CM Punk has lifted the lid on the reaction backstage to his now infamous “pipe bomb” promo in the summer of 2011.
Heading into WWE Money In The Bank in July 2011, CM Punk stood as the number one contender to John Cena’s WWE Championship. After revealing that his WWE contract was expiring on July 17th, the same day Money In The Bank, Punk took to the stage on the June 27th edition of Monday Night RAW to get a few things off his chest.
Sat cross-legged at the top of the ramp, Punk delivered a scathing monologue taking aim at WWE Superstars such as John Cena, WWE management and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
The promo resulted in a storyline suspension for Punk, while the segment instantly claimed a place in wrestling folklore for ‘shattering the 4th wall’ and blurring the lines between story and reality.
Speaking with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone on AEW Unrestricted, Punk opened up about the reaction to the legendary promo. The now AEW star initially recalled his walk backstage and the strange atmosphere which greeted him.
“When I was done with that, I remember walking back up the ramp on the fly, thinking, well, I can’t go through the curtain because I just did this promo. If I go through the curtain, kayfabe-wise, I’m fist fighting somebody. I went side stage, which was just another little tiny thing that made people go, hmm, that was weird. And when I got into the back, there was nobody anywhere.”
Continuing on, Punk explained that the reactions of the first people he met confirmed that the promo had made an impact.
“Backstage is normally just buzzing with people in the hallways. It was empty, and I remember looking around like, ‘geez, what’s going on?’ And I walked past the curtain through Gorilla and everybody in the company was jammed into the tunnel, waiting to see me come through Gorilla because they figured the same thing. They were like, ‘oh man, this is gonna get real.’ And the first person I see is Chef Robert Irvine because he’s there with Gail Kim. And he just looks like he just got through like a Dorian Yates chest workout, and he’s just like, [Punk makes a jacked guy sound] ‘That was amazing!’ And he’s all fired up.
“He’s a guy that maybe doesn’t necessarily watch a lot of pro wrestling, but it resonated with him. And then I saw Chris Masters, and Chris Masters looks at me and goes, ‘Did you just hear what Punk said?’ And I was like, ‘Chris, it’s me,’ and he was like, ‘Oh, it is you. You’re gonna get fired, dude,’ and then I just walked up. It was a weird scene. I didn’t know it was gonna become as big as it did, but I knew just based off those reactions, we had something.”
Punk was later reinstated at the behest of John Cena before continuing his march to Money In The Bank. At the event Punk famously captured the WWE Championship blowing a kiss to Vince McMahon on his way out of the arena.
Over the course of the next three years the Chicago grew increasingly frustrated with WWE eventually leaving the company in early 2014. Punk remained away from pro wrestling until debuting with AEW in August 2021.
While Punk’s return has earned praise from many fans with the star defeating Darby Allin and Powerhouse Hobbs not everyone is a fan. Speaking on a recent episode of his podcast, former WCW star Konnan said that Punk “isn’t doing anything dope.”
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.