There’s been a metric s*** ton of chatter on the interwebs about Tony Khan firing CM Punk from AEW on the advice of legal counsel and a disciplinary committee we just learned the company has.
This special edition of our Rumor Roundup feature is a way to put those various tidbits in one place and give you a chance to discuss them. Feel free to share anything you’ve heard or read in the comments (usual rumor caveats* apply)!
- Khan’s statement on Punk’s firing mention “contracts”, and Fightful Select says he had employee and performance (wrestling) deals and both were terminated. The site didn’t know if there are severance packages or non-compete agreements tied to either.
- While he also was unsure if there’s a waiting period before Punk could sign with another wrestling company, Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio that this wasn’t the contract buyout Punk was hoping for and being fired for cause may have cost Punk “millions of dollars”.
- On the investigation that led to the decision, Meltzer indicated it covered more than just Punk’s altercation with Jack Perry last Sunday at All In. Wrestlers who weren’t eye witnesses were interviewed to get background on the backstage environment, and how things had or hadn’t changed over the past year.
- That includes other incidents that haven’t become public. Meltzer says there’s “so much more to it that hasn’t come out”.
- Meltzer says his account of the Punk/Perry incident in last week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter was “far too kind” to Punk, specifically the neutral witness’ version of the pre-All In skirmish which claimed Punk “lunged” at Tony Khan: “I was toning it down. It was more than lunging.”
- Neither of the Observer guys knows who is on AEW’s disciplinary committee. Meltzer says the committee, lawyers & outside investigators all recommended Punk be fired. While they did gather a lot of additional information, the All In fight was the determining factor.
- Per Haus of Wrestling, there was a meeting between Punk, Khan, and “the relevant members of The Elite” scheduled to take place in Atlanta during the week leading up to All In, the goal of which would have been “to bury the hatchet” between the two sides. The Elite’s camp cancelled at the last minute, which contributed to Punk’s frustrations heading into the show at Wembley Stadium.
- Responding to that on Observer Radio, Bryan Alvarez said no meeting was ever planned because The Elite said no to one as soon as they were approached about it.
- Punk threatened to quit twice prior to his return earlier this year, per Meltzer, who described one of the threats as serious and another as “somewhat” serious. Both Alvarez and Meltzer have heard from multiple sources about a belief within AEW that Punk was trying to get out of the company, with Dave saying his contacts especially believed that to be the case after The Elite re-signed.
- The return of Bryan Danielson as Punk’s replacement for All Out was a closely guarded secret, according to Fightful.
- He didn’t have many details, but Alvarez said Khan held a meeting with talent prior to Collision to tell them the Punk news.
- Jack Perry hasn’t been informed of any changes to his AEW status as a result of the investigation.
- The Observer had no update on the status of Ace Steel, who was re-hired as a remote producer for Collision as part of the deal for Punk’s return earlier this year.
- AEW and Warner Bros Discovery are in ongoing talks about the direction of Collision going forward, according to Fightful. It was noted on WOR that, as evidenced last night, the soft roster split between Dynamite and Collision is over with Punk gone.
- Fightful says security was confiscating Punk signs before Collision last night.
Like I said, it’s a lot. And it sounds like this could only be the tip of the iceberg. This story has lingered for more than a year, and figures to stick around for a while yet.
* If you have heard of any interesting rumors that you’d like to add, feel free to post them in the comments section below. Just remember they are rumors and not confirmed as fact, so please take them as such. And check our weekly Rumor Look Back here to keep track of how often rumors turn out to be correct.