Guest Editorial: "Stay Away, CM Punk"

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By: Kevin Berger

Phillip Jack Brooks is an excellent professional wrestler who, as human being, leaves much to be desired; and it's time that people begin to recognize and acknowledge that inconvenient and unpopular, but irrefutable, fact.

On Colt Cabana's podcast, Phil Brooks cited his health as the primary catalyst that led to his walking out on WWE, saying, "...there was one BIG thing that led to my decision and, actually, the big thing that led to my decision was my health." He goes on to mention a misdiagnosed staph infection, saying, "I went to her [wife, AJ Lee] doctor in Tampa...And he looks right at it, he doesn't touch it, he just looks at it, cocks his head sideways and he goes 'that's a full blown staph infection'.." (Mrosko, 2014). Again, and this point cannot be stressed enough, "Punk claimed Amann misdiagnosed an MRSA infection as a fatty deposit and failed to treat him when he suffered a concussion at the Royal Rumble" (Conway, 2015). The problem is that there was no such infection and no such diagnosis. "Punk acknowledged on the witness stand that no physician ever diagnosed him with suffering from a MRSA staph infection" [emphasis added](McCann, 2018). Long story short--Phil Brooks lied. The man admitted on the witness stand, under oath, that the MRSA staph infection that he claimed was the "big reason" for why he left WWE wasn't ever diagnosed by anyone. Why? Because it was a cyst, according to Patrick Duffy, the physician's assistant who treated Brooks, and who also refuted Brooks' testimony regarding its size and his reaction to the treatment (Konuwa, 2018). He didn't leave because of his health; he left because was disgruntled.

When Dr. Chris Amann filed his defamation suit against them, Brooks allegedly told his "friend" Colt Cabana after appearing on his podcast that he would cover his legal fees in a text message saying, "I'll make sure you're 100% covered," signed a retainer along with Cabana with the same legal firm, and signed a contract stating that Cabana would not be paying for the legal fees stemming from Brooks' remarks on podcast...then reneged on his promise to cover the expenses for a situation that he created, leading to Cabana suing him (Bixenspan, 2019). Once again, long story short--Phil Brooks apparently lied. Colt Cabana wasn't trying to take advantage of him; he was expecting Brooks to make good on a promise to remedy a situation that he created. Brooks may very well have an e-mail from Cabana agreeing to go their separate ways and that they would each pay their own separate legal expenses, but that came after Brooks dragged Cabana's mother into the discussion (which wasn't relevant to the original agreement). And, once again, it's worth pointing out that Dr. Amann didn't lose his defamation case because what Brooks claimed was true...No, he seemingly lost his case because he couldn't demonstrate any damages caused Brooks' lies because "jurors likely wanted to be convinced that he was a victim. One hurdle for Amann was that he could not show how the insults harmed his medical career or his professional identity. WWE has not only continued to retain Amann, but it entrusts Amann with high-level responsibilities that depend on him having sound judgment. Most notably, Amann has oversight of other ringside physicians and related healthcare providers" (McCann, 2018).

It's not as if this kind of behavior is a recent development. Brooks had an altercation with Kevin Owens back in ROH (Coyle-Simmons, 2022), as well as an altercation with Teddy Hart when they were working in TNA, and he may have gotten fired for it, though he denies it (Lafattolla, 2004). Fast forward to the incident with the AEW EVPs. During the media scrum, Brooks challenged anyone who had an issue with him to come to his locker room and talk to him face-to-face, saying, "...if you've got a problem with me, take it up with me," and he also said, "My locker room is never closed. It's always open. Anybody who wants to DM [the Wrestling Observer's Dave] Meltzer some bulls--- can come talk to me about it. It's not macho, stupid bulls---. I'm an adult. Come talk with me" (Barrasso, 2022). Yet, when the the EVPs did just that, all hell broke loose; and lest it be said that they came in aggressively, it should be mentioned how unlikely that is considering that they had the heads of legal and talent relations with them at the time (Davis, 2022). So, when Brooks, his friend Ace Steel, and others claimed that the EVPs had "kicked the door down," once again, they lied.

Fast forward to the altercation with William Regal, where he apparently refused to shake his hand, got into his face, said he didn't like or trust him, and made a comment about him being one of Triple H's "stooges," (Lee, 2023). Fast forward to the altercation with Ryan Nemeth (Ravens, 2023). Fast forward to the most recent issue with Jack Perry. If it were a single, isolated incident, with a particular individual, one could easily dismiss it. That's not case here, and as Brooks has been demonstrated to be dishonest, we cannot trust his version of events or the version related by his friends.

I have my doubts regarding his version of events leading up his termination with WWE. Did he get his termination on the day of his wedding? Did Triple H know that was the day of his wedding? If he did know, was the timing intentional? I don't know. However, I have reason to doubt anything Brooks says. And, given that he no-showed Raw on January 27, 2014 and was married June 14 of that year--almost 5 months later--I certainly don't feel any sympathy for him regardless. He was hired to do a job, walked away, lied about his reasoning, and got fired. He deserved to be fired after refusing to return anyone's calls (Herbert, 2014). It's not like he ever actually beat anyone. It's staged. It's show business. They're paid to play a role. Imagine the audacity of an actor trying to dictate to the producers or directors how the role will be played. That's not how it works. Brooks even said himself, "...all I wanted was the main event of WrestleMania and it's fine if you don't think that is me and that I'm that caliber of a [expletive] superstar but then you need to [expletive] fire me," (Mrosko, 2014) then complained when they did months later.

When drama seems to always accompany you, maybe, just maybe, you are the problem. Add to these physical altercations incidents like him telling people on Twitter to "drink bleach" or "kill yourself," regardless of rationale, and yelling homophobic slurs at fans (Gray, 2018), making inappropriate and homophobic comments to fellow wrestlers (Coulson, 2020), questionable tweets that Punk has been known to make, like calling the Pope a Nazi (Atkinson, 2013), implying that a fan didn't have a brain for asking a question (Mukherjee, 2022), and just being a jerk to fans in general (Pena, 2013), and I can't fathom why anyone continues to defend him. Sure, sometimes, Brooks may have a good reasoning for feeling the way he does; however, sometimes, it's better to keep your mouth shut; and that's probably never more true than when you represent a corporation in public.

Of course, Brooks also has a pension for bit of revision history. For example, in the same interview on Cabana's podcast, while venting, he says, "Just like two years ago it was my f-cking year and I was white f-cking hot just like he is now and what did you do? You fed me to this guy' and I pointed right at Hunter...and I turned to Hunter and I said...I seriously resent you for not putting me over three years ago when you should have. That would have been best for business but you had to f-cking come in and squash it" (Mrosko, 2014). The problem is that while it is true that he lost to Triple H in September of that year and lost at the next couple of events, by November, he was the world champion again in a reign that lasted for 434 days. This hardly qualifies as anyone "squashing" anything. Indeed, if Brooks is under the impression that 2011 was his year, he should be ecstatic about how great of a year 2012 was for him because he was the champion for the entire year; and that was after he lost to Triple H. Where is the "squash?"

Given that examples abound of Brooks generally being a jerk to fans who have the "nerve" to simply ask for an autograph or a photo, the saddest thing is that if they were to encounter him on the street, Brooks would probably be rude to the same people who continue to defend him. At some point, we have to stop making excuses for his poor judgment. If not now, because of this altercation, in how many more does he have to be involved before people say, "enough is enough?"

Phil Brooks needs to go home and stay there.

You can contact the author, Kevin Berger, at


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