Ex-WWE writer Brian Gewirtz has explained Vince McMahon’s reaction to the iconic ‘pipebomb’ promo that CM Punk dropped back in 2011.
This now legendary segment from a Monday Night Raw in June 2011 helped transcend Punk’s career in the WWE. Throughout the six-minute destruction of his fellow wrestlers and the company, Punk established himself as “the voice of the voiceless”. In addition, the rant blurred the lines between “the show” and his true feelings.
The promo began with Punk explaining how he did not actually hate his rival John Cena, but instead hated how people consider him the best. Punk believed that he was the top wrestler in the federation, but did not get the respect he deserves.
CM Punk then delivered another ‘pipebomb’ as he blasted fans for buying all the merchandise that he was not on. Following this, he turned his attention to Vince McMahon and his family. Furthermore, viewers wondered if his outburst was genuine after producers cut the mic on Punk before he finished.
However, even 11 years on after that legendary night, many WWE fans wonder just how much scripting guided the promo.
CM Punk discusses his ‘pipebomb’ promo
Last year, the wrestling legend detailed the plan behind his extraordinary segment when speaking to SPORT1 Wrestling. He gave Vince McMahon an outline of what he would say but did not use any content from this.
“I had to make an outline for Vince, and I didn’t say anything I wrote in it,” explained Punk, quotes via Wrestle Talk. “I just know that I needed him to agree, then I went out there and said whatever I wanted. Knowing what I wanted to say, I knew I wasn’t stepping over the line, and I knew nobody was going to be p****d at me.
“The thing is with live TV is, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.”
The AEW Champion then explained how if he had shown Vince the full transcript, he would likely have had to remove some segments. For instance, he would have had to cut the lines about Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, who had not yet made their return to WWE at the time. That would happen the following year.
“I knew, to make it the special piece of art that I wanted it to be, I had to go out there and say all of that. He asked me to add something making fun of Stephanie [McMahon]. I was like, “okay”, then went out there and did it. And it was good, so it doesn’t matter.”
Despite Punk’s assertions, former writer Brian Gewirtz has a slightly different version of events.
Ex-WWE writer explains Vince McMahon’s reaction
Speaking on the Ariel Helwani Show, Gewirtz appreciated that tensions between Punk and WWE were quite high. At the time, no-one knew if the star would re-sign with the company.
However, Gewirtz confirmed that the promo was scheduled for the show – with CM Punk adding his own style to it.
“In terms of the actual segment itself, whether you want to call it a worked shoot, obviously Vince and the company knew we had it scheduled,” said Gewirtz, via Wrestling News. “But Punk brought so many elements of that to himself, in terms of sitting down as opposed to standing.
“I believe that the vast majority of it was coming from Punk’s heart and his brain. But at the same time, too, I know going into it, there wasn’t anything he said or was going to say that was unknown – unless he improvised some of that on the spot.
“I know Vince and others had a version of it in front of them and knew when to cut the mic. It was part of a TV show, to be sure.”
Although WWE still tailored the promo to their liking, the fallout from it was still very real.
“There were real-life overtones to it and real-life passion into it,” continued Gewirtz. “It wasn’t like Punk cut the promo, the mic went out, then he’s giving hugs backstage. It was palpable, the tension and the realness.
“It’s a testament to Punk to pull that off so well and have people questioning it to this day. And it’s a testament to Vince to say, ‘Yeah, say it, I don’t care, do what you can do. Call me an imbecile.’
“So, that was a great example of something just coming together, and it couldn’t have been executed any better.”
Featured Image Credit: WWE