While he wasn’t in the locker room when the fight broke out, Adam “Hangman” Page was central to what’s become known as Brawl Out. Page’s on-screen allusion to the rumor that CM Punk was forcing Colt Cabana out of AEW during his World title program with Punk escalated tensions between The Elite & Punk. And we all know what happened when they boiled over after last year’s All Out.
As Punk returned to the company a couple months back, a few things were said which made it clear that the beef wasn’t completely settled. But things have been relatively smooth since... until Punk saw a “Carolina is Hangman Country” sign in the Greensboro, North Carolina crowd during his post-show untelevised promo.
Just because things aren’t on TV doesn’t mean they aren’t being recorded, though...
“Earlier today, I went to a local supermarket and I figured out why they call him Hangman. It’s because the pegs in the toy aisle are full of Hangman action figures because no one wants to buy them. He’s a peg warmer unlike me who moves merchandise and pops ratings and sells toys.”
Punk would go on to poke a bit of fun at The Elite saying they’re the heart and soul of the company, but botched a line about the GTS. He blamed it on House of Black chopping him during their Trios title match, as he claimed he told them not to do that.
What to make of his remarks? Well, if they’re a shoot, it’s a reminder that Punk holds grudges. That’s not exactly news. He might be a happier person if he could let some things go, but we’re not in his head and can’t know that. His resentments have seemed to drive him throughout his career, and it could be that a lingering one with Page (and possibly his friends Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) will be motivating him through this stage of it.
He could also be using the real world history for an on-screen story. His friends Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler of FTR, who were in the ring with him as he talked action figure sales last night, will be facing The Bucks at All In in a couple weeks. Maybe that’s only the start of a longer Elite/CMFTR program that will weave the events of last summer into kayfabe?
Or it’s both: Punk’s still pissed AND they’re going to use that in their fictional world.
Let us know what you think. And stay tuned for a possible retort on Being The Elite or Dynamite this week.
UPDATE: PWInsider has a full transcript of post-show remarks from Dax, Cash & Punk beyond the above clip our original post was based on. They include Harwood joking about Punk having turned heel with his dig at Page, Wheeler paying tribute to an uncle from Greensboro who died earlier this year, some stand-up comedy-like interactions with the crowd, and these closing remarks from Punk...
“I just want to legitimately say from the bottom of my heart, I love each and every single one of you. We have sold more tickets tonight than we did the last time we were here. So I seriously appreciate you, in all sincerely. The ones that make the signs that say, CM Skunk. That’s good. The protect Trans Kids sign. The Twist his d—k sign.”
Punk also has a few posts in his Instagram Story which indicate he was joking/working, including one with a still of Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi from Tim Burton’s film Ed Wood with the Guns ‘n’ Roses’ song “It’s So Easy” playing in the background.
The tune is pretty self-explanatory. The pic is trickier, but Wood hired & befriended Lugosi late in his career because his star power would help get his movies financed... perhaps Tony Khan is Ed and Punk is Bela in this analogy? Or Punk liked Landau’s puzzled look & mischievous grin and just worked me into overthinking a meme. Probably that. UPDATE to the Update: As many have pointed out, it’s obviously a reference to this scene, which fits the overall puppetmaster theme Punk was trying to get across. What can I say — haven’t seen that movie in at least 20 years and this story gives me galaxy brain. Anyway...
It would appear Punk was light-heartedly roasting Page in a way that he knew would make headlines. Which doesn’t mean his dealings with Hangman last year don’t still bother him, or that it wouldn’t be better if he let this particular sleeping dog lie. But now you have a more complete picture as you join in the wrestle web’s often emotionally fraught discussion around this topic.