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In the AEW/CM Punk break-up, one side is reportedly more ready to move on than the other

AEW’s Twitter

CM Punk hasn’t been seen on AEW television since All Out, an event where he won the company’s World title for a second time, tore his triceps, aired his grievances with some co-workers & members of management at the post-PPV media scrum, then got in a fight with three Executive Vice-Presidents.

The championship was vacated shortly thereafter, along with the Trios titles held by Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks (the aforementioned EVPs). An investigation into what’s become known as Brawl Out followed, and the presumption is that investigation sided heavily with The Elite — and that Punk’s exit from AEW is a fait accompli.

But it hasn’t happened yet, with reports indicating the two sides were negotiating a buyout of Punk’s contract.

Now, the latest on those negotiations indicates he’s more ready to walk away than his employers are. The latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter notes that Punk remains under contract with AEW, and as of last weekend was still being paid by Tony Khan. Dave Meltzer also writes:

“Those close to [Punk] say the hold up on his being released is all on the AEW side as he’s ready and willing to move to his next project.”

It’s tempting to assume this means TK is attempting to convince Punk to come back, and fans who’ve convinced themselves things like The Elite’s performance in Chicago on Thanksgiving Eve means AEW already has a return angle in mind may make that assumption. But without knowing what was in Punk’s AEW contract — especially in terms of a no-cut clause and non-compete or nondisclosure agreements — it’s impossible to pin down the precise reason Khan isn’t releasing the star.

Past rumors about a possible return to WWE would make “I’m ready to move on to my next project” a smart tactic from Punk’s side, though. If he’s adamant about not returning, how much will TK pay to keep him from making that next project a redebut on Raw or SmackDown... possibly to take his own cheeky shots at AEW and The Elite?

Stay tuned.

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