Source: Alex Marvez of Scripps-Howard News and MJK Public Relations
One of the hottest names in WWE doesn’t even work there anymore.
After his name was dropped by CM Punk in a controversial “Monday Night Raw” interview, Colt Cabana became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. He also was bombarded with text messages and emails from friends asking for reaction to what was the start of a red-hot WWE storyline.
“When Punk said (my name), I was like, ‘Hey,’ but I didn’t truly realize what had just happened,” a laughing Cabana said Monday during a telephone interview. “It was then that I realized this is probably a lot bigger than I first thought.”
Ironically, Cabana is now a bigger deal than at any point during his forgettable seven-month stint as Scotty Goldman on WWE’s “Smackdown” roster in 2008 and 2009. And he has one of his best friends to thank for the rub.
Despite raising taboo topics by acknowledging other wrestling companies and performers no longer with the company, Punk’s tirade against WWE management on the June 27 episode of “Raw” was part of the act. But his message also struck a chord with pro-wrestling fans unhappy with the direction that chief operating officer Vince McMahon has taken the product.
WWE has adroitly weaved this reality-based shtick into a storyline. Punk is threatening to leave WWE with the company’s world-title belt in tow by defeating John Cena on Sunday’s “Money in the Bank” pay-per-view show emanating from Rosemont, Ill.
Cabana, who is one of Punk’s neighbors in nearby Chicago, said he plans to attend the show, but not as a performer — although his potential involvement in the Punk-Cena match can’t be ruled out.
“I am more interested as a fan to see what happens,” Cabana said. “There is so much buzz around this. Punk has caused a stir that hasn’t happened in wrestling in a long time. I’m excited to see what goes down and, most importantly, watching my best friend in his last WWE match.”
Punk’s potential WWE departure adds another real-life element to the soap opera. Even the most connected wrestling insiders aren’t completely certain whether Punk (real name Phil Brooks) will leave the company or sign a new contract. If Cabana knows for sure, he isn’t saying.
Punk, though, has reportedly lobbied for Cabana to join him in WWE. Cabana admits he isn’t opposed despite remaining busy on the independent circuit working for companies like Ring of Honor and Juggalo Championship Wrestling. Cabana also is involved in a slew of multimedia wrestling projects (details at www.welovecolt.com) and even performs standup comedy routines based upon his grappling experiences.
“I love where my career and life is at,” said the 31-year-old Cabana, whose real name is Scott Colton. “Don’t get me wrong: I’d love to be with WWE and working again with CM Punk. That would be amazing. But I’ve also seen so many guys get fired from WWE and then sit around waiting to get a call to come back that usually doesn’t come. Their value drops until they have no following.
“I can’t sit and wait. All the different projects I have make me creatively and monetarily happy.”
Cabana’s versatility is further reflected by his myriad of pro-wrestling personas. He sometimes works as the happy-go-lucky Colt “Boom Boom” Cabana. He has performed under a mask using throwback maneuvers as Matt Classic (a spoof on grumpy old-time performers). Cabana also showcases his chops as a heel by morphing into bullying policeman “Officer” Colt Cabana for JCW, which runs biweekly Internet pay-per-view shows at juggalowrestling.com.
“I can vent to the Juggalos, who are basic wrestling fans but hard-core passionate people,” Cabana said. “If I throw my pitch at them, they’ll throw two pitches back at me. It’s a wonderful experience to let loose and become a heel character.”
The dream of pro-wrestling stardom and willingness to work for such success is the genesis of the friendship between Cabana and Punk. The two first met a decade ago at the Steel Dominion training school in Chicago.
“We bonded right away,” Cabana said. “When I trained, all I wanted to do was wrestle. And I didn’t want to just wrestle in Illinois, but all over the world. He was the same way.
“On the outside, we came across as nothing alike. I was a Jewish kid who looked like a clean-cut jock. He dyed his hair and was a punk-rock, tattoo guy. But on the inside, we’re alike in almost everything from our passion about wrestling to our belief systems. We always look out for each other.”
In a strange twist to wrestling psychology, WWE is banking on disgruntled fans being so enamored of Punk’s Charlie Sheen-esque character that they purchase “Money in the Bank” and further pad McMahon’s bank account. That fact isn’t lost on Cabana, although he remains hopeful that Punk’s tirades could benefit both his friend and spark WWE to reassess its modus operandi.
“If the buy rate for this show is high, it basically says CM Punk was responsible singlehandedly for making this kind of money,” Cabana said. “And it will be because of the stuff he said, that people want to see something different and have gotten on the bandwagon. If WWE realizes that maybe it is time for a change, the potential for that is there.
“Yes, inevitably this will all put a lot of money in McMahon’s pocket. But it also puts a lot of power into the hands of CM Punk.”
Christian vs. Randy Orton and Mark Henry vs. Big Show are among the other matches featured at “Money in the Bank.” For more information, visit www.wwe.com.
Cabana will be appearing at the “Gathering of the Juggalos” festival being staged by JCW owners Insane Clown Posse Aug. 11-14 in Cave-in-Rock, Ill. Besides hundreds of musical acts and Sheen serving as master of ceremonies, JCW also is holding a massive pro-wrestling reunion featuring more than 40 performers and a main-event bout pitting Roddy Piper vs. Terry Funk. For more information, visit www.juggalogathering.com.