As fans expected, WWE was reportedly unhappy with The Rock’s decision to call CM Punk live during a post-Raw segment at the Staples Center last night.
That backstage news comes from Pro Wrestling Insider via 411 Mania, which reports that World Wrestling Entertainment was upset with The Rock’s actions on February 20th and that they obviously had nothing to do with that whole bit. They were so upset, in fact, that they reportedly sent someone out to ringside to tell The Rock to move on from talking about CM Punk.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the relationship between WWE and CM Punk is, to put it lightly, not great. Punk left the company in 2014 on bad terms, being fired on his wedding day. Punk later said that he left mainly for medical reasons, alleging that the company had pressured him to return to the ring sooner than he was prepared to. He also alleged that one of the WWE’s doctors failed to properly diagnose a lump on his back; that doctor later sued Punk for defamation.
In the years since Punk’s departure, WWE crowds have frequently chanted “CM Punk!” during shows, usually during completely unrelated segments as a way of rebelling against the McMahons, who would prefer Punk’s name never be mentioned again. There have only been a handful of occasions when WWE personalities have actually acknowledged the CM Punk chants in any way.
The Rock did so last night during a dark segment at the Monday Night Raw taping in Los Angeles, California. Dwayne Johnson was in the area not to be on Raw, but to film a scene for the upcoming movie Fighting With My Family, which is about the life of WWE wrestler Paige and which Johnson is producing. There’s a scene in the movie where Paige fights AJ Lee, and that scene was filmed after Raw last night.
Although Dwayne Johnson isn’t actually in the movie, he spent about 15 minutes chatting with the crowd at the Staples Center on Monday, explaining to them what the film crew was doing there and what the movie was about. When Johnson mentioned that they were filming a scene involving AJ Lee, the crowd began to chant “CM Punk,” as AJ Lee and CM Punk are married in real life.
But rather than ignoring the CM Punk chants as WWE personalities usually do, The Rock decided to give the crowd what they wanted: he pulled out his cellphone and actually called CM Punk. When Punk did not answer, The Rock left a voicemail, and he didn’t give up there: he proceeded to attempt a FaceTime chat with Punk. That didn’t work either, at which point Johnson moved on.
CM Punk later said on Twitter that he was waking his dog when The Rock called, but he thanked the crowd at the Staples Center for their enthusiasm.
This whole segment caused many fans to hope that this could be the start of the WWE extending an olive branch to Punk, leaving the door open for a possible return. The backstage reaction to Johnson’s bit suggests this is unlikely to happen anytime soon, although Vince McMahon did say in 2014 that he would be open to working with CM Punk again.
“I think there’s a lot of things he may say that he may regret one day, in terms of looking back at it, but nonetheless, I hope that one day, we’ll be able to get back together again,” McMahon said.