On November 12, 2019 CM Punk made a surprise appearance on Fox Sports in the WWE Backstage program, announcing that he had become a columnist and analyst. Brooks has used the CM Punk moniker for his entire career, with his character consistently being portrayed as outspoken, confrontational, sharp-tongued, anti-establishment, straight edge, and iconoclastic.
Most of the straight edge principles he portrayed are also his real life views. Depending on his alignment as a hero or villain, he emphasized different aspects of the straight edge culture to garner the desired audience reaction.
After becoming disillusioned with WWE, Punk retired from professional wrestling in early 2014. He pursued a career in mixed martial arts and was signed by the UFC in December 2014. His first professional fight took place in September 2016 at UFC 203 against Mickey Gall, where he was defeated via submission in the first round.
He lost his second bout to Mike Jackson via unanimous decision in June 2018 at UFC 225. During an interview with The No Sports Report, Punk discussed wrestling without a live crowd: “Pro-wrestling, I find it completely impossible to watch with no crowd, impossible.
The audience is the 100%, and this is more evident than ever now, driving force behind what wrestlers do in the ring. When I wrestled, that was my boss. The thing that separates the greatest wrestlers from the OK guys, when they’re in the ring, they’re the boss, they’re in charge, but the truth of that is the audience is in charge.
The audience boos and cheers who they want, they tell you if they like the moves, if they’re emotionally invested in the match, that tells you where to take it. There’s a fork in the road, audience wants you to go a certain way, you can manipulate them, but they can also manipulate the match. Without all of that, fuck, I don’t know what we’re doing”.