On June 27, 2021, CM Punk sat cross-legged on top of the RAW Stage and delivered what is considered to be one of the most crucial promos in the history of professional wrestling. With his fingers curled up tightly around the mic, Punk voiced all his grievances about higher-ups WWE. Following is the transcript of the famous “pipebomb”:
John Cena, while you lay there, hopefully as uncomfortable as you possibly can be, I want you to listen to me. I want you to digest this because before I leave in 3 weeks with your WWE Championship, I have a lot of things I want to get off my chest.
I don’t hate you, John. I don’t even dislike you. I do like you. I like you a hell of a lot more than I like most people in the back. I hate the idea that you’re the best. Because you’re not. I’m the best. I’m the best in the world. There’s one thing you’re better at than I am and that’s kissing Vince McMahon’s ass.
You’re as good as kissing Vince’s ass as Hulk Hogan was. I don’t know if you’re as good as Dwayne though. He’s a pretty good ass kisser. Always was and still is.
Whoops! I’m breaking the fourth wall! [Punk waves to the camera] I am the best wrestler in the world.
I’ve been the best ever since day one when I walked into this company. And I’ve been vilified and hated since that day because Paul Heyman saw something in me that nobody else wanted to admit. That’s right, I’m a Paul Heyman guy. Do you know who else was a Paul Heyman guy? Brock Lesnar. And he split just like I’m splitting. But the biggest difference between me and Brock is I’m going to leave with the WWE Championship.
I’ve grabbed so many of Vincent K. McMahon’s brass rings that it’s finally dawned on me that they’re just that, they’re completely imaginary. The only thing that’s real is me and the fact that day in and day out, for almost six years, I have proved to everybody in the world that I am the best on this microphone, in that ring, even in commentary! Nobody can touch me!
And yet no matter how many times I prove it, I’m not on your lovely little collector cups. I’m not on the cover of the program. I’m barely promoted. I don’t get to be in movies. I’m certainly not on any crappy show on the USA Network. I’m not on the poster of WrestleMania.I’m not on the signature that’s produced at the start of the show. I’m not on Conan O’Brian. I’m not on Jimmy Fallon. But the fact of the matter is, I should be.
And trust me, this isn’t sour grapes. But the fact that Dwayne is in the main event at WrestleMania next year and I’m not making me sick!
Oh hey, let me get something straight. Those of you who are cheering me right now, you are just as big a part of me leaving as anything else. Because you’re the ones who are sipping on those collector cups right now. You’re the ones that buy those programs that my face isn’t on the cover of. And then at five in the morning at the airport, you try to shove it in my face so you can get an autograph and try to sell it on eBay because you’re too lazy to go get a real job.
I’m leaving with the WWE Championship on July 17th. And hell, who knows, maybe I’ll go defend it in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Maybe…I’ll go back to Ring of Honor.
[Punk looks at the camera and waves]
Hey, Colt Cabana, how are you doing?
The reason I’m leaving is you, people. Because after I’m gone, you’re still going to pour money into this company. I’m just a spoke on the wheel. The wheel is going to keep turning and I understand that. Vince McMahon is going to make money despite himself. He’s a millionaire who should be a billionaire. Do you know why he’s not a billionaire? Because he surrounds himself with glad-handed, nonsensical, douchebag (censored) yes men, like John Laurinaitis, who’s going to tell him everything he wants to hear, and I’d like to think that maybe this company will be better after Vince McMahon is dead. But the fact is, it’s going to be taken over by his idiotic daughter and his doofus son-in-law and the rest of his stupid family.
Let me tell you a personal story about Vince McMahon, alright? We do this whole [anti] bully campaign… [Microphone cuts off]
10 years have passed since Punk delivered the iconic “Pipebomb” and now, more than ever, have we started to truly experience and witness the gravity of what Punk predicted. So let’s dissect the pipebomb.
What pops out the most from this promo is the mention of Vince McMahon’s “brass ring”. In the past, we have seen so many fan favourites who prove themselves day in and day out as the best performers in the world. Yet, they don’t get a chance to climb the ranks of the virtual ladder and grab that “brass ring”. Why is that? It’s just as Punk described it. It’s imaginary. Even after Punk left, we have seen countless examples of wrestlers who have done everything in their power to prove their worth but in the end, it’s all up to Vince McMahon. Cesaro, Nakamura, Zayn, Luke Harper, EC3 and Samoa Joe are just a few names of many who have never won a World Championship in WWE.
They have grabbed the brass ring but were never on top because that position has been reserved for a select few. Now, they are very deserving, but they’re there because Vince wants them there. The last wrestler to actually break the system was Daniel Bryan and it took all the fan support in the world to get him to the top. The thing is, it shouldn’t take so much of the fans’ supporting someone for WWE to actually give them a push. WWE should capitalize on when people are over and then give them a chance at the top. Cesaro in 2014 was World Championship material and he was just used as a means to get Paul Heyman on TV so he can promote Brock Lesnar. They were putting over a ready-made star in Lesnar when they had the opportunity to make money out of pushing Cesaro. There is no brass ring at the top. It’s always Vince’s call and the fans have very little say in what happens.
Vince’s guys have always been on the top whether fans like it or not. Just a few years after Punk’s departure, Roman Reigns was heavily pushed as the top babyface of the promotion but what one of the most actively boo-ed superstars on the roster. Not even the best of heels could draw such a negative reaction from the crowd. Despite all that, it was all business for the higher-ups. WWE didn’t turn Roman heel because they were bent on making him the top babyface whether the fans liked it or not. Only last year did Roman turn heel and he has been doing the best work of his career. This could’ve happened years before but Vince was adamant about keeping Roman as a good guy.
The Pipebomb was far from being the only notable segment from the “Summer of Punk”. His contract negotiation segment with Vince McMahon rings far truer now. In my opinion, in hindsight, it is more significant than the pipebomb. The segment featured Punk saying what no one dared to say for a long time with Vince retaliated with what one can assume to be his part-kayfabe/part-shoot responses.
Amidst recent releases, one certain portion of the segment sticks out the most in 2021:
“CM Punk: I have had friends, very talented friends, work for this company and be unceremoniously fired –
Vince McMahon: They deserved it!
CM Punk: They deserved it?
Vince McMahon: Yeah
CM Punk: They deserved it? Why? Because you don’t know what makes a Superstar in 2011. You don’t know what these people want. You wanna punish people for actually liking professional wrestling? Guys like Colt Cabana, guys like Luke Gallows? Huh? You will apologize to me for them because they can’t be here right now and they can’t stand up to you and they can’t let their voice be heard. I am CM Punk and I am the voice of the voiceless and you will apologize and you will like it”
Many of the recent releases were dubbed by fans as the future world champions in WWE. Aleister Black is one person who perfectly represents what Punk said 10 years ago. He has charisma. He had intriguing and attention-grabbing character ideas. He is an absolute star in the ring yet nothing came of him. He said that Vince was behind him and Paul Heyman of all people fought for him backstage but he was kept off T.V. for six months. When he was brought back he was immediately let go. Why? Punk might very well be right in saying that Vince McMahon does not know how what makes a Superstar. Andrade’s another one. So much potential yet WWE keeps releasing people left and right. Money is being left on the table and certified future stars are slipping right through Vince’s fingers. It has been ten years and CM Punk was dead on about everything he said… More of a truth bomb than a pipebomb?
Keep in mind, this is just an opinion. Was the Pipebomb important? Maybe you think otherwise. Maybe CM Punk is completely wrong in your opinion. Who knows? But I have made my observations and the rest is up to you to decide.
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