Just days after performing at the largest event in AEW history at Wembley Stadium and subsequent reports emerging that he had been suspended from the promotion after an alleged backstage altercation with Jack Perry, CM Punk attended the Cauliflower Alley Club’s Annual Awards Banquet last night. The AEW star was awarded the Iron Mike Mazurki Award at the event, the highest honor given by the organization.
Punk was introduced by his long-time friend Ace Steel before delivering a 40+ minute speech to an audience of around 400. During his speech, which was described as “joyous” by one attendee, the former WWE & AEW World Champion thanked those who had helped him excel as someone who did not fit the mold of the stereotypical professional wrestler as well as a generally undersized world champion.
In a particularly notable part of his speech, Punk directly addressed the people who don’t think highly of him, both in person and on the internet. He responded to those individuals and revealed what exactly has kept him going in his professional career in the face of all of his critics.
“I know throughout my career, I probably rubbed some people the wrong way,” Punk began. Some people like me, some don’t. What I’ve always had was the backing of legends. Teal, your father, who’s my hero, Roddy Piper. Roddy Piper is the reason I’m a wrestler today, and I remember the last time I saw him, he told me he was proud of me.
So he when people that they don’t like me, or the internet’s mad at me. I just kind of chuckle because Roddy Piper liked me. Dusty Rhodes liked me, and the backing of Harley Race before I even went to the WWE. To me, that means more than all the money in the world, but because these legends put their stamp on me before anybody knew who I was. It gave me the confidence, and it gave me the ability to succeed in a place where I didn’t think I’d ever fit in.”
During his speech, Punk credited the success of his career to the likes of JBL (who was awarded the Iron Mike Mazurki Award last year), Eddie Guerrero, Tracy Smothers, Raven, Mickie James (who was awarded CAC’s Women’s Wrestling Award this year), Ace Steel, and his wife AJ Mendez amongst many others. You can watch the entire acceptance speech through the video below.