CM Punk's whirlwind two-hour sit down with Colt Cabana on the Art of Wrestling Podcast has caused nothing short of a storm in the wrestling community over the last 48 hours, but there's still plenty of gems from the interview which have not been widely reported amid bombshells regarding Vince McMahon and Triple H.
Perhaps the story the epitomises Punk's work ethic and reputation as a tireless worker best is a frank exchange with Rusev just before both men appeared in the 2014 Royal Rumble, where the Russian superstar was in no uncertain terms told to buck his ideas up if he wants to make his mark in the WWE.
Rusev clearly listened to that rather forceful advice and has captured the United States championship on a steady rise towards the top of the company, with Punk perhaps playing a small part in building the imposing athlete into the formidable force he is today.
Punk happy to put new talent over
Punk and Rusev were both preparing for the 30-man battle royal backstage and the former WWE champion was keen to stress that his foe had to create a highlight-reel moment that would get fans to take him seriously, but his words were met by a tough crowd to say the least.
The self-proclaimed Best in the World shares his memories of preparing for the Rumble and revealed: "I’m asking everybody, hey when you come do this. Tell me what you’re gonna do and I’ll feed for you. That f*****g Rusev guy, he was f*****g scared to death of me.
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Rusev fails to impress esteemed company
"I was like dude this is your first impression you have to do something. He’s like OK I’ll come over to the corner and stomp you. I was like no, you have to f*****g pick me up and f*****g do something.
"We were in guerrilla (behind the curtain) and I go look around you, none of these motherf*****s care about you. They don’t care about you, they hope you don’t succeed, they don’t give a s**t about your push.
"You have to make your fucking moments count. And because I’m CM Punk you think I don’t wanna f*****g do anything with you. Beat the shit out of me, do a cool move to me.
"Just tell me what you’re gonna do, don’t just kick me in the f*****g corner. Star wise I’m gonna be the biggest guy in the ring, you have to do something to me because then everyone’s gonna be like oohhh ahhh."
Royal Rumble the beginning of the end for Punk
Punk's insight into that pay-per-view is particularly interesting, effectively paving the way for his acrimonious exit from the WWE. After entering the Royal Rumble match first Punk helped eliminate Rusev, Damien Sandow and Kane to reach the closing stages of the match, but the Big Red Monster returned for revenge before the night was done.
An athletic spin kick from Kofi Kingston had left Punk with concussion and Kane eventually ended his night with a merciful elimination, but the anger surrounding that night and alleged poor treatment from WWE medical staff never subsided.
Less than six months later Punk had moved on and decided that he could never have a working relationship with the WWE again under those conditions, with the breakdown of that prosperous relationship very disappointing to say the least.
Punk clearly still holds some resentment towards Vince McMahon and WWE creative chiefs, which makes anticipation for a second appearance on Cabana's podcast next week all the more intense.
Check out part one of Punk's attempt to provide an explanation for his split from the WWE at Cabana's official website by clicking HERE.
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