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Is CM Punk’s beef with AEW the implosion of an organization, or the best storyline in a decade?


It was a jam-packed weekend on this planet {of professional} wrestling with WWE and AEW holding three pay-per-view reveals mixed, however all anyone is speaking about is CM Punk. Extra particularly what Punk mentioned within the AEW All Out post-show press convention within the wee hours of Monday morning.

It goes with out saying that that is NSFW should you haven’t seen Punk’s two minute, profanity-laden rant.

There’s a lot to unpack right here and this pertains to lots of real-world drama between Punk, former good friend Scott Colton (in-ring title Colt Cabana), in addition to “The Elite,” who’re largely the braintrust of AEW made up of Kenny Omega, The Younger Bucks, and to a lesser extent Hangman Adam Web page. Right here’s the Cliff’s Notes on what Punk is referring to should you acquired misplaced by what he’s saying.

  • Colton and Punk, previously very shut pals, had a really actual falling out over a lawsuit stemming from a podcast the 2 did collectively in 2014 once they made claims a few WWE physician, who subsequently sued them. Punk, who was far wealthier, allegedly supplied to cowl the authorized charges from the swimsuit, which Colton alleges he by no means did. The pair then sued one another, and ultimately settled.
  • On an episode of AEW Dynamite, Hangman Adam Web page, who was concerned in a feud with Punk, referenced friction backstage brought on by Punk and accused him of ruining the corporate.
  • Punk accused Web page of “going into enterprise for himself,” which is wrestling parlance for somebody who ignores a pre-arranged script or angle, to chop a promo with out their opponent’s data.
  • In response, Punk referred to as out Web page in a July episode of AEW Dynamite, realizing Web page was not backstage and unprepared to reply.
  • Omega, Nick and Matt Jackson (The Younger Bucks) who’re Government Vice Presidents of the corporate, had been rumored to have sided with Web page over Punk, inflicting extra friction.
  • Punk believes the 4 wrestlers leaked to reporters that Punk had Colton pulled from AEW and moved to proprietor Tony Khan’s smaller wrestling promotion, Ring of Honor, because of the drama stemming from their lawsuits.

If that feels exhausting, it’s as a result of it’s. Additionally, it’s actually completely none of our enterprise. That is private and office drama which shouldn’t be the priority of followers — nevertheless it grew to become that means resulting from media studies, and Punk deciding to burn everybody in his orbit through the press convention on Monday morning. Nonetheless, we’re all concerned now. Anybody who’s invested in skilled wrestling, and even those that aren’t, are fascinated to see what occurs subsequent. Particularly contemplating there are studies that Punk’s press convention rant prompted a lot ire that it led to a backstage brawl.

“In line with a number of sources that lined up with a few of Fightful’s reporting, there was a struggle backstage afterward with Punk allegedly beginning issues by swinging fists on the Bucks’ Matt Jackson. Punk coach/good friend and AEW producer Metal (a part of the storyline that acquired Punk into Sunday’s Jon Moxley match) threw a chair that hit the Bucks’ Nick Jackson within the eye and blackened it. Metal (Chris Man) allegedly bit Omega and grabbed his hair.”

That is wrestling’s equal of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. It’s the defining story not simply of the weekend, however all the 12 months — however, what if most of it’s faux? No one is doubting that this started with backstage friction, however for it to progress up to now is up to now fetched, and followers are so caught up in within the second, that should you step again for a second it’s actually fairly illogical. It’s because of this we are able to’t rule out that this would possibly a piece, an angle, designed to generate cash and curiosity.

The case for this being a piece

We all know that the subsequent few months for AEW are pivotal to the long run development of the corporate. Their unique TV contract is developing for renewal, and whereas Dynamite is doing strong rankings, it hasn’t reached the stratosphere many anticipated when the corporate signed the likes of CM Punk and Bryan Danielson.

All through wrestling historical past there was a continuing: Essentially the most cash, and highest rankings come when fiction and actuality are blurred. This was the driving power of the “Monday Night time Wars” within the mid-to-late 90s, when on a weekly foundation we had WCW followers satisfied the invasion of the nWo was an existential menace to the corporate, whereas WWF followers watched Stone Chilly Steve Austin brawl together with his boss.

The web has vastly modified skilled wrestling over the past 25 years. It’s inconceivable for one thing just like the nWo to work in the present day, as a result of followers perceive how contracts work. Equally there isn’t the suspension of disbelief to purchase into Stone Chilly Steve Austin preventing Vince McMahon based mostly on goons beating him up on a weekly foundation.

Nevertheless, this additionally presents a chance. Being a wrestling fan not means tuning in for 2-3 hours per week, however following each story in between. Which wrestlers need their launch, who’s beefing with who, and which abilities need extra money. There may be an inherent need to be an insider, and know not simply what’s being proven on TV, however all the pieces taking place behind the scenes as properly.

Tony Khan is aware of this. Hell, All Out closed with a real-world angle being was a fictitious one, the place disgruntled expertise MJF returned with the aide of audio alleging to be a voicemail from Khan to MJF, providing him an enormous money fee to come back again after months of absence from TV.

It’s completely within the realm of risk that AEW is taking part in the hits. The MJF drama was vastly influential on-line, with everybody and their brother questioning if the younger star would go away AEW and bolt for WWE. Punk’s press convention made followers neglect they acquired labored for months, aided by wrestling media who assured followers this was a really actual falling out, solely to see MJF return — which was probably all the time the plan.

What higher approach to increase rankings over the subsequent three months forward of a TV renewal than promoting the world on the concept Punk and the vice presidents of the corporate hate one another and are coming to blows backstage? Who isn’t going to tune in on Wednesday to see what occurs and what’s mentioned? We love pettiness, and faux-reality. It’s why individuals watch The Bachelor, Actual Housewives of [insert city here] and Large Brother. The beating coronary heart {of professional} wrestling is making a living, and manufacturing drama is sweet for enterprise.

Make no mistake, there isn’t a doubt this began with some very actual angst — however from that time it behooves Khan, Punk, Omega, The Bucks, and Web page to all promote the concept this beef remains to be simmering. It means extra money for everybody.

The case for this being actual

It’s CM Punk.

I may in all probability simply finish that assertion there and wrestling followers would know what I imply. This can be a man with a historical past having robust opinions concerning the wrestling trade, and giving zero shits about who he offends by talking his reality. Punk additionally isn’t above calling out individuals publicly and breaking the fourth wall, as he did together with his well-known “pipebomb” promo in 2011, when he sat on the stage of Monday Night time Uncooked to tug again the curtain on his hatred for Vince McMahon, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon.

Moreover, invoking Scott Colton’s title and airing their soiled laundry isn’t one thing he’s performed up to now. Colton isn’t concerned in any of this drama, so mentioning him simply to pull him doesn’t make sense if that is about making a living.

There’s a very actual probability this can be a case of Punk being the AEW world champion, being able of energy and affect as a result of he does drive rankings, and invoking his affect to power Tony Khan’s hand and get his means.

So, is that this actual or faux?

Actually, no one exterior of these concerned know for certain. Hell, it wouldn’t shock me if many of the AEW expertise don’t know both. This can be a firm that has hidden signings and debuts from their very own wrestlers to maintain a shock, and the veracity of this drama (if it’s a faux storyline) is much too essential for it to leak out.

If we step again from the emotion and take a look at this logically, then extra indicators level to this being faux, that it being reputable anarchy. The usage of MJF’s real-world drama as an angle, and utilizing wrestling media as a instrument to promote their story is all within the speedy DNA of AEW. They now have an ideal three month storyline that may increase rankings, all at a pivotal time the place the corporate must put up massive numbers for his or her TV renewal.

There’s a chasm between coworkers yelling at one another, and throwing chairs and biting one another — whatever the egos concerned. These are all professionals who’ve been within the enterprise for many years, who’ve very thick pores and skin. No matter what occurs subsequent, AEW has created the can’t-miss buzz for Dynamite on Wednesday, and it’s sufficient to probably entice die-hard WWE followers desirous to see the competitors implode, and non-wrestling followers who’re fascinated by the drama.

This can both be the best storyline wrestling has seen in 10 years, or we’re seeing the practice fly off the rails at a pivotal second. Only some individuals know what occurs subsequent.

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