AEW CEO, President and General Manager Tony Khan broke his silence on CM Punk, as he spoke with the New York Post on Punk’s time in AEW.
When asked about CM Punk, Khan has often declined to comment about Punk, citing legal reasons. Khan said the following to the New York Post regarding Punk’s time in AEW.
“The First Dance was an incredible moment in wrestling and was part of a very important time in AEW,” Khan said in a Zoom interview. “All Out 2021, along with All In, are our biggest pay-per-views of all time and we’ve had a lot of great success as a company as a team and in some of the most exciting times, CM Punk has been a big part of that team.”
Punk made his debut with AEW back on on the second episode of Rampage, that aired on TNT back on August 21, 2021. The live episode took place from a sold out United Center in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. That episode saw just over 1 million viewers, a number the show has never seen since, as it now averages just above 300,000 viewers on weekly basis.
After Punk tore his triceps at the 2022 All Out pay-per-view in a match where he defeated “Hangman” Page for the AEW World Championship, it was during the post-All Out media scrum, he called out Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, saying he “works with children.”
Punk’s comments were met with a backstage altercation from the Bucks, Omega and others that resulted in suspensions. The Bucks returned in November of 2022, while Punk returned at the debut episode of Collision on TNT in June 2023 after he recovered from his injury.
Just when things appeared to be maybe somewhat better between Punk, AEW and some of the other talent on the roster, Punk got into yet another backstage altercation. This time it was at with Jack Perry at the August All In PPV at Wembley Stadium in London. During his All In Zero Hour match with Hook, Perry looked directly at the camera and “cry me a river”, as he took a bump on the windshield of a limo.
Perry’s comments were said to be in reference to Punk nixing Perry’s desire to use real glass during a backstage segment that was to be filmed for an episode of Collision. It was further said the use of real glass had been pre-approved by AEW management.
AEW announced on September 2 Punk had been fired with cause after the incident, which was the same day that Collision was set to air live on TNT from the United Center in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. AEW CEO Tony Khan spoke to the fans in person that night at the United Center before the show went live on the air. AEW aired a video on the show for the TV audience with Khan saying he feared for his life and no one should come to work feeling that way.
Last Saturday at WWE’s Survivor Series premium live event that took place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL, just outside of Chicago, after being gone from WWE for nearly 10 years, Punk made his surprise return at the close of the show. He appeared on Raw two days later, cutting a promo at the end of the show.