CM Punk and Colt Cabana used to be best friends. They came through the business together in Chicago, fighting each other all over the country in some huge matches. They were the independent match that everybody wanted to book, and they both became stars in WWE on the back of their work with each other.
After nearly a year after walking out on WWE, CM Punk chose Colt Cabana’s podcast to vent his frustration and explain his reasons for leaving the business. He was the only man Punk trusted to tell his story the way it needed to be told, and they seemed destined to be best friends forever.
Fast forward to 2019, both men are entered in a lawsuit against each other. Both men were suing each other related to a previous lawsuit by WWE relating to the CM Punk Colt Cabana podcast. They reportedly stopped speaking, and to this day they share the AEW locker room without saying a word to each other.
How did the CM Punk Colt Cabana relationship break down? How did two best friends, who travelled the world and fought together, turn into strangers with bitter resentment toward each other? Where did the CM Punk and Colt Cabana friendship turn sour?
CM Punk Colt Cabana
Entering the Business
CM Punk and Colt Cabana entered the business together as rookies in 1999. CM Punk had wrestled for his own backyard federation called Lunatic Wrestling Federation. After a time wrestling in backyards, he decided to get real training, which is where he met Colt Cabana.
The pair soon became a tag team after being trained by Ace Steel together. They soon formed a tag team, and competed together and against each other all over Chicago and eventually all over the country. He wrestled Cabana multitple times, including violent TLC matches and 60 minute draws in whatever promotion had booked the pair that night.
In an interview with PWMania, Cabana revealed that he and CM Punk had been begun teaming together since the first month they began training together.
“Punk and I have been a team since basically the first month I was training. We travelled the roads together a very long time. Same with Ace Steel, the other member of the Saints, and our trainer. I loved teaming and wrestling Punk. He’s my brother in wrestling and life. I talk to him everyday.”
Both men would then became stars on the indies and especially in Ring of Honor. Their runs in the company launched them into stardom and both men were eventually signed to WWE.
Even though both men were signed to WWE and showed incredible talent, they had very different careers in Vince McMahon’s promotion. CM Punk would climb to the top of WWE, winning WWE Championships and wrestling some of the biggest names in wrestling, like Undertaker, John Cena and The Rock.
Colt Cabana, however, was renamed to Scotty Goldman, and was mainly a jobber on Smackdown and ECW. He didn’t last long and was released soon after he debuted on the main roster.
However, the pair still remained friends whilst wrestling in different countries. Punk even mentioned his friend on live tv, during his famous “Pipebomb” promo. In the midst of his now legendary speech, he stopped to say “Hey Colt Cabana, how you doing?”. This showed the CM Punk Colt Cabana friendship was alive and well at least up to 2011.
CM Punk went on to leave WWE in 2014 after the 2014 Royal Rumble. He famously walked out on WWE on the Raw after the Royal Rumble, after a behind-the-scenes argument with Vince McMahon and Triple H. He would never wrestler for WWE again.
CM Punk on Colt Cabana’s Podcast
After leaving WWE after being eliminated from the 2014 Royal Rumble by Kane, CM Punk lay dormant for over 10 months. No-one knew why CM Punk walked out on the company and not even Colt Cabana, his best friend, had mentioned anything about.
CM Punk was a complete mystery. So, fans were absolutely shocked when the newest episode of Colt Cabana’s Podcast The Art of Wrestling aired. It featured CM Punk, who fans had not seen for nearly a year, and his best Colt Cabana telling all about Punk’s life in WWE and why he walked out on the company.
This tell all interview on the CM Punk Colt Cabana podcast has become one of the most famous and most listened to shoot interview of all time. In the interview, CM Punk lamented his time in WWE, focusing on how he was forced to lose to every part-timer in the company whilst WWE refused to acknowledge his worth.
He complained about he had earned the Wrestlemania 29 main event, which had instead gone to John Cena vs The Rock for the second time in a row. He also complained about the fact that WWE doctor Dr Amann had ignored his multiple injuries and almost killed him. labelling him “negligent”.
He also complained about injuries suffered upon him by former WWE superstar Ryback. Ryback AEW rumours have been swirling over the last few years, but it looks like he wont be in AEW whilst CM Punk is employed by the company.
However, while the CM Punk Colt Cabana may have been cathartic for Punk, it did open up an avenue of legal action for WWE. WWE and Dr Amann filed lawsuits against CM Punk and Colt Cabana, after Punk accused Dr Amann as responsible for Punk contracting a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) staph infection.
CM Punk claimed that a lump on his back was infectious and that Dr Amann failed to treat it during his time in WWE. He claims that after he left, he went to see his wife’s (AJ Lee) doctor, who said that it was heavily infected and that CM Punk could have died if left untreated for much longer.
As the host of the podcast, Colt Cabana was also caught up in the lawsuit. The CM Punk Colt Cabana podcast had caused more trouble than it was worth. Punk and Cabana eventually won the lawsuit, but it came at a much greater cost than money – their life-long friendship.
CM Punk vs Colt Cabana Lawsuit
After the trial had ended and both men had been cleared, the pair turned on each other. Neither man was happy with how the lawsuit had turned out, and it ended a friendship which had last 20 years.
Colt Cabana claimed that CM Punk had accepted to pay all of the duos legal fees in the wake of the Dr Amann Lawsuit. Cabana was a much less successful wrestler than Punk and had been caught up in the crossfire in the battle between WWE and CM Punk.
However CM Punk saw it differently. He claimed that he had offered to pay Colt Cabana’s legal fees, however that only extended to when CM Punk’s own lawyer was covering the case. During the lawsuit, Cabana hired his own lawyer to represent him, nullifying the verbal contract they had and absolving CM Punk of all legal right to pay Colt Cabana’s legal fees.
The lawsuit ended the CM Punk Colt Cabana friendship, with fans taking Cabana’s side in the argument. Punk had been known to be untrustworthy, and reportedly even cast aside Hornswoggle as a friend over a tiny infraction that CM Punk deemed friendship-breaking worthy.
CM Punk did take to twitter after the Colt Cabana lawsuit, as fans were calling him wrong for his part in the legal action. He claimed that Cabana wanted to settle, whilst Punk would have rather had gone to trial to prove that he was in the right in his legal battle with his former friend.
Future of CM Punk and Colt Cabana
It is reported that the friendship of CM Punk and Colt Cabana is fractured at best, non-existent at worst. Both are now employed with AEW, after CM Punk’s incredible return to wrestling in 2021.
The most telling part about the friendship of CM Punk and Colt Cabana is the lack of interaction on screen. When CM Punk is on screen, their is no mention of his long-time friendship with Colt Cabana. They are not see together in backstage segments, outside the arena or on skits on Being the Elite.
CM Punk spoke about the friendship falling apart during an explosive post show media scrum. Punk had just won the AEW Championship from Jon Moxley, but spent the time clearing the air regarding some leaked rumours about how the CM Punk and Colt Cabana relationship had broken down over the years.
In the controversial shoot, CM Punk said about Colt Cabana and their friendship;
“Now, it’s 2022. I haven’t been friends with this guy since at least 2014, late 2013. The fact that I have to sit up here because we have irresponsible people who call themselves EVPs and couldn’t f*cking manage a Target and they spread lies and bullsh*t and put into the media that I got somebody fired when I have f*ck all to do with him, want nothing to do with him, do not care where he works, where he doesn’t work, where he eats, where he sleeps. And the fact that I have to get up here and do this in 2022 is f*cking embarrassing. And if y’all are at fault, f*ck you. If you’re not, I apologize.
What did I ever do in this world to deserve an empty-headed f*cking dumb f*ck like Hangman Adam Page to go out on national television and f*cking go into business for himself? For what? What did I do? What did I ever do? Didn’t do a goddamn thing.
It’s not [Tony Khan’s] position to make it very f*cking clear [that Punk didn’t have anything to do with Cabana being moved to ROH]. There’s people who call themselves EVPs that should have f*cking known better. This sh*t was none of their business. I understand sticking up for your f*cking friends, I f*cking get it, I stuck up for that guy [Cabana] more than anybody. Okay? I paid his bills until I didn’t and it was my decision not to.“
Colt Cabana did not comment on his relationship with CM Punk, with both men having kept quiet until the All Out 2022 post match press conference.
CM Punk will return to AEW on June 17th, 2023, taking on Jay White, Juice Robinson and Samoa Joe in a huge main event match.
Meanwhile, even with Punk’s nine-month absence from AEW, Colt Cabana only wrestled once – vs Chris Jericho -and has not been booked since.
He wrestled sporadically for ROH, but it seems that since the issue with the podcast, Punk and Cabana will not work with each other again.
CM Punk’s Beef Started When Colt Cabana Had Pizza With WWE Stars
According to Dave Meltzer, of the Wrestling Observer, CM Punk’s rift with Colt Cabana began after the latter had food with some WWE stars.
This was during Punk and Cabana’s lawsuit against the WWE. Punk felt that they should cut off all contact with WWE employees, a sentiment clearly not shared by his former friend.
Cabana is said to have gone out for pizza with Neville (now-AEW star PAC), Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.
All four men worked together on the independent scene together, and were fast friends before ever signing to WWE.
However, this was seen as disrespect by Punk, who cut off all ties with Colt Cabana during the legal issues to do with his podcast appearance.
Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer said:
“Cabana didn’t go to a WWE show. He actually went out for pizza with Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and PAC a couple of years ago. That’s what caused the start of everything. He [Punk] felt that they shouldn’t have contact with anyone in WWE because of the lawsuit.”
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.