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Old 10-09-2007, 12:47 PM   #35
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More on the Punk-Atlas incident:

Quote:
BACKSTAGE INCIDENT BETWEEN ECW CHAMPION CM PUNK AND WWE HALL OF FAMER LEADS TO HEAT ON WWE DEVELOPMENTAL
by Mike Johnson @ 11:34:03 AM on 10/8/2007

An incident between ECW champion CM Punk and WWE Hall of Famer Tony Atlas at last Wednesday's Ohio Valley Wrestling TV taping resulted in some heat being put on OVW management, according to several sources.

WWE had sent Atlas down to both OVW and Florida Championship Wrestling last week to mentor the developmental talents and give them advice on avoiding some of the pitfalls that hurt his own career. Atlas, according to several wrestlers I spoke to, instead spent most of his time telling performers what a huge star he should have been and correcting them on things they were doing wrong.

One of the things Atlas commented on was how CM Punk wore his wrist tape, teasing Punk that it "looking like he had broken arms" according to one witness. Punk, who sports a very dry, straight forward personality, listened to the comments and then went about his business. Punk was working the taping as WWE had television tapings in the area last week, so he stayed on to work a dark match for OVW.

During the traditional post-taping meeting, where Al Snow and other WWE veterans critique what the developmental talents do right and wrong during the show, Atlas began talking about the attitude of the OVW roster and whenever he would say something derogatory or negative, he made it a point to stare at Punk. I was told that at first Punk ignored it, but by the fourth or fifth occurrence, he finally asked Atlas why he kept looking at him.

Atlas then started to tear into Punk for having a "bad attitude. He told Punk that with his bad attitude, he would never make it to television. As you could guess, that remark plunged Atlas' credibility with the developmental crew into the toilet since it was the first time he was there and basically admitted (without realizing it) that he was giving advice while not even knowing anything about the current product. Punk responding by asking Atlas if he knew even Punk's name or had ever watched the ECW TV show and Atlas told him no. The argument went back and forth for close to 20 minutes before simmering down.

When word got back about the incident to WWE's John Laurinaitis, he was said to have been furious that not only the incident happened, but that OVW management stood by and allowed it to unfold before them, instead of defusing it. I was told that OVW owner Danny Davis wasn't even present as he was working on editing the OVW TV show that the company had just finished filming, but Al Snow and Robert Gibson were present for the entire situation. A few people wondered if Gibson may have somewhat incited Atlas as he was parroting things that Gibson had been saying to talent in recent weeks.

After the meeting, OVW star Atlas DaBone took it upon himself to go up to Atlas and apologize on behalf of Punk. While it's possible he was just trying to defuse the situation, the other developmental talents reacted negatively to that move, feeling that no one should have been speaking for Punk, particularly someone with less than a year in the business.

Among the wrestlers, Punk was seen as something of a hero because morale in OVW has been "terrible" (to quote one prominent OVW performer) in recent weeks. As I discussed last week on my Elite Audio Hotline, many of the OVW performers there have started to feel that the main goal of late isn't to help them improve but to mentally beat them down for everything they do "wrong", even when it's someone who's been in the business for some time prior to signing with WWE.
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