Dijak recounts being angry with himself after WWE NXT bout, CM Punk calming him down

Photo Courtesy: WWE

Dijak details how helpful CM Punk was. 

Episode #138 of WWE – Die Woche featured a near hour-long chat with one of the newest members of the Monday Night Raw roster, Dijak

Along the way, he spoke in-depth about an instance when CM Punk calmed him down as he was frustrated with himself. On the December 12th, 2023, episode of NXT, Dijak and Eddy Thorpe clashed and it was to set up their NXT Underground match. During their brawl, Dijak was busted open after running into the ring steps. He was upset with himself because he thought medical would not clear him to do the Underground match due to blood coming from his face/head area.

He also did not want to mess up a big moment for Eddy Thorpe, as they were scheduled to tape the match the next day. Backstage, CM Punk calmed Dijak down and chatted with him at length. Dijak called it the most important conversation he’s had in his wrestling career. 

The most influential discussion I’ve ever had in pro wrestling took place four months ago or maybe less than four months ago. Maybe three months ago and it happened with CM Punk of all people. I’ve told this story before but maybe a lot of people haven’t heard it. It was just that random week where he came back and then he came to NXT and I met him for the first time and he came to TV the following week and the way TV was structured that week… It was TV on a Tuesday and it was pre-taped and then the next day was to air the following week so it was Tuesday, Wednesday. So on the Tuesday, it was to set up the Wednesday and the Wednesday was the Underground match, me and Eddy Thorpe had this Underground match where there’s no ropes and there’s all this stuff… So people probably remember the Underground match but what they probably don’t remember is the setup match we had the week before, which was just a quick thing where me and Eddy had a regular match and then he threw me into the steps and you couldn’t see it very well on TV but I started gushing blood and I was kind of trying to hide it because I was afraid that if there was too much blood, that people would come out and stop the match and the match was so short and it had a purpose and the purpose was I was gonna drive him into the buckle and then the buckle was gonna snap and break, and that would break the rope so the ropes can’t contain them. They need to have a match with no ropes. That was basically the story which is great. That’s a great hook. A hook to get into the story. So I was bleeding and I was angry because I took the steps and I hit my head and nothing bad happened but I was — after we did the buckle and I got dragged to the back, I came to the back yelling and cursing and angry because I was angry with myself. I wasn’t angry at anybody else, I was angry with myself and a lot of the time, I project that out visually and verbally. So I was yelling and I was upset because I was afraid that I had screwed up the whole thing and I wasn’t worried about myself. I was worried about Eddy Thorpe, right? Because this was a match that was huge for him. I’ve had a lot of big matches in my career. It doesn’t make or break me to have an NXT Underground match. It does for him. This is his big moment. I was afraid I screwed it all up for him by smashing my face into something and I was bleeding everywhere. I thought medical was going to rush over and say, you have a concussion, you can’t wrestle and it’s tomorrow. This match is tomorrow… because we’re taping it in advance. So I was angry and for whatever reason, CM Punk was there. We had talked before. I had asked him for feedback on the Iron Survivor Challenge match so we had a bit of rapport at that point, even though it had only been a couple days. But he came over to me and he talked to me and he calmed me down and he said that, ‘We’ll talk about the match after’ and to go get my head taken care of and stuff like that and then I talked to him after and I don’t know if he remembers this or knows this or not, but after that, we had one of the most — no, we had the most important conversation that I’ve ever had in my professional wrestling career where he just gave me advice on what he thinks it takes to succeed and have success, maybe in pro wrestling in general but specifically in WWE and it’s something that I’d thought about before and I’d internalized before but I don’t know, just for some reason coming from him, just coming from a guy who’s had so much success based on who he is and what he says and how he approaches this, just coming from him, I was like, wow, it means so much more coming from him, because I know that this is tested advice. It’s not just someone saying something or someone guessing. It’s a code that he’s lived by his entire career and no matter how many things he does and how many times he goes off or says something that he shouldn’t say or… whatever repercussions he has to deal with. This man is always the topic of discourse amongst the entire professional wrestling industry. So how could I not heed this advice? And the second that I took what he said to heart is — my wrestling has always been good, right? Everyone’s always, ‘Hey, this guy has a great match. Hey, this guy has a great match.’ Great. Nobody cared, really invested in me as a character until the past two or three months and that’s when people are like, ‘Hey, this guy’s being himself and I’m really kind of digging that.’ That’s the quickest and most simple way to have success in the professional wrestling industry. Not to say that I’m super successful. It’s trending that way. So, I’m happy for that because it’s always kind of just kind of floated and it’s like, hey, great match, cool. But right now, it feels like people are really starting to really gravitate towards me and they’re feeling the social media stuff and when I get in the ring, it’s less of a pre-shape and a plan.

Earlier in the discussion, Dijak stated that he takes inspiration from Punk’s promos and called him the greatest natural promo of all-time. 

Speaking about his own character work, Dijak stated that he’s been taking acting classes with Howard Fine, who is the coach that taught Cody Rhodes. 

I’ve never looked at someone else’s gimmick and been like, ah, I can take that piece of it or I can do that portion of it. My favorite gimmick growing up and my favorite wrestler was Stone Cold Steve Austin. So, in a sense, I guess I take some of his forwardness, just his honesty. Punk is another one… Before I even met and spoke with CM Punk, I was kind of taking notes from him because I think he’s the greatest promo of all-time, the greatest natural promo speaker of all-time. So I’d say, ‘Why do people gravitate towards him?’ And it always struck to me as, it’s because you can tell he’s being honest, you can tell he’s being genuine and that’s such a hard hurdle to get over in pro wrestling because it’s like, you build a cadence. A lot of times, someone else is telling you what to say. But if you can figure out how to flip a switch and a lot of this has come from my acting coach. I take acting classes with Howard Fine who’s a world-renowned acting coach and a lot of it is just being able to take someone else’s stuff and someone else’s words and give it the proper motivation to make it your own, to make it matter coming from you and I think that plays a big role in pro wrestling. I talked to Punk personally and he gave me advice on what more people in this business need to do to stand out and things like that. So all of that kind of feeds into my brain and starts to click these buttons and make these switches go off that say, like, the more you’re yourself, the more people are gravitating towards you so just keep going in that direction. If you get feedback and people are saying it’s not what they want or whatever, then you just kind of have to truck through it and say, no, I trust myself and I trust the process…

Dijak was moved to the Raw brand during the off-air selections of the Draft. He has been with WWE since 2017 and this go-round will be his second main roster stint to follow up on his time as T-BAR in the RETRIBUTION faction.

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit WWE – Die Woche with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

About Andrew Thompson 8603 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.