It wasn’t that long ago that Daniel Bryan and CM Punk were at the very top of the wrestling world. They were both considered by fans to be among the most talented superstars in the WWE, and both had world title runs to show for it. Things are a little different now, though.
Bryan was forced into retirement when the WWE refused to medically clear him to wrestle again after a series of head and neck injuries. Punk became disillusioned with the entire business of pro wrestling and made a shocking switch to MMA, signing with the UFC (his first fight didn’t exactly go well).
Punk and Bryan share a lot of similarities in the eyes of hardcore wrestling fans. They were insanely popular on the indie scene and were hugely important to the early days of Ring of Honor. They also bucked the traditional WWE trend of only pushing musclebound giants into the championship picture, as neither guy is particularly big. They made up for their lack of size, though, with a combination of hard work, incredible talent, and undeniable charisma.
Sorry to burst your bubble though, because it sounds like Punk and Bryan aren’t exactly good friends off camera. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Bryan was asked about his last conversation with Punk:
“I haven’t talked to Punk since I texted him when he came on the UFC show in a suit and said he was going to fight in the UFC,” said Bryan. “I just texted him and said, ‘Hey man, I just saw that and think it’s awesome. I hope you do great.’ Punk texted back, ‘Thanks.’ That’s the last I’ve heard from him.
“I’ve always respected and appreciated Punk, but we never really hung out. We came from the same route, but we didn’t necessarily hang out in the same circles. I’ve always had a great appreciation and respect for his hard work.”
That’s all? What a disappointment!
For the record, Punk’s UFC contract was announced in December 2014. That’s two and half years with zero contact. That’s too bad, considering two of the best wrestlers in the past five years are now out of the picture — one getting beat up by UFC rookies and the other running out his WWE contract by taking the role of SmackDown Live general manager.