In addition to play-by-play announcing and the occasional sit-down interview, Jim Ross’ AEW responsibilities include being a “senior advisor”.
We don’t know what all that entails, but we do know where JR stands on one of the most pressing issues facing AEW management — what to do about their controversial two-time World champion, CM Punk.
On the newest edition of his Grilling JR podcast, Ross was talking about ticket sales for June’s Forbidden Door PPV in Toronto when he expressed optimism for AEW’s future. A future JR thinks will include Punk:
“I think it sold out. Rafael [Morffi, AEW Vice President of Live Events/Touring] called me, and I said, ‘How are things going, tickets sales wise?’ He mentioned to me that the Toronto show had sold out. That’s good. Good for the home team. All good stuff, baby. But anyway, sell-outs, good. Anytime you get a sell out, you’re doing something right. I think we’re doing something right.
“I just got a feeling that big things are on the way. Getting everybody healthy again and back on the roster again is important. Of course, the whole question is gonna center around [will] CM Punk ever be back. I’m one of those guys that believe he will be back. We’ll see. I think AEW needs CM Punk because of his star power, and he brings… with controversy creates cash, and he’s certainly controversial. I’m a big fan of Phil’s. We’ll see how it works out. I’m optimistic and positive.”
Tickets for this year’s Forbidden Door went on sale, and moved quickly, on Mar. 22. So it’s likely Ross’ comments came after Punk’s deleted Instagram response to Dave Meltzer where he also called out Chris Jericho and claimed Jon Moxley refused to lose to him on Dynamite last August. But they were probably before Mox’s response.
Could be that none of that would change Ross’ opinion. Based on JR’s quoting of the title of Eric Bischoff’s 2006 book, he may think Punk is more valuable to AEW now than he was a couple weeks ago.
It’s also entirely possible this is nothing more than a random thought on a podcast that will fuel the wrestle web aggregation machine for a few hours. But at a time when most of what we’ve heard about a Punk/AEW reunion has been pessimistic, it’s worth noting when a prominent voice in the company is feeling optimistic.
H/t: Fightful for transcription