CM Punk recently spoke with Joseph Staszewski of The New York Post to promote his return to the ring against Darby Allin at Sunday’s AEW All Out pay-per-view. Punk was asked if we’re approaching a second sort of boom period in pro wrestling. Staszewski noted how AEW has momentum, while WWE just brought back Brock Lesnar and SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, and how it feels like “all the stars are here to draw attention back to the industry.”
Punk said it feels like everything is trending upward and feels hot right now. He wouldn’t call it a boom period, but talked about bringing fans back to the sport.
“I think people will always harken back to, ‘Oh, X amount of people used to watch this, where are those millions and millions of people? Where did they go?’ It’s why I don’t put a whole lot of stock in ratings and demographics,” Punk said. “It’s not my job. I know TNT, I know the executives love that stuff, but I don’t like movies simply because somebody else likes a movie. I don’t go to restaurants simply because it’s highly rated. They serve something I’m allergic to so I’m not gonna go ahead and eat it.
“I definitely think stuff’s trending upward and it feels hot right now. I don’t know if I can call it a boom period. Attitude Era, how many people were watching? So there are a lot of people out there who are not watching. I think chasing all those fans who don’t watch any more can be detrimental. I’m about giving our fans, who are here in the arena, I’m about giving them what they want and making them happy.”
Punk continued, “Yes, mainstream popularity for television shows, yes that stuff is great and I think that audience can eventually come and that’s what AEW has. You watch it on television and you go, ‘Look at those people in the stands, they’re having a blast. I need to go to that. I need to watch that. I need to get into this.’ And if you are just trying to chase people who aren’t watching, people who maybe watched 10 years ago, that’s a crapshoot. You could be shooting yourself in the foot.”
During a recent interview with TV Insider to promote Heels, Punk commented that pro wrestling “really needs a kick in the dick.”
“I think the older the stuff is the better. I think it’s partly unfortunate that WWE owns the super good libraries in pro wrestling. I think that stuff is classic and they don’t even put it on their network. They are sitting on it. I want to watch Austin Idol versus Jerry Lawler in Memphis. I do think the landscape of pro wrestling in general really needs a kick in the dick. I think we are about there. I think there are people out there stirring the pot and causing trouble in a good way. It’s a fun world. There is nothing like it. Pro wrestling gets crapped on by a number of people. But when it’s done on a high level and it’s really good, there is nothing better,” Punk said in the recent interview.
In this new interview with The Post, Punk was asked what he meant by those comments, and how he hopes to contribute to the kick below the belt.
“It’s hard to not speak on where you’ve been when you’re talking about where you’re going,” Punk said. “I’m not looking backward. I’m focused on forward. I just think there’s been one flavor of ice cream for so long and it’s refreshing to see AEW come about. You can criticize both places. There is good and bad in both places, but just the momentum AEW has and the fact that there’s a new restaurant in town and it’s getting good reviews, so why wouldn’t you go try the food served there?
“I just think because there has only been one flavor of ice cream and it’s served to you in the same bowl with the same spoon – imagine if there was one movie studio turning out the same type of movie with the same actors. We need to churn the water a little bit here. We need to be disruptors and create some exciting energy. AEW, before I showed up, was already doing that.”
Punk will be on AEW Dynamite tonight to promote his All Out match with Allin.