When Colt Cabana returned to AEW for a match with Chris Jericho for the Ring of Honor World Championship, it marked “Boom Boom's” first televised match in the promotion since all the way back on Thanksgiving 2021, when Bryan Danielson beat up the Chicago native in his hometown as part of his mission to defeat every member of the Dark Order on his way to “Hangman” Adam Page.
Though he worked some dark matches for the promotion and even went abroad to represent AEW on the Fight Forever video game promotional tour, the presence of CM Punk on top of the card, even when he was absent immediately following his in-ring injury, left fans wondering about his status in the company, questions that only grew when Cabana showed up in Baltimore for his match with Jericho. Was Cabana only under contract with Ring of Honor? Was his return to Dynamite a one-off? Or has Cabana been under contract this whole time? Fortunately, Cabana explained what he knows about his situation on the podcast, The Work Of Wrestling, as transcribed by Wrestling Inc.
“I never talked to Tony until I was in Gorilla, so it wasn't a call from Tony Khan,” Cabana said. “The travel called me up and said, ‘You are needed for Baltimore, Maryland.' I assumed it was to wrestle Chris Jericho, but the travel told me ‘Chris Jericho is requesting your presence in Baltimore, Maryland.' I wrestled Chris and then yeah,” he continued, “I don't think I want to go too deep on everything with Chris and I or it all in general. I'm under contract, they told me to show up, and I showed up, I wrestled. If they want me to wrestle again, I'll wrestle again and if they want me to agent again, I'll agent again. Whatever it might be.”
Theoretically, Cabana's comments shouldn't come as too big of a surprise; even if he wasn't used on television all that often, it makes sense that Cabana's contract wouldn't have expired when he was off of television and that, by extension, he could be a phone call away from in-ring action as a result. Still, how Cabana is used moving forward will be incredibly interesting to see, especially with ROH Final Battle less than a week away.
AEW's Colt Cabana explains locker room politics to non-wrestlers.
Elsewhere on the podcast, Cabana delved into locker room politics and explained how performers deal with issues among themselves, which, considering his relationship with CM Punk, make a throwaway story very interesting indeed, as transcribed by Fightful.
“As you say that, I'm not even thinking about present day, I'm thinking about when the Ring of Honor locker room was so tight or even my developmental days when they were tight,” Cabana said. “It's almost like, the group of people who form this unit, will kind of band together and almost get stronger when they are against one specific thing. It almost makes the locker room even stronger to then, ‘ship up or shape out,' whatever the term is. Shape up or ship out. When a bad apple or someone rotten comes into your locker room, the locker room gets together, gets strong, and they kind of give ultimatums almost. Maybe not actual ultimatums, but that person, or those people will kind of be alienated and, eventually, information of why that alienation is there will come, and then they have a choice to do nothing about it, do something about it, or anything in-between. It's up to them. Usually, it tends to work itself out.”
“Yeah, I can't think of an example specifically, but 100% over the years,” Cabana said. “Then, these people become friends, and years later, you joke about what idiots they were, and you tell them, they admit it, and that's the long-term relationship of a wrestling locker room.”
Who knows, had Cabana been in Chicago at All Out, maybe he could have prevented the fight that ultimately kicked Punk, Kenny Omega, and the Young Bucks, Nick, and Matt Jackson off of television for months; Cabana was brought into AEW as a sort of player/coach, and he was kept in the Dark Order to help the group cope with the loss of Brodie Lee. Then again, considering Punk's deep hatred for Cabana, Cabana's mom, and presumably the entire Cabana family, who knows; maybe the “Brawl Out” would have been even worse than it turned out to be.