By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
CM Punk winning the AEW World Championship in the main event of the All Out pay-per-view was big news. Punk’s unfiltered comments during the post event media scrum may have eclipsed it. Punk was asked early in the scrum about his relationship with Colt Cabana (Scott Colton). Punk said his friendship with Cabana ended in late 2013, before Punk agreed to pay Cabana’s legal fees that stemmed from his appearance on Cabana’s podcast. Punk claimed to have an email in which Cabana wrote that they could go their separate ways and he would get his own lawyer and Punk would not have to make additional payments.
“I haven’t been friends with this guy since at least 2014, late 2013,” Punk said. “The fact that I have to sit up here because we have irresponsible people who call themselves EVPs and couldn’t f—ing manage a Target and they spread lies and bullshit and put into the media that I got somebody fired when I have f— all to do with him, want nothing to do with him, do not care where he works, where he doesn’t work, where he eats, where he sleeps.”
Punk also unloaded on “Hangman” Adam Page, labeling him an “empty-headed dumb f—.” Punk said an apology will no longer be enough to repair the damage. “We’re far beyond apologies,” he said. “I gave him a f—ing chance. It did not get handled, and you saw what I had to do, which is very regrettable, lowering myself to his f—ing level.” Punk also mocked Page for stating in an interview that he doesn’t take advice from veterans.
Powell’s POV: Punk had a lot more to say and it’s absolutely worth taking the time to watch his full comments below. Punk’s comments regarding Cabana were spawned by reports claiming that Cabana was moved to the Ring of Honor roster because of him, which Tony Khan recently denied.
Punk clearly believes that the rumors were circulated by AEW Executive Vice Presidents Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson. “It really pisses me off,” Punk said at one point in the scrum. “Stepping on your own dick trying to f—ing make money, sell tickets, fill arenas, and these stupid guys think they’re in Reseda (the former home of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla events).” Kenny Omega also works as an EVP and is longtime friends with the Jacksons. The EVPs did not appear at the media scrum.
It had to be uncomfortable for Tony Khan, who was seated next to Punk throughout his media session. Khan stated later while speaking separately to the media that the industry has thrived on creative tension for a long time. Khan said he doesn’t like everything either and said people who work in the company have “blatantly slammed” him publicly and there’s only so much he will take. Khan said he “has a demeanor of service,” but there’s only so much knocking he will take and he will do what’s best for business.
When Khan was asked how he tries to defuse the situation, he labeled it dicy. “It’s no secret that a lot of professional wrestlers don’t like each other,” he said. “But I think now it’s probably more out in the open than it’s been in a while. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing for the pro wrestling business given what the product we produce is and it’s wrestling matches and it involves tension and people wanting to fight. And people know there’s a lot of people that want to fight each other around here now, and I don’t think that’s terrible.”
Khan went on to praise the Jacksons and Omega for their work in and out of the ring. Khan said they have “huge behind the scenes contributions.” It’s a wild media scrum and the fallout should be fascinating to follow.
Update: Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez reported on a WrestlingObserver.com podcast that there was an altercation backstage during the media scrum and described it as a melee. They seemed to indicate that it involved Punk and the Jacksons, but they did not offer specific details of what transpired. The incident apparently took place shortly before a security guard or police officer ran backstage while Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland were speaking at the scrum. Apparently, Tony Khan was unaware of the backstage altercation until the scrum concluded.