CM Punk’s AEW Future In Major Doubt Following Chaotic Backstage Brawl

CM Punk’s AEW Future In Major Doubt Following Chaotic Backstage Brawl
Emmet Bradshaw
By Emmet Bradshaw
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What a difference a year makes.

On September 5th 2021, CM Punk returned to professional wrestling in his first match since his acrimonious departure from WWE more than seven years earlier. Reborn in All Elite Wrestling, his return had given the industry a much-needed boost. Fans rejoiced. Punk seemed happy and grateful to be back in a new environment that was different from the one he left behind.

Exactly 12 months on, having just been crowned the new AEW World Champion, CM Punk was dealing with the aftermath of a backstage brawl away from the cameras, that may yet lead him to another acrimonious company departure.

One of the wilder wrestling controversies of recent times exploded during the AEW media scrum following their All Out pay-per-view event. CM Punk, while seated next to AEW owner Tony Khan, proceeded to air a number of personal grievances he had against several AEW talents including 'Hangman' Adam Page, Colt Cabana, Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks.


The rant stems from an on-screen incident earlier this year where Punk accused Adam Page of going "into business for himself" by going off-script with a promo, where he made subtle references to Punk's alleged role in Colt Cabana (Scott Colton) being demoted from the company - something which Punk denies.

Punk and Cabana were longtime friends until a controversial episode of Cabana's Art of Wrestling podcast in 2014, which led to both men being sued for defamation by WWE and one of its doctors. Punk won that lawsuit, but would later fall out with Cabana in a dispute over legal fees, with both men suing each other before ultimately settling. Cabana's role in AEW came to an end soon after Punk's arrival.


What did I ever do in this world to deserve an empty-headed fucking dumb fuck like ‘Hangman’ Adam Page to go out on national television and fucking go into business for himself? For what? What did I ever do? … Didn’t do a goddamn thing.

I’m trying to run a fucking business. And when somebody who hasn’t done a damn thing in this business jeopardizes the first million dollar house that this company has ever drawn off of my back and goes on national television and does that, it’s a disgrace to this industry, it’s a disgrace to this company.

Now, we’re far beyond apologies. I gave him a fucking chance. It did not get handled and you saw what I had to do, which is very regrettable, lowering myself to his fucking level, but that’s where we’re at right now.


Punk saved some venom for Page's friends - Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson), who are three of AEW's top stars and also serve as Executive Vice Presidents for the company.

I haven’t been friends with this guy (Cabana) since at least 2014, late 2013, and the fact that I have to sit up here because we have irresponsible people who call themselves EVPs yet they couldn’t fucking manage a Target and they spread lies and bullshit and put into the media that I got somebody fired when I have fuck all to do with him.

I want nothing to do with him. I do not care where he works or where he doesn’t work, where he eats, where he sleeps. The fact that I have to get up here and do this in 2022 is fucking embarrassing.


According to reports from the Wrestling Observer and DAZN, an altercation involving Punk, his longtime friend and AEW producer Ace Steel, the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega broke out in the locker room as Tony Khan continued with the press conference. Subsequent reports from several outlets including Fightful Select described a chaotic locker room scene that involved punches, biting, chairs being thrown and a frantic security intervention. A number of AEW wrestlers were suspended today. 

The wrestling world has been buzzing as wrestling media outlets reveal more details of what went down and fans await an official response from AEW and owner Tony Khan. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer has commented on likely suspensions arising from the incident and Fightul’s Sean Ross Sapp has reported that many within the company expect Punk to exit one way or another.

Speculation that the entire drama is an elaborate 'work' as part of a wrestling angle appear to be wide of the mark, and Khan's authority has been called into question as his locker room seemingly falls apart. This is just the latest in a string of real-life wrestling dramas in 2022 that have proven to be far more intriguing than much of the on-screen product.

Few wrestlers have blurred the lines of fiction and reality as effectively as CM Punk has over the course of his career. If this is how it ends, it would be a fitting way for him to go.

SEE ALSO: WWE's Real Life Boardroom Drama Reads Like A Script From Succession 

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