AEW News

CM Punk – “I Don’t Think There Are Casual Wrestling Fans Anymore”

CM Punk in the ring

CM Punk has discussed his feelings on AEW’s fanbase, explaining that he doesn’t think causal fans exist anymore, so AEW simply presents wrestling to wrestling fans.

At AEW Full Gear CM Punk maintained his unbeaten record since joining the AEW by defeating Eddie Kingston is bloody encounter. The match was built on animosity between the pair going back more than 15 years. These issues were brought to the surface again in AEW, most memorably during a confrontation which led to a mass brawl on Rampage.

Speaking during the post Full Gear media scrum, Punk explained that the on-screen rivalry between the pair worked because it felt authentic and was easily relatable.

“Pro wrestling man, it’s kind of ironic because we’re characters but we’re not, we’re real people,” Punk said. “What you see from me is what you get, what you see you get from Eddie. I hate pulling the curtain back so to speak but I used to watch professional wrestling all the time and two dudes can get in arguments and then they can fight about it.

It doesn’t really have to be deeper than that and if you can get people to relate to that stuff, if you can get people to relate to ‘oh man, I was at a job one time and maybe I didn’t apply myself 100% of the time and there’s that guy in the office that always called me out on it, screw that guy’.

Everybody can take a side when you put me and Eddie in the ring. I don’t care what side you take, you’re going to take a side and there’s going to be some situation in your life and past and experiences that as you watch that television, you’re engaged. That’s the whole point, Jerry Lawler used to do it all the damn time.”

CM Punk moved on to discussing whether anything had surprised him since he debuted with the company back in August. The former WWE Champion said he wasn’t necessary surprised, but praised the company’s consistency and ability to cater to multiple parts of the wrestling audience.

“I don’t know if anything was a big surprise,” Punk said. “Except just maybe how consistent we are. I have opinions just like the fans do, not everybody is going to love me or what I do. I don’t necessarily have to like everything on the TV show but that’s the whole point is we’re not giving you one thing for two hours or three hours, we’re giving you a variety of things.

I think everybody who loves pro wrestling can find something you love about the show. I don’t even really think it’s surprising, it’s just a breath of fresh air, it’s different, it’s rad and it’s one of the reasons I was drawn to this place and why I wanted to be here, one of the reasons I’m here.”

Expanding further about AEW’s fanbase, Punk he’s unsure how many of them followed him from WWE, but recognises them as wrestling fans. Adding that he believes that so called ‘casual fans’ no longer exist.

“I definitely think there’s overlap,” Punk said. “I don’t know if everybody who was a WWE fan came over here specifically just to watch me but what I recognize in front of an AEW audience is an audience that I used to wrestle in front of prior to coming to the WWE. They’re wrestling fans you know, and I will never understand the criticism of appealing to your fan base. If this is our fan base, give them what they want and everybody’s happy.

Now I understand building a business, people talk about trying to get casuals here, I don’t think there’s casual wrestling fans anymore. My opinion, maybe I’m wrong and maybe somebody at TNT is going to get mad because I’m saying this and am of this opinion but our fans are wrestling fans and we give them wrestling.”

During his match with Eddie Kingston, CM Punk also teased performing John Cena’s ‘Five-Knuckle Shuffle.’ The star landed a couple of shoulder blocks and a side slam before standing over his rival, stopping just short of following through on the whole routine. Punk explained that he likes manipulate the crowd, saying it’s “fun to f**k with people.

H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.