PANEL REVIEW: “Best in the World” with CM Punk at Starrcast III

On Saturday, Starrcast III featured a much-anticipated panel discussion with CM Punk hosted by PWInsider's Mike Johnson.

On Saturday, Starrcast III featured a much-anticipated panel discussion with Phil “CM Punk” Brooks hosted by PWInsider’s Mike Johnson. You can purchase a stream to the event in its entirety on Fite. Below is a summary of the discussion:

**Punk is asked about what it’s like being in a wrestling environment again. Punk says every environment is a wrestling environment for him these days. No matter where he goes, wrestling fans seem to follow him.

**Johnson immediately asks about recent rumours involving Punk being pursued by WWE, FS1 & AEW. Punk says it’s nice people still care, he’s not going to be anywhere tonight. He’s going to be hanging out with his wife instead.

**Says he’s fortunate to have the life he has now. He enjoys being in his own bed and the limited travel. He gets to do what he wants, and that’s hang out with his wife and dog.

**He talks about the horror movie he’s starring in, Girl on the Third Floor. Says he’s terrified of being in a movie where he takes up 85% of the screen time, but says he came out of the screening not hating it, which is a huge compliment coming from him.

Johnson asks Punk if he’s a method actor due to nature of coming from pro wrestling. Punk chuckles at the notion and says, “No.”

**Punk says he doesn’t miss wrestling because he was fortunate enough to do it all. He feels he had a great career so he doesn’t feel the itch to come back.

**Johnson asks if there’s a current wrestler that inspires Punk to come back. Punk says there’s no one wrestler in particular.

Punk shares a story about seeing Steve Austin backstage in 2010 and asking him if he wanted to give him a Stunner in a dark match. Austin was excited someone finally asked him to do something. Punk says he now looks at himself in Austin’s position.

Punk knows who Will Ospreay is, but hasn’t seen him wrestle, only clips. Punk says he sees guys like Kenny Omega and doesn’t know if he can keep up with them today, though Punk says he’s still in good shape.

**Johnson discusses the barriers Punk helped break down in the WWE, including changes to their policies on talent taking time off. Punk is stunned silent to hear that wrestlers are now able to take time off, including Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch taking 2 weeks off to get engaged. Punk is speechless for several moments.

Punk says he doesn’t know if he had anything to do with it, but says good for them. He says if that’s true it’s great, but wonders if they’ll still be punished in some other way.

**Johnson asks Punk if there was anything WWE could’ve done to keep him. Punk says no one talked to him after he burnt out and took himself off the road. Punk recaps the timing and lapses in communication which led to his suspension, then firing 2 days after his honeymoon. Punk says WWE might’ve been able to keep him if someone simply spoke to him.

Punk jokingly says he’d sign a full-time contract with WWE just to request some time off.

**Punk says he would be open to a conversation with Vince McMahon and/or Paul Levesque. He’ll have a conversation with anybody. But he’s not making the first move.

**Punk says at 40, he’s far more mellow now than he was before. He says there was a lot done by the company that was personal, but he’s let it go.

**Punk discusses pressure in pro wrestling to work through injury. Says it’s toxic masculinity that gets people hurt and killed. He would like to see the implementation of an off-season or talent rotations, as well as professional neurologist for concussions and better doctors.

**Johnson brings up the rumour that Punk was mad at wrestling Undertaker at WrestleMania. Punk says he doesn’t remember being mad at wrestling Taker, but being mad at the way the feud was built. He says he was never made to look like a threat.

**Punk shares some stories about Harley Race, including a story of Race throwing up in his car after a night out.

**Johnson brings up his 60-minute match with Samoa Joe that reinvigorated Ring of Honor in the mid-2000’s. Punk says he and Joe didn’t think about saving the company. They just wanted to have great matches.

Punk feels he was just next in line for Joe after TNA raided much of ROH’s top talent. Punk suggested the 60-min draw simply to prolong the feud.

**Punk discusses his entry into the WWE. Says he didn’t have much hope to excel in that environment, but he had already achieved everything in ROH. He didn’t just aspire to be a WWE guy. He wanted to wrestle Japan. Looks at AJPW in ’93 as the best wrestling of all time.

Punk continues to reflect on his time at Ring of Honor. Says it was very hard to leave but felt it was time to go.

**Punk addresses the story of his backstage encounter with Tony Atlas in OVW over Atlas not liking CM Punk’s wrist tape look. It was a story that was completely bewildering and hilariously told. Punk even does his Laurinaitis impression.

He did not have nice things to say about Nova or “Al” (presumably Snow) in his interactions with them in OVW.

**Punk shares his frustrations with losing to Kane prior to Punk’s WrestleMania match with Taker as well as losing to Triple H at Night of Champions 2011 when he was at his most popular. He discusses the futility of arguing with Vince about booking decisions. Punk believes neither Vince or Triple H ever understood him.

**On positives of being in the WWE: Punk always looked up to old-school guys and says being WWE champion may be closest he’d get to having the career of a great like Harley Race. He liked working with guys like Kofi and Bryan.

**Punk says working with John Cena was always great because he never worried about his spot. Same with JBL.

**He doesn’t consider his MITB 2011 match against Cena his happiest moment. He was always happy when he helped others have their happiest moments. Says in his life, whenever he finds himself on higher ground, he sees himself wanting to bring his friends up to the level with him.

**Punk reflects on his comfort on the microphone and straight-edge character. Talks about the differences between acting in wrestling and acting in films.

**Punk says he doesn’t see himself writing a book because he saw the amount of work his wife put into hers. Also because he’s tired of being sued.

**Johnson brings up the time The Rock called CM Punk in front of an audience at a WWE event in the Staples Center. Punk says he was in an elevator so he never received the call, but he thought someone died because of how many missed calls he received at the moment. Punk shares stories about working with The Rock for their program in 2013.

**Punk says he’s really happy for Kofi Kingston’s current title run. Says it should’ve happened a long time ago, but perhaps better now that his kids can see and remember it.

**Johnson asks if there are any comic movie roles CM Punk could see himself in. Punk says being a modern-day version of Kraven the Hunter might be cool. A fan suggests Casey Jones from TMNT. Johnson pitches Moon Knight. Punk hopes after his current films come out, more acting roles may come his way.

**Johnson asks Punk if there are any DC characters he wants to play. Punk says growing up he was a Marvel guy, but says you can enjoy both companies, just like how wrestling fans can watch both WWE and AEW.

**Punk discusses his intolerance for racism, including a recent incident involving his wife. Says his happiness comes from his wife, his dog and his ability to help other people.

**Punk says he enjoys Twitter more since he’s learned to customize his notification filters. Says Twitter isn’t real life.

**Punk was anxious and nervous prior to coming out. He didn’t have any big announcements but just wanted to be here to hang out with a group of friends.


Those looking for headlines from the panel may be disappointed, but the 100-minute Q&A was an otherwise enjoyable catch-up on a person who’s kept pretty quiet in the wrestling world since retirement.

Mike Johnson does a great job navigating highlights from Punk’s career while addressing some of the more mild controversies within it.

Watching the panel, Punk gives the impression that he’s still far removed from the business he once loved.

Though he says he doesn’t keep up to date with wrestling and has no desire to return, it’s notable he’s still open to entertaining offers, including those from WWE.

No matter what his answers were from the day, fans will continue to speculate about his return throughout tonight’s All Out event and beyond. In any case, it appears as if Phil Brooks is still grateful to be part of the conversation.

About Wai Ting 6 Articles
Covering combat sports and pro wrestling since 2005, Wai Ting is a podcaster, videographer, editor and creative director at POST Wrestling. He runs POST Wrestling with John Pollock.