The newest edition of Wrestling Observer Newsletter leads with a big story about the chaos that occurred after AEW All Out on Labor Day weekend in Chicagoland.
As we’ve been seeing lately, lips are loosening because the investigation into the post-PPV fight wrapped up last week with Ace Steel’s firing, a report AEW is negotiating a buyout of CM Punk’s contract, and the return of The Elite behind-the-scenes as the build to their on-screen return began.
Based on those outcomes, it’s pretty clear the investigation ended up backing Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks’ version of the backstage brawl. Per Dave Meltzer’s write-up, the consensus is that Matt & Nick Jackson brought AEW’s legal chief Megha Parekh with them to Punk’s locker room to address his comments at All Out’s media scrum. Punk & Steel got physical, with Punk throwing punches at Matt while Steel threw a chair at Nick and bit Omega.
Punk’s version of events, which has long included The Bucks kicking in the door of his dressing room and this week added an injury to his dog Larry, are said to be widely disputed. In particular, the story that Larry’s teeth were knocked loose by the door is being seen as a desperate attempt to spin the story in light of the investigation’s findings:
“A completely made up story,” said one person regarding the story. “He’s (Punk) losing (in the investigation results) and is desperate. There was a multiple weeks long investigation and this was oddly not discovered? Hmm. Also, it’s so happened to be mentioned the moment there was news about (the Bucks & Omega) possibly coming back? It’s insane that people would even humor this.”
“The dog story is a complete lie,” said a neutral party who was in the locker room seconds after the incident occurred. “When the altercation was happening Punk was a total psycho.”
“Kenny picked the dog up to save him from being hurt and gave him to Megha. Megha was holding the dog screaming at Punk to stop. Punk didn’t even register that his `baby’ was being held by a stranger in the middle of a fight. It didn’t stop him one bit.”
While the dog story has become a focus (possibly because since we know Larry is okay overall, it’s become a pretty absurd wrinkle fans can laugh about a bit in an otherwise sad, disappointing situation — like the Mindy’s Bakery jokes in the immediate aftermath of All Out), Meltzer says the bottom line is that Punk will not be back in AEW. If for no other reason, that’s because many of AEW’s top stars — like Chris Jericho, who a separate report claims told Punk after the brawl that he’s a locker room cancer who was hurting the company — don’t want him back.
A few names were mentioned with Chris Jericho being the name mentioned most but that many, if not most, of the key top names were saying that they wouldn’t work with him...
Another top star in AEW said, “Punk won’t be back. His value on screen isn’t one percent worth the hassle and black cloud he causes backstage.”
Meltzer reiterates his previous report that AEW’s buyout of Punk’s contract is held up over the length of a non-compete clause.