The ticking time bomb that’s CM Punk’s tenure in AEW appears to be shut to a different detonation, and this time AEW government Tony Khan must ask himself if he’s keen to let his favourite star destroy his personal firm.
The most recent reviews from backstage, which embrace Adam Web page being prevented from coming into the Greensboro Coliseum on August 12 earlier than AEW Collision, and Punk supposedly additionally stopping Head of Expertise Relations Christopher Daniels, in addition to undercard wrestler Ryan Nemeth, from working at Collision tapings.
The scenario isn’t a surprise for anybody that has adopted Punk’s profession, notably his time in AEW, which is a profession plagued by paranoia, self-sabotage, and a outstanding dedication to creating enemies. Early goodwill that was earned by means of his large return to skilled wrestling two years in the past has been erased by his personal overwhelming suspicion that everybody is out to get him.
That suspicion led to a meltdown following ALL OUT final yr, the place he accused the Younger Bucks and Web page of spreading rumors about Punk trying to get Colt Cabana fired from AEW throughout a press convention. These feedback led to a real-life battle instantly after Punk completed the press convention, which ended up with a number of wrestlers and backstage expertise getting suspended, or within the case of producer Ace Metal, fired.
Punk, who missed months following ALL OUT recovering from damage, lurked within the shadows ready to make his return to the corporate. Whereas it appeared like reconciliation between Punk and his numerous enemies within the firm can be crucial to ensure that Punk to return, Khan evidently noticed in any other case. As an alternative, Punk and wrestlers who have been keen to work round him can be held nearly unique to a brand new, Saturday night time present, and wrestlers who didn’t need to be round Punk wouldn’t be requested to work Saturdays.
Predictably, the scenario was untenable with none of the battle being resolved. Supposedly, Punk used his first alternative being at a Dynamite to confront Nemeth backstage, getting in his face and questioning him a couple of tweet Nemeth despatched, seemingly making enjoyable of Punk in response to Punk’s promo on Collision.
When one of many wrestlers siloed on Dynamite, Adam Web page, was requested to be at Collision to chop a promo, Web page discovered himself basically barred from the constructing, both on the behest of Punk or, at least, with Punk’s delicate psychological standing in thoughts.
The irony of Punk confronting Nemeth over a Tweet, with Punk allegedly telling Nemeth that it was a foul look to drive division between The Elite and Punk, which solely got here after Punk minimize a brazen promo that was clearly geared toward doing simply that, won’t be misplaced on followers, and is an instance of Punk’s prodigious lack of self-awareness.
His alleged barring of Web page from the constructing reveals how a lot authority he has been granted in AEW. Web page doubtless drove from his Virginia dwelling to the occasion in Greensboro in anticipation of reducing his promo. Whereas Nemeth is a preliminary wrestler, Web page is a serious star in AEW–but Punk didn’t even need to confront Web page. As an alternative, Web page was stored out of the constructing, and advised he needed to minimize his promo at an off-site location.
For Web page, who not too long ago signed a certainly multi-million greenback contract extension with AEW, to be banned from the constructing highlights the facility that Punk has cultivated backstage, and likewise the priorities of Khan. Khan is bending over backwards for his 44-year-old star, who’s a confirmed drawing card on the highest stage, on the expense of his 32-year-old star, who has been meticulously pushed for the reason that begin of the corporate.
Web page has taken quite a few snipes from Punk, together with bearing the brunt of Punk’s insults throughout his notorious ALL OUT press convention tirade, which have been a consequence of him catching Punk off guard with an sudden “staff proper” remark, which alluded to Punk getting Cabana fired and sure fueled Punk’s inclination that Web page and his buddies have been out to destroy Punk. Since that promo, Web page has mentioned nothing, each on the file or to members of the media, about Punk or the incident–but Punk nonetheless appears to view him as enemy primary.
Lastly, the dismissal from Collision of Christoper Daniels, the Head of Expertise Relations, reveals that in AEW, job titles appear to imply nothing. Lofty positions can seemingly simply be overruled by Punk, who doesn’t appear to have an official title in AEW exterior of being Tony Khan’s favourite wrestler and the largest star. To this point, since his return to the corporate, Punk has proven that he can boss and bully anybody within the firm, together with Khan, who seems powerless to reign him in.
Stories are that Punk is extraordinarily hands-on with Collision, and that Punk is watchful of any one who sees as dissenters, with them being persona non-grata in his locker room. That is evidenced by him supposedly barring Web page and Daniels from the present, and making an instance out of Nemeth who dared to say one thing public that was damaging in the direction of Punk. In keeping with Professional Wrestling Torch, wrestlers are afraid to criticize Punk, given his tight alliance with Khan.
Unsurprisingly, the Torch additionally reported that opinions for Punk’s management contained in the Collision locker room are excessive. For many who can penetrate the bunker, the environment is taken into account robust. By barring any perceived enemies and displaying a willingness to bully anybody who he views as partial in the direction of the Elite, Punk has created a protecting bubble for himself to function in. Nonetheless, something, reminiscent of the prospect that Web page will likely be within the constructing to chop a promo, appears to threaten penetrating that bubble.
The entire backstage reporting is unlikely to succeed in the minds of the standard AEW fan. The hardcore, very-online part of the fanbase is ready with baited breath on the most recent reviews, however a majority of the fanbase might be ambivalent in the direction of the information.
The difficulty with the fixed strife is that it appears to be spilling into the inventive elements of the corporate, with reviews that each Dynamite and Collision are being booked extra last-minute than previously. It appears uncoincidental that the construct for ALL IN, the primary PPV to essentially be constructed through the Collision-era, has had a scattered construct, with stagnant and inconsistent feud growth. Is it as a result of Punk is ruling Collision as his personal private fiefdom, inflicting some reserving points and confusion, or is it as a result of Khan himself is stretched too skinny? The proof is inconclusive.
A major concern within the construct to ALL IN has been the storylines involving Punk himself. Punk returned to AEW and wrestled Samoa Joe in his return match, beating him cleanly. Then he feuded briefly with Jay White and Ricky Starks, and now, for some purpose, is wrestling Joe at ALL IN, asking the query why Punk beat Joe earlier this yr? In the meantime, White and Starks don’t have any main feud main as much as ALL IN, which is now simply weeks in the past. On the similar time, Punk can also be “feuding” with MJF, who he has known as out a number of instances over the AEW World Championship, and apparently with Web page, who he buried in an off-screen promo after Collision on Saturday night time.
The typical fan could not register the most recent Punk-related drama, however they may discover once they see inconsistent storylines, and their favourite wrestlers not being prominently featured on the present. This certainly can’t be attributed to Punk, nevertheless it does ask if the drama and must preserve everybody separate, clearly a response to Punk’s perspective points, has led to inventive stagnation, and thus an inferior product?
Tony Khan has typically spoken about how he has discovered from the errors of different former promoters. But together with his willingness to permit Punk to name the photographs, he has dedicated himself to repeating one of the apparent errors in wrestling historical past, and drawing warranted comparisons to Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan in WCW.
Together with his meltdown final yr, Punk has already soured many followers who in any other case can be supportive of his involvement in AEW. The responses in arenas have turned him right into a tweener at finest, and Punk himself appears extraordinarily dedicated to driving as a lot divisiveness from the fanbase as attainable.
The energy of AEW is basically based mostly on the constructive environment that flows from the expertise into the buildings. The crowds are vigorous and engaged, wrestlers are over with the viewers, and there’s a fixed aspect of individuals having a great time. Information about backstage points undermines that environment, and if it impacts expertise’s capacity to be in constant tales and to look dwell on a present, it can harm the dwell crowd, which in flip will certainly harm the viewing viewers.
Khan desperately must reassert management over what has turn out to be a runaway prepare of continuous Punk drama, or he dangers essentially altering not solely the AEW locker room, however the fan base as nicely into a gaggle of paranoid and divided clients.
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