CM Punk Receives CAC’s Highest Honor and Talks Why He Laughs at Internet Criticism, Ace Steel on Why Punk Hasn’t Changed, Full Video, More
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CM Punk Receives CAC’s Highest Honor and Talks Why He Laughs at Internet Criticism, Ace Steel on Why Punk Hasn’t Changed, Full Video, More

AEW “Real” World Champion CM Punk received the highest honor from The Cauliflower Alley Club on Wednesday night at the 57th Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion Awards Banquet, held this week at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Video can be seen below.

Punk was chosen to be the 2023 recipient of the coveted Iron Mike Mazurki Award, which is presented to “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to professional wrestling and have exhibited outstanding dedication to the sport both inside and outside the ring.”

Punk was introduced by longtime friend and colleague Ace Steel, who told the crowd, “He has never changed. No matter what anybody says about him, he hasn’t because he doesn’t put up with shit.”

In front of a crowd of around 400 people, Punk then delivered a “joyous 45-minute speech” that was unscripted, according to Slam Wrestling’s Steven Johnson. Punk praised the pro wrestlers who have helped him achieve the highest marks in his career as an undersized World Champion credited with revolutionizing the sport.

During the speech, Punk commented on his reaction when he’s told he’s not liked by individuals or the internet, and how WWE Hall of Famers Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes and Harley Race liked him before anyone else did.

“When people tell me that they don’t like me or that the internet is mad at me, I just chuckle because Roddy Piper liked me. Dusty Rhodes liked me and Harley Race liked me,” Punk said. “And that means more than anything else in the world because these legends put their stamp on me before anyone else did. It gave me the confidence and it gave me the ability to succeed.”

Punk also talked about how he knew he did not fit the mold of a conventional wrestler as he was a tattooed street kid wrestling in basketball shorts and Dr. Martens boots. However, Punk said he felt like he had to stay true to himself with the belief that someone would eventually notice. This is notable as Punk initially envisioned a long wrestling career in Japan.

Punk would go on to credit his career to people like Steel, and WWE Hall of Famer JBL, who received the same award in 2022, along with Raven, Mickie James, Raven, WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero, Tracy Smothers, and his wife AJ Mendez (fka AJ Lee), among many others.

You can see video of Punk’s acceptance speech below.

Punk also appeared at The Baloney Blowout held on Tuesday night as a part of the reunion. This is where other 2023 award winners were honored, including WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons, who received the Lou Thesz/Art Abrams Award and was introduced by JBL.

Punk reportedly stopped to pose for dozens of photos while at the reunion this week. Slam’s Greg Oliver noted on X/Twitter that Punk “definitely did not make it all about himself and was very respectful to the legends in the room” this week. It was also said that Punk agreed to appear at the CAC event earlier this year, and at that time he made it clear to AEW and CAC that he would be attending.

Cauliflower Alley Club Executive Vice President Morgan Dollar later reminded the crowd that the central mission of the Club is to help pro wrestlers in need. CAC’s benevolent fund provided nearly $61,000 in assistance in the last year, in line with its charge as the Ring of Friendship. You can find full details on The Cauliflower Alley Club by visiting their website.

Below is video of Punk’s speech, along with the list of 2023 Cauliflower Alley Club honorees:

* Iron Mike Mazurki Award: CM Punk

* Lou Thesz/Art Abrams Award: Ron Simmons

* Men’s Wrestling Award: Koko B. Ware

* Men’s Wrestling Award: Joe Malenko

* Women’s Wrestling Award: Mickie James

* Tag Team Award: Brian Knobbs, Jerry Sags – The Nasty Boys

* Lucha Libre Award: Damian 666

* Independent Wrestling Award: Riea Von Slasher

* Posthumous Award: Killer Karl Kox

* Charlie Smith Referee Award: Kevin Jefferies

* REEL Award: Al Burke

* James C. Melby Historian Award: Koji Miyamoto

Stay tuned to for more.

Follow Marc on Twitter at @this_is_marc. Send any news, tips or corrections to us by clicking here.

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