PWTorch has filed their report on the storm that’s followed CM Punk’s jab at Hangman Page in a promo after AEW Collision went off the air last Saturday night (Aug. 11). It summarizies Wrestling Observer and Fightful’s coverage of certain talents not being allowed to appear on the Saturday night show, and provides a more detailed account of an alleged meeting between Punk & Ryan Nemeth over Nemeth’s tweet about Punk’s return promo.
While Wade Keller’s write-up agrees with previous accounts that Punk & Nemeth’s exchange didn’t get physical, it alleges that Punk was much more aggressive — cornering Nemeth and angrily asking “if they had a problem or if they needed to settle things outside”. The star of Collision told Nemeth his tweet “inflamed existing tensions” and sent a bad message to those outside the company as it tries to repair its image, which lines up with his camp’s reasoning for banning Nemeth from Collision.
It goes on to say that Punk followed Nemeth from the locker room to the hallway, where he “continued to berate” the undercard wrestler. It ended when Nemeth asked if he shouldn’t react to anything Punk said on television, and Punk replied that would be the right move. They shook hands, but tension was still said to be high with those witnessing the incident calling it “awkward and weird”.
Keller points out what little leverage someone like Nemeth has against someone like Punk, who AEW views as integral to its future. That section of his report includes this anecdote:
When Punk first returned earlier this summer after his hiatus dating back to the prior year’s All Out media Q&A, [AEW owner Tony] Khan stood up backstage in the gorilla position with his headset on and started pumping his fist and chanting “C.M. Punk!” enthusiastically as Punk walked by.
So it’s not surprising that given an opportunity to comment on Punk’s shot at Page that stirred up this latest round of drama (or at least the reporting on some ongoing drama) by the Battleground podcast, Khan passed and stuck to his standard promotional routine:
“No, not really. I thought it was a great show on Saturday night. I don’t have any further comment to that, but I’m glad people are still very interested in our wrestlers and what’s happening after the wrestling shows. We’ll try to have a couple of great shows this week, and certainly, there has been a lot of interest in what’s happening in AEW in it and out of the ring.”
Given that — and if the cheering story is correct — Keller is probably correct when he writes that for anyone without a big contract from AEW, the best course of action is to not criticize Punk and instead “lay low... because you don’t want to be on what is essentially his enemies list.”