CM Punk Discusses The Pressure Of Being 'Straight-Edge' In WWE
“Not drinking, not doing drugs, I was a threat to other guys. They didn’t get that.”
The wrestling industry was traditionally the land of hard drinking, and even harder partying from the 1970s through to the modern era, but things seem different now, with many wrestlers living far cleaner than those who paved the way.
CM Punk is very notably in the clean living camp, with the Second City Saint living a straight edge lifestyle, and in conversation with the Dropping Character podcast, Punk noted the pressures of living a straight edge life whilst coming up in the WWE that still had a foot in the past:
“There’s a lot of bullies in professional wrestling and a lot of it comes down to people being taught by the previous generation to hold onto your spot,” started Punk “‘Somebody’s gonna take your spot, the young guys are coming up. They’re gonna take your spot.’ So me coming in, I was a threat to a lot of guys and me being straight-edge, not drinking, not doing drugs, I was a threat to other guys. They didn’t get that. They would try to bully me into - like weird peer pressure like, ‘Have a beer!’ I’m like, ‘I don’t drink.’ ‘Well why? Why don’t you?’ Just weird stuff that grown ass men should not be participating in. But I got thick skin. What can I say?
“And a lot of it translates to people - you get punished in their own special way. I don’t know if that stuff goes on anymore. It’s a different company [WWE] from what people tell me but yeah, the pro wrestling culture definitely a lot of the time sucked and you know, lesser people could break, quit or whatever. I just always kind of looked at it like, ‘Well, if I get fired, I get fired. I have a back-up plan and that is just to go back seamlessly into the life I had.’ I could always do that.”
Although Punk is the most high profile and arguably the first proudly straight edge wrestler, many others have followed such as ROH’s Brody King, AEW’s Darby Allin, and WWE’s Erik (fka Raymond Rowe), whilst high profile stars like Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Bryan Danielson all apparently live tee-total lifestyles.
H/T: POST Wrestling