On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the libel and slander jury trial with WWE doctor Chris Amann versus CM Punk and Colt Cabana began in Cook County, Illinois. In 2014, after CM Punk (real name Phil Brooks) walked out of the WWE following the Royal Rumble, he appeared on Colt Cabana’s (real name Scott Colton) podcast, Art of Wrestling, several months later and had a lot to say. Dr. Chris Amann, a physician for the WWE, took exceptions to some of the claims from CM Punk and alleges that Colt Cabana helped Phil falsely depict him, and he filed a lawsuit against the wrestlers.
In the lawsuit, the WWE doctor alleges that his reputation suffered because of the podcast. As the Inquisitr reported, Amann is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and an undetermined amount of punitive damages.
PWInsider provided notes from the first day of trial. Reportedly, Dr. Amann was “short and curt” during his testimony while discussing the gush of comments and online criticism that he received after the podcast aired. The report revealed that the doctor looked like he was upset as tweets and internet stories were read to him.
The other highlight during the first day of the civil trial was that the jury heard the entire podcast featuring Brooks and Colton. Reportedly, Punk seemed amused at some of the banter between him and Colt, but otherwise he was very serious.
I had business at Cook County courthouse so I stopped in for a minute to watch the @cmpunk @coltcabana defamation case. Surreal to see two wrestlers sitting across from a jury listening to a podcast of them talking life and pro wrestling that led WWE’s doctor to sue the ex-champ— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) May 29, 2018
Cageside Seats transcribed the Art of Wrestling episode, and though he never mentioned the doctor by name, Brooks tells Colton that he got a lump on his back, he told the WWE doctor, and that he said it was just a “fatty deposit.” But it was the next part that led to the lawsuit.
“A couple months later I’m like ‘this fu***ng thing got bigger.’ ‘Does it hurt?’ ‘No.’ ‘Well, then, let’s just leave it.’ ‘Let me ask you something, Doc, are you just… is that like your medical opinion or are you just a lazy piece of sh*t and you don’t want to fu***ng do it? Because I’ve seen you cut like a million of these fu***ng things out of somebody.’ ‘Well, you’ve gotta wrestle tonight, and it might need like a stitch.’ I’m like ‘so fu***ng what? You’ve put 14 staples in my forehead and then I’ve had to go out that same night and wrestle again. What is preventing you from helping me?’ ‘Well, it’s… let’s just see, blah blah blah.'”
It is happening, tho: The lawsuit between WWE’s longest-reigning modern champion and a company doctor is being heard in Cook County, nearly four years after podcast dropped. Both sides present different stories. We’ll see what the system decides— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) May 29, 2018
Brooks says he was prescribed antibiotics but that it didn’t help. Phil continued to call the doctor lazy and continued to throw accusations at WWE physicians. He stated that he had complained about broken ribs and concussions and that they just gave him a Z-Pak. He then says that he eventually went to his wife’s doctor for the lump on his back, and it was diagnosed as a staph infection. Punk states that when the doctor cut it off it was the most “painful experience of my entire life.”
The WWE later released a video zoomed in on CM Punk’s back during the Royal Rumble, which presumably showed no growth, but it has since been deleted.
While the first day of the civil trial got the jury caught up on all the happenings, it was the second day of the trial when things got a bit more interesting. Nick Hausman of WrestleZone was in attendance during the second day of the trial, and he provided detailed notes. The report states that Amann took the stand and testified of the harassment he received after the podcast, including a Twitter user calling him #DrZPak and a poster from a fan at WWE Raw that read, “Can Someone Check My Staph Infection?”
According to the WrestleZone report, the doctor felt angry, embarrassed, and humiliated. It was also reported that he said he only prescribed Phil Brooks antibiotics when he had a sinus infection. Chris Amann said that Punk’s remarks on Colt’s podcast did not affect his job with the WWE but reiterated that he was “humiliated and embarrassed.”
A medical report was reviewed in court where Amann says he evaluated a shirtless Punk, and that he did not see a cyst on his back or buttocks area. Several photos from the Royal Rumble were shown of CM Punk’s back and it presumably showed no cyst or lump.
Reportedly, Punk and Cabana’s attorney then cross-examined Dr. Chris Amann where several emails were revealed. One email was between Chris and fellow WWE doctor Michael Samson. In one correspondence, according to the WrestleZone report, Samson jokes and states, “We’re talking to Punk about a medical dose pack, but we have to let AJ think about it :).” Presumably, this was a joke about Brooks’ then girlfriend (currently his wife) April Jeanette Mendez (former WWE superstar AJ Lee), who was sitting in with Punk during medical meetings.
It was also reported that in another email from Amann to Samson, the doctor replied saying that Punk is having symptoms of fatigue, but Amann said he was okay with Phil being physical. When questioned about this, Amann reportedly said that “being physical” in the WWE doesn’t always mean a “match.”
According to the report, many text exchanges were also shown between Chris and Phil, including one where Punk is stating that he has headaches and is asking the doctor why. The doctor gave a lengthy response, and Phil asked if he could get antibiotics. Seemingly, the doctor replied “yes,” and the two decided to meet around the gorilla position (the WWE’s backstage area of an arena before the entrance ramp). When questioned about this, the doctor denied he was meeting with Punk to give him antibiotics.
Allegedly, in another text exchange, Punk complained that he had an extreme cough, he couldn’t sleep, and that his ribs were killing him. Amann showed concern, said he didn’t know what the problem was, but that he wanted to help him figure it out. Then the trial broke for lunch.
In another WrestleZone report, Nick Hausman covered the afternoon session for day two of the civil trial. Reportedly, text exchanges revealed that CM Punk requested a Z-Pak because he was sick, and the doctor obliged him. Amann states that Punk never showed him a skin infection “but would have evaluated him if he had.”
As the report revealed, Phil Brooks’ WWE medical record is shown in court, and it reveals that CM Punk was never prescribed medication. Amman allegedly claimed that he did give the wrestler Z-Paks but didn’t record them. Hausman also reported that Amann said he believes that fans knew it was him that Brooks was referring to in Colt’s podcast because he was the physician seen on camera talking to him.
The WrestleZone report also stated that several texts were revealed where Amann makes Z-Pak jokes, and that he ended one text with “#ZPak.” The report also states that Amann has no reason to believe that Punk or Colt tweeted about Z-Paks, and that no one in his immediate life changed their opinion of him, just strangers on social media.
News:— Slice Wrestling (@EntSlice) September 2, 2016
CM Punk Is Claiming Vince McMahon Is Currently Bank Rolling The Defamation Lawsuit With WWE Dr. Chris Amann pic.twitter.com/icRV2LKa17
This is just a drop in a bucket from the details of the reports, and they are must-read for any WWE or CM Punk fan.