CM Punk simply said “I don’t need to wrestle him, he needs to wrestle me”.
This was told to Punk on the night after the Royal Rumble, the last night he spent in the WWE. He walked out on the company after the conversation, never to return.
However, he did not leave the WWE because he didn’t want to wrestle Triple H. That was just a symptom of lies, bad booking and bad working conditions that he had endured over the years all coming home to roost.
It was never about wrestling Triple H (which he had agreed to do before walking out), but about not wanting to wrestle at all.
I don’t think you can put this down to CM Punk being difficult to work with.
He Worked With Ryback Despite Being Injured By Him
While CM Punk has a known heat with Ryback, he never refused to work with him.
In fact, he worked with him after Ryback’s stupidity got him thrown onto concrete, injuring his hip.
Ryback injured CM Punk during their first feud, which led to Punk refusing to work with him again. However, he eventually repented, and suffered again as soon as they pair worked together.
On the September 23rd 2013, Ryback and CM Punk brawled around the arena, ending on the bottom of the stage. This led to Ryback Gorilla Pressing CM Punk above his head and launching him through a table, in an impressive feat of strength.
However, he missed. CM Punk just clipped the table, and instead fell back and head-first into the solid concrete floor. This could have literally killed CM Punk, and he let his feelings known during his appearance on Colt Cabana’s podcast.
“I’ll work Ryback. And I go up to Ryan and I go ‘hey, man, clean slate. Let’s fucking kill this. Let’s fucking show ’em that you’re better than they think you are, let’s show them that I’m better than they think I am, and let’s fucking, let’s turn this mid-card shit into a fucking main event.’ ‘Yeah, I’m really excited, great, blah blah blah.’ First night out, gorilla press through a table, fucking misses the table, dumps me on the concrete fucking ground, tilts me on my pelvis, fucks me up for weeks.”
Ryback responded to the heat between the two, claiming it was because Punk was jealous that Ryback was outselling him and John Cena in merchandise sales.
Now, Ryback is a known liar and is constantly trying to keep his name in the headlines. While he was incredibly popular for a spell, there is no doubt that he did not sniff Punk and Cena’s merchandise sales during this time.
CM Punk may have been annoyed that he was being pushed at a time when he felt he should be on top, but Ryback’s claim is almost certainly false.
In an interview on Disco Inferno and Konnan’s K100 show, Ryback said Punk’s initial problem with him revolved around merchandise numbers:
“We got along great, I thought, prior to that. I can tell you, him and [John] Cena were the two [highest] merch sellers when I came up and I got hot, and I’ll never forget he came over to me when the merch guys were showing me the numbers, and Punk became aware of it and he goes, ‘Holy s**t.’ From that point forward, I felt like everything kinda changed with everything.” [0:29 – 0:51]
So, do you think CM Punk is difficult to work with? Tell us what you think about his backstage antics in the comments section below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.