During a recent podcast, Bruce Prichard discussed CM Punk's WWE career thoroughly, in discussing Punk’s early days in OVW he told a story about how CM Punk and WWE Legend Tony Atlas got into a backstage altercation at an Ohio Valley Wrestling event in Louisville.
“I don’t think that Punk was [John] Laurinaitis’ favorite guy” Bruce Prichard said. “I remember the incident — there was an incident in OVW where they had sent Tony Atlas down to OVW and Punk and Atlas got into it backstage.”
“I went down I think the week after, two weeks after and I had heard you know, ‘oh yeah Punk was disrespectful to Tony Atlas’ so on and so forth. Now I love Tony Atlas but Tony can be difficult sometimes. And if you don’t know Tony and don’t love Tony then he can be a little off-putting.”
“But Punk had come back from his match — remember how Punk always wore tape like damn-near up half of his forearm — and Tony wanted to know why he did that. ‘You have an injury?’ and Punk was like, ‘no I just like the way it looks.’ — ‘What’s that X mean?’… He says ‘well the X is the mark that they put on your hands when you would go into a nightclub and you were eighteen-years-old and not old enough to drink. They’d put an X on you so you couldn’t get anything to drink and that’s like a Straight Edge symbol and it’s a sign and all this stuff. And I put that on there to show I’m a Straight Edge.'”
“And Tony just kept on him, and kept on him, and Tony didn’t understand what Straight Edge was and it bothered Tony that Punk taped his wrists half-way up his forearm. And Punk was like, ‘I like it Tony! Okay?! It’s just what I do! It’s different!’ And they just kinda got into a shouting match back and forth because neither guy would back down.”
“Now for me, man I can see that all day long having dealt with Tony Atlas for thirty-five plus years. To someone else it was like: ‘oh my god he was disrespectful to Tony Atlas.’ I think that early on Punk just got a bad wrap — if he stubbed his toe and reacted — ‘oh he’s a p-ssy.’ You know what I mean?”