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A Chicago rivalry heats up
In the latest Superstar to Superstar, CM Punk talks to the "bad boy" of Major League Baseball, A.J. Pierzynski. What does the Raw Superstar, a Chicago native and die-hard Cubs fan, have in common with the White Sox catcher and avid WWE fan? And which WWE Superstar would Pierzynski like to challenge at the next WrestleMania? Read on to find out …
CM Punk: A.J., what's up?
A. J. Pierzynski: What's up, man? How are you doing?
Punk: I'm doing well. How are you?
Pierzynski: I'm good. We miss you in Chicago, by the way.
Punk: Yeah, I know. Are you in New York right now?
Pierzynski: Yeah, we're in New York.
Punk: Very cool. When are you guys coming home?
Pierzynski: We just left. So we're out for 10 days. We'll be back in two weekends.
Punk: How many home games do you guys have left?
Punk: I'll check the schedule, and if I can make it to any of the games, I'll come.
Punk: Cool! So are you ready for some questions?
Pierzynski: That's fine. Yeah, let's make this good.
Punk: I'll try to! The first thing, I think it's a well-known fact that I am die-hard Chicago Cubs fan. You obviously play for the cross-town rivals, the Chicago White Sox. What do you think of the rivalry, not just between the teams, but between the fans? There are other WWE Superstars, like Armando Estrada, who are a die-hard Sox fans, so…
Pierzynski: Yeah, well, apparently you're on the wrong side of the fence!
Punk: Oh, the wrong side of the fence?
Pierzynski: Apparently you chose the wrong team to root for.
Punk: This is how you feel about it? OK, I've chosen the wrong team that just pitched a no-hitter? OK.
Pierzynski: And now they're throwing another one.
Punk: Yeah, I know. I know. That's how we do things on the north side.
Pierzynski: It's great. You guys can have all the no-hitters you want, we'll take our World Series and run home happy every day with it.
Punk: Which brings me to my next question: What is it like for you to have a World Series, to be called a World Champion -- what is that like?
Pierzynski: Oh, it's the best. You know how it is, with you being in the same boat, having that title, and having the opportunity to be that. It is, by far, the No. 1 goal as an athlete and as a baseball player. To win that in the city of Chicago, with the way the fans have been starved for a World Series, to do that was incredible. It's the best feeling. You know what? It still gets me a free dinner here and there, and free drinks when we go out, so it's great.
Punk: I'm sure it does! You guys actually won that on my birthday, so you impressed me greatly that year.
Pierzynski: That's what I'm saying, you're on the wrong side!
Punk: I don't want to take anything away from you guys. Much respect, you guys represent Chicago the right way, but I was born and raised a Cubs guy, so there's that natural rivalry, and I got berated to no end because it was my birthday and you guys won. So, thanks a lot.
Pierzynski: They love me in Wrigley, so …
Punk: Yeah, they do. (laughs)
Punk: Yes, they do.
Pierzynski: I get a lot of heat in Wrigley.
Punk: And they love you because you're the "bad boy" of Major League Baseball. So, what does having that moniker mean to you? Is it something you embrace, or is it a completely wrong perception of you and do you try to change it?
Pierzynski: It's good and bad. It's good because it gets your name out there and people know you. When you take the field, you get booed a lot. You get a lot of attention. I feel sorry for the guy who hits after me, because after they announce my name, the people are still booing and the person up behind me gets no reaction, so I feel kind of sorry for them.
Pierzynski: It's good for that, and it's good for my teammates. They get a kick out of seeing at which stadiums they boo me the loudest. Other than that, it's gotten me some recognition. It's made me some money in the field, so I can't complain about it too much, but at the same time, you want to be known as a good person and a good guy. The people who know me know that's what I am.
Punk: Cool, cool. I know that you're a huge wrestling fan. Who are some of your favorite WWE Superstars and/or Divas of the past and present? And don't lie and say me just because my team pitched a no-hitter.
Pierzynski: (laughs) Well, you are from Illinois, so … but if you weren't a Cubs fan, I might say you.
Pierzynski: Obviously, growing up, though, Hulk was the guy, without a doubt. Growing up in the '80s, he was the man, so without a doubt, he was by far. I actually got to meet him not that long ago, hung out with him one night. It was kind of a dream come true. I was kind of star-struck, being around him and getting to hang out with him one night. Hulk, obviously, was No. 1. Now, I've become friends with some of the guys, so Edge is a guy I'm close with and always root for him. Just being around you guys, and getting to know you guys a little bit, it's amazing how similar your lives are to ours and how much we have in common.
Punk: That's actually one of my other questions: What are some similar qualities baseball players and wrestlers share to be successful in their fields?
Pierzynski: Well, I think the travel schedule is one, without a doubt. The travel you guys have to deal with and the travel we have to deal with … I mean, we got into New York last night at 4 in the morning, and we have a game tonight. The travel schedule, the everyday grind of having to grind it out and not get days off … I've been in the ring, I know how hard it is. I know how much you guys struggle to get out there every day, and you guys do a great job. Definitely it's the physical nature of what you guys do and what we do, and the travel, and the everyday repetitiveness of it.
Punk: I feel the same way. You guys know the travel schedule better than anybody, and you guys are still out there, trying to win games, and not only that, but entertain the fans. That's always super-cool. And here you are, doing an interview, like you said, you got in at 4 a.m. and you're about to work tonight, so I appreciate your time.
Last question: I know you've challenged John Cena in the past.
Pierzynski: Yeah, and he turned me down, he was scared.
Punk: If you had to challenge somebody -- any WWE Superstar today -- who would it be and why?
Pierzynski: Oh, I'd want Undertaker in Hell in a Cell.
Punk: We just go right for the top, don't we?
Pierzynski: Yeah, of course. You don't want to mess around, right?
Punk: No, I agree with you, but reliable sources tell me that Undertaker is also a Cubs fan.
Pierzynski: That's fine. When I beat him, that'll be even better.
Pierzynski: I can do it at WrestleMania so I can end his streak.
Punk: Cocky, not confident -- I like it, I like it. All right, dude, I think that pretty much covers it. I appreciate your time, A.J.
Pierzynski: Yeah, no problem. Let me know if you want to come to a game, maybe we can get you over to the good side.
Punk: (laughs) The last game I was at got rained out. I'm bad luck, I think.
Pierzynski: When the guys came, they didn't get to come to the game, though. Dreamer and those guys came over for a little bit.
Punk: I was at Raw that day.
Pierzynski: You guys had Raw. I was disappointed. When you guys had WrestleMania in Chicago, we had opening night, which really sucked.
Punk: Yeah, that must have been really bad for you.
Pierzynski: This year, you guys were in Orlando, and that's my hometown, and of course, we had another game. You definitely need to plan better.
Punk: (laughs) We'll coordinate schedules better for the next year.
Pierzynski: There you go.
Punk: How about that? I will let you know and hopefully I'll see you soon, all right?
Pierzynski: OK, cool. Thanks a lot, man. I appreciate it.
Punk: No problem. Kick some a** tonight.
Pierzynski: Good luck. Stay healthy, OK?
Punk: I'll do it. Bye!
Pierzynski: OK. Bye!