For several years, guys like CM Punk weren’t what WWE was looking for, but now, it seems like their opinion has changed, and that they’re more open to having top independent wrestling stars be a focal point in their television shows. Guys like Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Dean Amrbose, Seth Rollins, and Cesaro likely wouldn’t have ever gotten a chance in WWE a couple of years ago, but all of them are now thriving in WWE.
The advent of NXT has helped some of the independent scene’s brightest stars make a name for themselves in WWE, and a lot of those indie stars have come from Ring of Honor. Actually, with the exception of Dean Ambrose, all of the aforementioned names have come from ROH.
Former WWE Champion turned UFC star CM Punk also came from Ring of Honor, and in an interview that was conducted during this past weekend’s UFC International Fight Week festivities, CM Punk talked about the influx of ROH talent in WWE today, and said that the guys in ROH probably wouldn’t be getting a chance in WWE if himself and Samoa Joe hadn’t built up the promotion, and had success in other major promotions.
“I think that those years [in Ring of Honor] were pretty pivotal. [Samoa] Joe went to TNA, I went to WWE, and we both took gambles. We had built up ROH to be a place where guys could go, and not just work but learn, and get better. A lot of guys had been around the horn working for all these indy’s, and it eventually gets a bit tedious when you see the same guys… like nobody is getting any better. We had this core group of people, and we turned Ring of Honor into something that we’re all super proud of.”
“I think it’s funny now when you look at the pro wrestling landscape, with all the guys that they’re hiring, all the guys that they’re putting on television… I can honestly say that I don’t know if that happens if a guy like me or a guy like Samoa Joe don’t take a chance. Everyone is talented in their own right, but everything that I was made fun of, and vilified for by management, is now what they’re looking for in guys, and I wear that as a badge of honor.”
Punk also talked about how he went to WWE management in the mid 2000’s and told them to recruit guys from Ring of Honor, but WWE didn’t want to hear it and ignored his advice. Now, Punk is happy that they’re doing just that, and said “I f***ing told you so” when discussing WWE’s change of heart.
“It’s a big I f***ing told you so. You should have listened to me in 2005. I hope they [get behind] Samoa Joe, because he definitely deserves it, more than anybody. I sit back and I laugh. Good for all of these guys, I hope they make millions of dollars. But, I think it’s funny that the machine that never wanted me now wants guys just like me.”
[Image via Jason Merritt / Getty Images]