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The unforgettable day CM Punk embraced me in the WWE locker room (Exclusive)

Darren Young puts CM Punk in a headlock
Darren Young puts CM Punk in a headlock
Modified 14 Nov 2019

Wow! Time sure does fly by. I can’t believe it’s been almost six years since CM Punk has been on WWE television and I think appearing on WWE Backstage could just be a brilliant introduction before we eventually see the Best In The World back in a WWE ring - because someone is eventually going to call the former WWE Champion out. 

**cough cough**  Shane McMahon.  

Anyway, as a fan and as a WWE veteran myself, I’m super excited to see that it all worked out for the two-time WWE Champion CM Punk and for Fox.

Healing is a matter of time, but it’s sometimes also a matter of opportunity - and what better way to make an impact than stunning the wrestling world by returning to WWE programming on November 12 after leaving the company in 2014?

Punk is older. Punk is wiser. Punk is also healed mentally, I’m sure, following some time away from WWE's brutal travel schedule. A schedule that I, myself, have and will always love. I love the grind of living out of your suitcase 280+ days or so a year!

My first encounter with CM Punk

My very first encounter with CM Punk goes way back to when he was my mentor on the original season of NXT, and there was a time he tried to get me to join The Straight Edge Society, too, which - for anyone who may not know - was a villainous alliance in WWE that first appeared on the SmackDown brand. The "Straight Edge" lifestyle was all about no smoking, no drinking, no drugs. Punk, then, was always a little rough around the edges and I felt he didn’t like me. We barely said anything to one another when we were working together.

I was somewhat new on the roster and, at the time, very nervous of my own shadow. I forget who Punk asked - maybe Tyson Kidd - but I know he asked a few wrestlers how I was as a talent, which is understandable because I’d want to know the details as to who I'd be mentoring as well if I were Punk!

Fast forward to when I came out publicly to the world as the first openly gay WWE Superstar in the summer of 2013, CM - back after his brutal match with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam - made it a point to literally embrace me in front of everybody watching the live feed in catering. Punk had just literally finished his match at SummerSlam match with Brock Lesnar, iced up from head to toe, when he made it a point to come up to me in the catering area and told me to stand up and give him a hug.


He said, “I'm very proud of you for coming out and being so courageous. If you have any problem with anyone in the locker room you let me know and I'll take care of it.” I was shocked! Here he'd just finished his match with Brock Lesnar and yet was being thoughtful enough to come up to me and show me love like that was something that completely caught me off guard in a huge way. 

With Punk embracing me in a manner like that, it made it that much easier for me to walk into a WWE locker room and just be myself. It’s a moment I’ll never forget and I’ll always share with the world.

Punk said it best on FS1’s WWE Backstage when he said, “It’s as simple as this: Just when they think they got the answers, I change the culture.” As an LGBTQ activist, that’s exactly what I strive for every day when I wake up and my feet touch the ground. I want to change the culture with my #BLOCKTHEHATE movement because, by being the first openly gay WWE Superstar, I’ve been able to inspire athletes and wrestling fans all over the world to go after their dreams and not listen to the opinions of others who try to derail anyone on their journey to greatness. 

Together, let’s change the culture of our business because that’s ultimately what’s best for business. 


What did you think about tonight's episode of NXT? Rate your favorite matches and leave comments right here!

Published 14 Nov 2019, 20:55 IST
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