5 WWE Superstars who have had issues with AEW’s CM Punk
AEW superstar CM Punk didn’t leave WWE on good terms in 2014. He has been vocally critical about his time in WWE, particularly over the past few years. That being said, CM Punk, who was always one to stand up for what he believed in, found himself butting heads with more than one WWE superstar.
While it could be argued that CM Punk wasn’t right on every occasion (especially on this list), in a lot of cases, he simply spoke up when others didn’t. Though he seems to have found a reinvigorated passion for wrestling with AEW, he still has a controversial reputation behind the scenes.
Here are five WWE Superstars who have had issues with CM Punk.
#5. Triple H – A well-documented rivalry on-and-off screen with CM Punk
The best thing about the Wrestlemania 30 build wasn’t Daniel Bryan. It was CM Punk being completely checked out and not being able to hide his feelings regarding Triple H and Stephanie. Golden moment right here. pic.twitter.com/oZhaHs4xDr
— big dog. (@griffpr) March 22, 2020
Let’s start with the most obvious one. CM Punk and Triple H never seemed to get along. It had been widely believed that if CM Punk ever returned to WWE, it would be on Vince McMahon’s accord rather than Triple H’s.
While this WWE return never happened, CM Punk was vocal about his issues with Triple H on the famous Colt Cabana podcast. But even when they faced off in a heated feud during the “Summer of Punk” in 2011, it seemed quite clear that the two stars truly didn’t care for each other.
Instagram story from CM Punk today showing a proposed card for WrestleMania XXX from January ‘14 listing:
– Batista vs Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
– Punk vs Triple H
– Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus pic.twitter.com/Uk1cJFmWOV
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) January 4, 2020
While the two had taken playful shots at each other, their promos seemed to have gotten legitimately personal in the summer of 2011, especially when CM Punk used the line “This is Phil Brooks talking to Paul Levesque.” Plenty of real-life issues seemed to have been brought up in that time.
Plus, CM Punk never seemed to forgive Triple H for beating him at Night of Champions 2011. Punk felt that Triple H didn’t need to win, and this loss arguably ruined his momentum at a time when it had never been higher in WWE.
He later revealed on Colt Cabana’s podcast that in his final meeting with Vince McMahon and Triple H, he confronted The King Of Kings and aired out a lot of his frustrations.
It’s unclear where their relationship stands today, but at least in the past, they were genuine rivals.
#4. AJ Styles – Legitimate heat with CM Punk
— WWE (@WWE) August 31, 2021
In this case, CM Punk commented on a Superstar who only joined WWE two years after he left; the Straight Edge Superstar targeted none other than two-time WWE Champion AJ Styles.
His remark came during the height of racial tensions in the United States in 2020, and CM Punk seemingly took a shot at AJ Styles in a tweet.
“Lotta people snitching on themselves,” wrote Punk. “When people tell you who they are, believe it. Might be unfortunate and disappointing if you’re a fan of that person, or if it’s your grandmother, but f*** ‘em. Good bye! (I yield my time, f*** you.)”
Many WWE superstars were vocal about the matter, but AJ Styles chose to keep quiet about it. When this was tweeted at CM Punk, he responded somewhat vaguely by saying that it was “obvious.”
Styles, who later deleted his response, didn’t take too kindly to CM Punk’s comments. In an interview with the Times of India, The Phenomenal One said:
“I will not react at all coming from a guy that I don’t [have] any respect [for] anyway,” said Styles. “It doesn’t really matter. Look, my job as a performer is to perform and get the mind off all the things that have happened throughout the world. I am not going to react to people saying ridiculous and stupid things.” (H/T: POST)
Cannot wait for return of our fans … I know they’re excited to see the #PhemomenalOne LIVE!!!! Check out @AfterTheBellWWE on @Spotify and @ApplePodcasts now! @WWEGraves @VicJosephWWE pic.twitter.com/pEkiwdmUt2
— AJ Styles (@AJStylesOrg) June 18, 2021
On a Twitch stream over a week later, AJ Styles reaffirmed that he had no respect for CM Punk, so he wouldn’t be bothered to respond or react to the popular star. Styles said that, at the end of the day, his job is to perform and get people’s minds away from the negative events that happen throughout the world.
Clearly, Punk had an issue with this stance, but the two men haven’t interracted much otherwise.
#3. Beth Phoenix – Ended her relationship with CM Punk on bad terms
Favorite Beth Phoenix moments both from Royal Rumble PPV'S. Showing CM Punk and Nia Jax who is boss. pic.twitter.com/SFJlCu64wh
— Access Wrestling (@AccessWrestling) March 4, 2020
Beth Phoenix dated CM Punk before she married WWE Hall of Famer Edge. The two were together for an unspecified amount of time in WWE. They even had an on-screen interaction at the 2010 Royal Rumble, where CM Punk hit the GTS on Beth Phoenix before eliminating her.
At the time, Beth Phoenix was one of the only women to ever enter the Royal Rumble. That year, Edge won the Royal Rumble, ironically. Either way, on a personal level, CM Punk’s relationship with Beth Phoenix didn’t end on good terms.
Beth Phoenix eliminating Khali and beating up CM Punk was great. pic.twitter.com/UfPqecGOEc
— Michael (@HellcatPerez) January 9, 2021
CM Punk hasn’t been very vocal about his love life, but on the ‘Holberg’s Morning Circus’ radio show, CM Punk said:
“I just ended a relationship… No, it doesn’t hurt at all. It pisses me off to watch people you love and admire become complete d****e-bags… People just flake… I realized that it doesn’t matter who it was, as long as someone was her boyfriend.” (H/T Ewrestlingnews)
Despite the harsh comments, Beth Phoenix took the high road and chose not to make a comment responding to CM Punk. In the long run, it was probably a better decision, but hopefully, it’s all water under the bridge now.
#2. Jeff Hardy – On and off-screen feud with CM Punk
Jeff Hardy & CM Punk’s feud in 2009 was so freaking good man. pic.twitter.com/jMoedCeeav
— Dan 🇮🇪 (@danthegrapsfan) September 15, 2020
CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy in 2009 is one of the most perfect examples of WWE being able to blur the lines between reality and fiction. Even off-screen, CM Punk and Jeff Hardy were polar opposite characters.
Jeff Hardy had multiple Wellness Policy violations, and CM Punk openly referenced that fact during their feud. Due to these struggles in real life, Hardy was one strike away from getting fired by WWE.
The two stars had a feud that began when CM Punk, a babyface, cashed in on World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy, a bigger babyface. Since fans naturally gravitated toward Hardy, WWE turned CM Punk heel, and their feud took off in a big way.
— No money Jack😞 (@Jackeevis335) July 20, 2021
They were even given a main event spot at SummerSlam 2009 – being preferred over John Cena vs. Randy Orton. Their rivalry culminated in a “Loser Leaves WWE” match inside a steel cage. CM Punk won this bout, so Jeff Hardy said goodbye to WWE.
Later on, The Hardys posted (and deleted) a video from a diner where a clearly intoxicated Jeff Hardy began to shoot on Punk, indicating real-life issues between the two.
#1. The Undertaker – Confronted CM Punk over his casual attire
My favorite Undertaker memory is undoubtedly watching him vs @CMPunk at WrestleMania 29 LIVE with my big bro – simply incredible environment for that one.
Have almost never seen a crowd so into a match personally, and that was my first Mania in-person. Super special to me. pic.twitter.com/eJLx1xtmip
— Robbie Fox (@RobbieBarstool) November 23, 2020
While The Undertaker was feuding with CM Punk on WWE TV, they had a legitimate issue with each other backstage. Or rather, The Undertaker took an issue with then-World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk.
The Undertaker reportedly confronted Punk about his “casual attire” as the World Heavyweight Champion, concerned over how it would affect the company’s image. It’s important to note that by this point, The Undertaker was a long-time and well-respected locker room leader.
CM Punk responded by arguing that John Cena, the face of WWE at the time, dressed in a casual attire too. This remark didn’t sit well with The Undertaker and WWE higher-ups.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter noted that this disagreement ultimately led to the World Heavyweight Championship changing hands at Hell in a Cell:
“This got back to WWE management and they took it as Punk thinking he was a bigger star than John Cena. Then the decision was made to take the belt off Punk at Hell in a Cell and put the match as the opener. There are a couple versions of the story going around, but which ever one is being told, the end result remains the same.” (via SEScoops
Jim Ross, a renowned WWE broadcaster at the time, later denied these claims, though. He said that CM Punk was a “different” type of talent to work with and not everyone understood how to get along with him. He also confirmed that the WWE office didn’t back CM Punk the way they should have and described it as “sad”.
CM Punk ultimately faced The Undertaker a few years later at WrestleMania 29, where The Phenom earned the final win of his incredible undefeated streak at WrestleMania.