Dax Harwood’s new podcast, FTR with Dax Harwood, doesn’t even officially launch until Thursday (Dec. 29). But Harwood used AdFreeShows’ announcement of its existence to fuel speculation about his future, and now he’s grabbing headlines again with pre-release quotes from the debut episode, simply titled “Punk”.
THURSDAY.— FTR with Dax Harwood (@ftrwithdax) December 27, 2022
Episode 1. PUNK
How they met. Preconceived notions.
How they bonded. “Dying on every hill.”
The pinnacle. Colt. Wrestling against in 6 man, 1 on 1, tagging. How the friendship grew. Pages promo..
And thoughts about punks last match and after the match.
Of the topics teased in that tweet (which many took to mean Harwood would be interviewing Punk, not just talking about him... workers gonna work), we aren’t yet hearing a lot about how Dax & Punk met, or anything on the ominous-sounding subject of “Colt.” But we do get a bit of insight into the aftermath of the infamous Hangman Page “worker’s rights” promo which brought all of Punk’s simmering tensions with The Elite to a boil:
“After the promo segment, I went to Punk and I said, ‘that was really good, that was a great segment.’ They got the fans to react. It’s hard sometimes to get the fans to react to a babyface-babyface match. I thought it was a great segment. He was like, ‘Ahhh, I’m kind of feeling a certain way about it.’ I had no inkling that anything went wrong or went sideways or anything like that.”
Asked by his co-host Matt Koon if Page seems like someone who’d take an impromptu shot at someone in a verbal exchange, Dax replied:
“To be honest, I don’t really know Adam Page very well, we worked together once on the North Carolina Indies. I don’t know him very well, but I don’t think so and I didn’t think so. I didn’t have that notion of him. He’s a family man, he loves his wife, he just had a newborn, he’s always pleasant and polite to me. We always talked and get along. Even after the disagreements we’ve had with the Young Bucks, he and I have always talked and got along great.”
Rumors went around that, heading into All Out, people knew Punk’s post-show scrum appearance would make waves. Harwood says he didn’t get the impression Punk had soured on AEW heading into their Labor Day PPV:
“No, not at all. Punk was still so joyous and happy to be in the wrestling business. To be honest, he told me, when they were going to put the belt on him, that he didn’t want the belt. He said, ‘I just want to have fun,’ but he understood that Tony putting the belt on him would put AEW in a better light. He took it, begrudgingly a little bit, but he took the belt.
“At the time, he was taking me, Cash [Wheeler], Max [MJF], Wardlow, Hobbs, I’m missing so many guys, he was taking us out to eat, always paying for it. He bought all the girls in the locker room Starbucks gift cards and had one of the girls hand them out, anonymously, and didn’t say who they were from, but it was from him, just because he loved the atmosphere and loved being there. He also loved the work the girls were putting in. He thought they were busting their ass to try and get the attention that WWE’s women’s division was getting.”
He does confirm that he & his FTR tag partner Cash Wheeler had left NOW Arena by the time of the scrum and subsequent fight, but says he got a call from Punk in the aftermath:
“All the boys in the locker room were drinking and having a good time, and we were hugging, I have picture of me and Jay Lethal on the ground together just laughing our ass off. I had my wife and daughter there, Cash had his girlfriend. It was such a great time. After our match was over, I shower up, we had a couple of drinks with the guys real quick, grab my girls, and head back to the hotel.
“I was laying in bed and I got a text from one of the wrestlers that said, ‘is this shit true?’ I had no idea what he was talking about. Right after that, I got a call from my buddy CM Punk and he told me what happen. I said, ‘You’re lying to me dude. There is no way that happened.’ He was covered in blood from the match. He FaceTimed me, it was that night. He said, ‘I want to let you know, you’re going to hear some things. I want you to hear it from me. This is what happened.’ I said, ‘Dude, are you okay? Do you need anything? I’ll come right now to help you out, get you cleaned.’ ‘No, no, everything is fine, it’s died down, we’re good.’ That’s when I first heard about it.”
Reports and rumors about what happened between Punk & Ace Steel and Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks were all over the place, and even getting a first-hand account from his friend, Dax doesn’t claim to know the exact truth:
“Obviously, I wasn’t there. Who I perceive to be God is the only person who really knows the truth. Everyone is going to have their own version in their head. We’ve all done it before, we’ve made what we perceive to be the truth. What I’ve heard that is reported, there are elements of truth in it, but then there are also some things that raise a red flag to me. It seems like we’re only getting a portion of the story or what this journalist wants to put out, whether he has a bias or grudge against one of the parties, that’s just how I felt.
“I also knew that I didn’t know the whole story. I also felt that the stories that I heard from a few people, I don’t feel like they would blatantly lie to me. I do think there are bits of truth, but I also believe that some fans have read too much into it and I think they should let what happened, happen, and it die down. When it’s all said and done, I can’t tell you that I know 100% of the truth and I can’t tell you that the journalist reporting is 100% of the truth. I know what I perceive to be the truth and from the things I’ve read and heard, there is partial truth and partial things that are a bit exaggerated.”
Does he think Punk could return to the AEW fold? He doesn’t claim to have an answer, but he makes a pitch to his co-workers that’s in line with what a lot of fans would like to see happen:
“I can tell you what I hope, because I don’t know. Everyone knows about the legalities of the situation and no one is really expressing what is going to happen, what has happened, and what won’t happen. I can tell you, all I can be truthful about, I can only tell you what I know and what I perceive to know, I hope that he comes back. I feel that AEW should have the Young Bucks in their locker room. AEW should have Kenny Omega in the locker room. I know that I feel AEW should have CM Punk in the locker room. With those four entities, it makes our talent roster so much deeper and better. It’s four guys who want to be the best. Regardless of what any of us think personally, I know that we all want to be the best and I know we all want the best for professional wrestling. It’s given us a life that we could never have otherwise.
“This is my plea to all four guys. Please find a way to make it work. If we can make it work, we can set up the future of professional wrestling for a long time and we can change the course of professional wrestling for a very long time. When you think about it, unselfishly, we’re doing this for 20-30 years down the road so guys and girls can make a living.”
Makes a lot of sense, but it would require egos — and lawyers — to get out of the way.
We’ll see if that happens down the road. We’ll find out what else Harwood might have had to say on the subject (“Colt.”) when the first episode of FTR with Dax Harwood officially drops later.
Transcription via Fightful