Now that the shoe has finally dropped, we get to ask : was the huge CM Punk decision correct?
In case you missed the Saturday stunner, AEW announced via it’s official Twitter/X account that they had terminated the wrestling and employment contracts with one Phil Brooks.
Otherwise known as CM Punk.
Perhaps forever known as the biggest pain in the world. See what I did there?
I call this a stunner because, well…Punk survived the All Out Brawl fallout, and that, to me, seemed a lot worse than this (at face value).
It seems likely that whatever Punk said directly to Tony Khan factored in here, as did the fact that it was his second major fracas like this within the span of a year.
On top of other nagging issues, which may or may not have been blown out of proportion, and here we are.
So we ask…
Was The Huge CM Punk Decision Correct?
I have two spins on this, so let’s dive in…
Yes, it was…
If anything, it was overdue by a year, give or take.
That he was not let go after last year’s All Out was a mild surprise. Because he wasn’t probably caught Tony Khan some flak.
It certainly did nothing for Khan’s reputation of a major fanboy who gets to play with his toys in real life.
Meaning, he was so happy to have brought Punk back to wrestling, he wasn’t going to just fire one of his toys.
And now, he had no choice.
All Out happened in front of some major names within AEW, including their chief legal counsel. And while Khan wasn’t there for the brawl…he was sitting next to Punk on the dais when Brooks went off on the EVPs.
But, the feeling from where I sit is that the events at Wembley just happened to be the final straw, not the only one.
Upon his return, Punk could only work on Collision, with the company going to great lengths to keep him far apart from The Elite.
Then, stories emerged that the now-former AEW star had been sending talents home from Collision for one reason or another.
Take everything into account, and it seems like Punk had very few friends in AEW…and even fewer talents in the company who were willing to work with him.
Heck, Samoa Joe had to effectively convince the not-so-best in the world to actually work their match at All In.
One thing may have triggered the decision, but how we got here is a long list of really poor decisions by one veteran wrestler (even if you think the AEW politics and pecking order is a mess, which it may be).
Also, for Tony Khan, there was one nice thing about firing him on September 2nd. For at least a bit, AEW news overshadowed WWE’s Payback PLE.
No, it wasn’t…
Let me be clear…as I said in the beginning of the “yes” section…I do believe Punk did plenty to get himself terminated, and based on what I’ve heard over the last year, I would have done it sooner.
But, I can also argue that firing him was a mistake.
Sure, some of this could be “now he can sign with WWE”. Because, Vince is back, and if Brooks is pissy at AEW, a call and a check from McMahon will have the former WWE champ dropping a pipe bomb on USA or FOX soon enough.
But, that isn’t the angle I am going with.
Instead, this is where I land.
The AEW locker room and political structure has been widely made fun of. You have a bunch of top stars serving also as EVPs, and right or wrong, there was a perception of how things went.
And Brooks wasn’t a part of that inner circle.
The Elite were with AEW since day one, that is undeniable.
But, by firing Punk and merely suspending talents like the Bucks, Kenny Omega and most recently Jack Perry…while firing Punk?
Sends the wrong message.
Perry is young and still learning, compared to the rest who have been around long enough.
If the reports are accurate that, last September, it was The Elite who stormed into Punk’s locker room? Then right there, they were the worst of those involved.
This time around Perry took some shots on social media at Punk, and Punk took it up with him personally.
There were other things where the two disagreed, and in at least one instance, Punk was definitely correct.
But, if a suspension was fine enough for All Out Brawl, it should have been sufficient for this too.
Unless what was said between Punk and Khan was truly inflammatory (it may have been, and we may never know).
However you feel, here’s the reality.
CM Punk returned to wrestling, with AEW, and lasted just two years. Of that two years, he was an active performer in the ring for basically half of that.
He lost a year to injury or suspension, and he leaves the company more known for being a major issue in the backstage area than for anything he did in the ring.
Now, we have to endure the questions about if or when WWE will sign him…either until they do, or until both sides say no thanks.
After all, we only stopped hearing CM Punk chants at WWE shows basically once he’d signed with and appeared for AEW.
It’s a different WWE now, with a much better product…so I somehow doubt we get the Punk chants like we did years ago.
Bottom line, Punk forced Khan and AEW’s hand, so firing him was the only move left.