Why am I invested in the friendship status of a pair of total strangers? I don’t know, exactly. Fandom is a weird deal, in general. And remaining close to people in your life can be difficult as you get older, so I project my own anxiety about that onto celebrities whose work I enjoy, I suppose.
Dime store psychoanalysis aside, I know I’m not alone in being interested in the state of CM Punk and Colt Cabana’s relationship. I’ve had conversations with other fans about it, and the pair keep being asked about it in interviews. There’s a market for the 411 on a bromance that’s worked its way into wrestling history via the pipe bomb promo and the Amann defamation trial.
It certainly came up while Cabana was on Sirius XM’s Busted Open Radio this past Tuesday (June 12). Bully Ray jumped right into it, making their status the first question he asked during his and Dave LaGreca’s interview with Colt:
Bully: What terms, if any, friendship-wise, cordially, are you and Punk on right now?
Cabana: You’re hitting those hard questions, Bully. Look at ya - you’re a journalist now! You put on the cans and you take off the spandex and you get right into it, don’t you?
Bully: I never wore spandex, thank God. I saw Dreamer in spandex once, it wasn’t a pretty sight.
Cabana: Yeah, we’re, we’re, we’re - what we are, you know?
Bully: Yeah, that doesn’t answer the question. If you’re gonna make fun of me for being a broadcast guy, a journalist guy - at least give me some kind of answer. Are you at least cordial now to one another?
Cabana: Yes. Of course we are.
Bully: But you’re not friends? Again. Like sometimes life incidents like this [the defamation trial] actually bring people back together or closer together. So that’s all I’m wondering.
Cabana: We’re like... me and Punk is like you and Taz, probably.
Bully: Oh, so it’s really bad, huh? [laughs]
LaGreca: So what you’re saying is you may not be going out and having dinner together but you have a mutual respect for one another?
Cabana: Yeah. We’re friends.
Overall, there’s nothing here to dispel the previous reports the pair had a falling out in the wake of their legendary November 2014 Art of Wrestling podcast and the subsequent lawsuit. The prevailing notion the trial reconnected them on a civil basis seems accurate, but hopes like mine (and it seems Bully Ray’s) that it brought them back together as anything more appear unfounded.
The question of Punk’s future came up, and it’s in Cabana’s assessment of whether his co-defendant’s might ever wrestle again that you can maybe find a glimmer of hope. Colt seems to still care enough about his friend that he’d like for him to be less bitter about the business someday:
“In 10 years, something could be different - his mindset could be different, his pocket book could be different, these are factors that I don’t know. Like, right now, I think he hates wrestling, and everything is kind of - it’s weird, because it’s done everything for him, and it’s also done everything against him. So, I think he has a bad taste for wrestling in his mouth right now, but in four, five, 10 years... who knows?”
Bully talks about it being hard to see a guy like Punk who was so passionate about wrestling have that “stripped away” by his experience with one company, and Cabana concurs. Colt feels that though Punk’s peaks were higher, in a way he’s had the better career of the two former wrestling school classmates, since he’s still in the game and living the dream they once shared:
“I kind of feel sad that he got so successful that it took his love away from wrestling. At the end, he really kind of lost and I kind of won, because I still love what I’m doing and I still love the thing that I loved as a kid - maybe in a different way, but the love is still there.”
Sounds like a messy, human relationship. Which is kind of a downer, but very relatable.