Triggered by some reportedly unscripted comments about Hangman Page on the Aug. 17 Dynamite, we’ve read multiple reports about CM Punk’s current relationship with and standing within AEW over the past week.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated published today (Aug. 24), Punk addressed those and other “internet rumors” about him and his current company.
Asked if he feels creatively fulfilled at AEW, Punk was emphatic:
“Yes, 100%. You try not to put too much stock in internet rumors. But for AEW, I definitely think that’s part of our audience. Twitter’s not real life, though. On top of that, a lie makes its way around the world twice before the truth puts his boots on or gets out of bed.
“If I addressed every rumor, I’d be here all day. I love AEW. It’s not a competition of who loves it more or who’s the heart and soul, or who’s this and who’s that. AEW allowed me a second chance to do what I do best, and that’s professionally wrestle.”
On talk he’s a source of friction backstage, Punk issued a challenge for co-workers who have complaints to come directly to him rather than serve as sources for people like Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer:
“It’s one side of the story. My locker room is never closed. It’s always open. Anybody who wants to DM Meltzer some bulls**t can come talk to me about it. It’s not macho, stupid bulls**t. I’m an adult. Come talk with me.”
Much like his boss Tony Khan did, Punk explained away his callout of Page as a way to sell future stories and matches (which the Chicagoan says is how he measures success in wrestling, by box office not star ratings):
“That’s what I’m here to do, make people want to see what happens next. I’m trying to sell tickets to the live events. That goes back to me saying Twitter isn’t [the] real world. Twitter is a bunch of people that don’t really care about your opinion. They want to find like-minded opinions that share their worldview. I’m trying to tell stories, sell tickets, and get people to tune in on Dynamite.”
It’s hard to find too much fault with these answers, but that’s as much about how limited our knowledge and perspective is about what’s really going on as it is about the quality of Punk’s soundbites.
There are those who think the bulk of the locker room rumors are fueling a meta-heel turn for Punk. The beef with Page definitely seems to be transitioning from a shoot to a work, but when that started or how much “unresolved anger” the two men will be processing while they work a fictional program is unknown.
We’ll get some clarity on these things over time, but likely never get the whole story. Gotta love pro wrestling...