When news broke, in the middle of AEW All In, that CM Punk and Jack Perry – and maybe CM Punk and Miro – had gotten into a physical altercation before he took the ring at Wembley against Samoa Joe, it left more than a few fans rolling their eyes.
After having to deal with the ramifications of a similar brawl almost a year to the deal prior at All Out – aka the Brawl Out – suddenly Punker was at it again, going so far as to apparently tell Tony Khan he “hates AEW” and even threatening to quit before Joe got him into the ring.
Will the drama between Punk and Perry/The Elite/TK/AEW in general ever subside, leading to the company all working together to produce a clear alternative to WWE? Or will this just continue to happen over and over again until something changes? Well, in the opinion of WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff, who has appeared on the product from time to time, it's probably the latter, especially if he continues to allow the “Best in the World” to continue to “run roughshod” on everyone around him.
“If it happens to be true, what in the name of f**k? Who’s running that company?” Eric Bischoff asked on Locked & Loaded via 411 Mania. “Is Tony Khan this little dweeb that just is in love with CM Punk and is letting a talent dictate how Tony runs the business he’s invested upwards of $100 million in? What? How does this happen? This guy is — if any of this is true, I blame it all on Tony Khan. He’s a b**ch. He’s letting CM Punk run roughshod over everybody in the company. I don’t see AEW having any kind of a real future if indeed this is true.”
Does CM Punk maybe have a little too much power in AEW right now? Yes; he can apparently kick people out of Collision whenever he wants, as Ryan Nemeth learned all too well, and his way of dealing with younger talent around hasn't exactly ingratiated himself to the AEW Galaxy, as Perry's shot at All In was a clear response for Punk's own actions. While drama can occasionally lead to incredible results in professional wrestling, playing with fire for too long can leave everybody burned in the end.
Booker T points out the mistake CM Punk made with AEW's young talent.
Speaking of how CM Punk interacts with AEW's young stars like Jack Perry, another WWE Hall of Famer, Booker T, believes that the “Best in the World” might not have set the best foundation when he arrived in Tony Khan's company, as it seems as though he never earned the respect of the AEW Originals who were establishing themselves in the promotion when he arrived.
“The first thing I said about CM Punk when he came into AEW, I said for guidance, he's the guy there going to be looking towards, you know, as far as leadership, and he's in that position, and when you're in that position and you having, you know, bickering back and forth between you and the young guys opposed to trying to bridge that gap, you know, it's gonna be that problem,” Booker T said via Wrestling News.
“I say that because I was the older guy going into TNA and I'm gonna tell you right now, I had to earn Samoa Joe's respect. I had to earn AJ Styles' respect, Roode. I wanted those guys to know that I was on their team and on their side, because I made my money. People talk about when I came into TNA, I wasn't making a whole lot of money when I went there. It wasn't about the money at all at that time. I always say I was making more money on WWE royalties than I made my whole time in one year with TNA. No joke, no joke, seriously, so getting those guys to trust me is what I had to do, and I really think CM Punk got off on the wrong foot as far as that goes.”
Would things have been different if Punk had come into AEW with more of a “team player” mindset? Had he been humble and committed to becoming the sort of locker room leader he had earlier in his career, and could all of these backstage brawls have been avoided in favor of an incredibly strong culture? Sure thing, but hey, that isn't the route Punk opted to take things, and AEW is in a very interesting place immediately after their biggest show ever as a result.