Gotham City has Batman, Metropolis has Superman and in Chicago, we have CM Punk (a.k.a. Phil Brooks). Like those other guys, the 6’3”, 225-pound Chicagoan has an affinity for knee-high boots, spandex pants and secret identities. And he’s also the reigning WWE heavyweight champion, having bested the Edge in June. Each week on WWE Monday Night Raw the straight-edge (drug- and alcohol-free) superstar thrills fans with his high-flying maneuvers, only to return to his Wicker Park condo in a cloak of anonymity. He rides the El, gets insulted at the Weiner’s Circle and waits two hours for a seat at Kuma’s Corner just like the rest of us.
Time Out Chicago: Were you a jock in high school?
CM Punk: No. I mean, I did try out for football and wrestling but they wouldn’t let me on the teams because I had blue hair.
TOC: Why would someone with blue hair want to be on the football team?
CM Punk: I guess I wanted to see if I could do it. I’ve always wanted to compete on some level.
TOC: What did you do instead?
CM Punk: I went to a lot of shows. I saw Rancid open up for the Offspring and the Bollweevils in ’94. It was when punk was getting really big again, because of Green Day and all that. But it was a good show; I still remember that one.
TOC: How did a punk rocker from Lockport get into wrestling?
CM Punk: Wrestling is pretty DIY. I’ve been doing it for 12 years, completely on my own. It’s like being in a band or running a zine—except that I get to kick people in the face.
TOC: Do you ever play your own character in WWE video games?
CM Punk: I don’t really want to come home and pretend to wrestle on TV. Instead I play Guitar Hero.
TOC: Why do you live in The Crotch?
CM Punk: I’m having second thoughts now that I know it’s called The Crotch. But I’m only here a few days a month and everything I need is within walking distance to my house. And no one bothers me here.
TOC: Why do you think no one bothers you?
CM Punk: I have tattoos and I look like everyone else when I’m not in my underwear [trunks]. Actually, I’m not allowed to wear my street clothes on TV because Vince McMahon says I don’t look like CM Punk when I’m not in my gear. And hipsters either don’t watch TV or they’re too cool to admit they watch wrestling. So no one even talks to me.
TOC: What’s your favorite place to cheat on your diet?
CM Punk: I like to switch it up; one week I’ll get pancakes at Bongo Room, the next week I go to Kuma’s Corner. But I always end up at Coldstone. I love ice cream.
TOC: Do you still ride the El?
CM Punk: Yeah, I take it to the airport all the time. Once in a while someone’s like, “Why are you on the El?” I gotta get places, too. I don’t have a jet pack.
TOC: What kind of people come out to cheer on the hometown hero?
CM Punk: All kinds. Wrestling fans, little kids, punk rockers, people who love me because I’m straight edge, people who love me because I’m from Chicago. It’s always a good show, the fans here are rad.
TOC: What’s a good move to pull on someone who puts ketchup on a hot dog?
CM Punk: Not my finisher, the Go To Sleep. It’s too quick and painless. I’d put them in a Boston Crab and cover them in mustard and relish.
See if CM Punk can hold on to the belt Mon, Aug 18 at Allstate.