MR. TITO: AEW is IDIOTIC for Airing Wembley Security Video of CM Punk on Dynamite This Week

During November 2014, CM Punk did a podcast with his former friend Colt Cabana in which Punk detailed his view of events during his 2011-2014 contractual run with the WWE. As you may know, CM Punk left the company on the RAW following Royal Rumble 2014 and WWE, itself, terminated Punk on his wedding day to AJ Lee. Punk remained quiet for most of the year and then out of the blue, he appears on Cabana’s show to shoot about WWE’s creative team, its medical staff, working with Ryback, dealing with Triple H, and many failed promises made by Vince McMahon.

I remember, at the time, that I challenged the WWE with the idea “if CM Punk is lying, sue him for defamation”. Well, the WWE did sort of sue Punk, but not for any comments said about Vince or Triple H, especially when Punk alluded to HHH’s alleged performance enhancer use… No, the lawsuit was specifically about Punk’s comments about the medical care afforded to him and forcing him to work injured. That lawsuit went to court against both CM Punk and Colt Cabana which actually caused the friendship of Punk and Cabana to end. Cabana thought he had an understanding that Punk would pay his legal bills regarding this case, but that must have been lost in translation. The irony here is that this broken friendship, caused by this WWE medical lawsuit, helped create the the situation seen in AEW years later during Hangman Page’s Dynamite promo and then the Young Bucks leaking lies about Cabana being fired or demoted to Ring of Honor to the dirt sheets.

I also remember calling what CM Punk said at the AEW All Out 2022 Media Scrum as defamation, too, and AEW could have a case of terminating CM Punk’s contract and having a valid cause to not pay him any remaining money and should have an easy case in court. But no, instead we heard details of what happened AFTER the media scrum, as the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and 2 flunkies entered Punk’s locker room (forced or not) for a confrontation. This led to Punk throwing punches on both Young Bucks, chairs getting thrown, and people getting bitten. Afterward, AEW’s legal department had everyone involved sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and according to CM Punk, “it wasn’t for anything I did”. Meaning, these NDAs are protecting against actions taken by the Executive Vice Presidents.

Fast forward to April 1st, 2024 when CM Punk appears on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour podcast and describes his experiences with AEW and Tony Khan as already reviewed in my 4/2 column. Punk didn’t hold back, describing what led to the All Out 2022 Media Scrum and the brawl backstage along with what led to and happened at All In 2023 at Wembley Stadium. The only time he someone held back was describing the brawl after the All Out 2022 Media Scrum, but gave enough detail to advise the “NDAs weren’t about anything I did”.

So I challenge this, once again, and I’m looking specifically at Tony Khan and the Executive Vice Presidents of All Elite Wrestling (AEW). If what CM Punk said on Ariel Helwani’s podcast was so wrong and fully of lies, why don’t you sue him? Take him to court and prove that he was wrong about his AEW tenure. If he’s truly slandering your company with lies, then it should be an easy slam dunk in court.

Oh, but AEW would likely lose this lawsuit because CM Punk is a lot of things, but he doesn’t purposely lie. See, being “Straight Edge” allows your mind to hold memories like a trap and they don’t dissolve because you aren’t taking any mild altering substances or drinks. Until I see a successful lawsuit against Punk or a counter promo done by someone to truthfully fact check Punk, there’s a strong grain of truth in what he’s said about AEW. Much of what Punk said can be substantiated by other experiences with AEW and the fact that they are quick to get people to sign NDAs over various matters. Furthermore, why would Cody Rhodes with an EVP Title and getting paid well along with their prized developmental talent Jade Cargill just leave the company? Matt Hardy was once shilling for Tony Khan in years’ prior, yet he just left the company.

Furthermore, what AEW doesn’t want in a lawsuit against CM Punk would be DISCOVERY… Punk’s lawyers would have the right to request documentation from AEW about these incidents and AEW does NOT want that information presented in a public court of law. For example, see the Janel Grant lawsuit with Vince McMahon and all of the evidence readily available there. Does AEW want their dirty business laundry and actions (or inactions) taken by Young Bucks or Tony out there in the public? I think not…

Which brings me to this week’s AEW Dynamite broadcast where the Young Bucks are hyping that security footage from All In 2023 at Wembley Stadium will be aired for the first time ever.

Exactly what are you trying to gain here, AEW and Young Bucks?

(a) If you air the actual footage unaltered, it’s likely going to show exactly what CM Punk described on Ariel Helwani’s podcast. Punk yells at Tony about Jack Perry, Jack Perry confronts Punk, Punk puts Perry in a front facelock, Punk’s friends break it up, and then Punk yells at Tony afterward. Exactly as Punk described.

(b) If AEW edits the security footage in way, shape, or form, CM Punk has a valid defamation case against AEW. See various cases where the media edited audio or video to make someone look purposely bad, only for them to get sued badly afterward and pay up.

(c) If Young Bucks give us a sketch instead, it won’t be funny. Young Bucks are the most unfunny wrestlers ever, as all of their “comedy” is just inside jokes to their loyal independent fans and fall on deaf ears for everybody else. Both Bucks are thin-skinned individuals who cannot take jokes themselves, and thus creates a lack of credibility to deliver jokes themselves. Their YouTube stuff is trash and completely unfunny.

For all 3 scenarios, nothing BUT losses for AEW and the Young Bucks.

Furthermore, the All In 2023 Wembley show happened on August 27th, 2023. We’re like 7 months away from that dramatic period of time. Why are you bringing up old memories? What good does it to AEW to bring up a terminated wrestler on their broadcasts? Said terminated wrestler is on WWE’s shows now and this would only further promote him instead of AEW.

If AEW just let this be just a podcast of one guy’s opinion, this would be over quick. No, because AEW officials are so thin-skinned, they send out Edge to cut a passionate promo (even though Edge was NOT there to witness any events first hand, he was in WWE) and are now going to air the security footage or a parody of it as well. Because of AEW’s own refusal to let it go, MORE people are going to watch the Ariel Helwani podcast with CM Punk and hear his words. The more AEW refuses to let this go, the more it will embolden fans to check out what Punk said to cause this reaction by AEW. And then we’re back to 2022 and 2023 to remind everyone of the mistakes that AEW made handling a top star like CM Punk who brought Dynamite back above 1 million and gave them their first $1 million gate.

This is what I keep talking about with AEW… Tony Khan and the Executive Vice Presidents, along with much of the enabling backstage officials and locker room, are too immature to handle being a professional wrestling company. I’ll give them credit and all of the success in the world for building a promotion through 2019 and making WWE take the game seriously again, along with wrestlers getting paid more, but I won’t for how toxic their environment is to wrestlers who aren’t personal friends with Tony or the Bucks.

Do you know how this entire situation could have been solved in the first place?

The second that CM Punk starts attacking AEW at the All Out 2022 Media Scrum, Tony cuts him off and ends said scrum. If CM Punk goes ballistic because of that, then let him. Because at that point, the only thing fans have seen was Hangman Page’s AEW Dynamite promo and then Punk’s receipt promo months later. As far as they knew, it was handled… Problem was that Tony DID NOTHING during that AEW All Out 2022 Media Scrum and just let Punk trash his company and its executives for 20 minutes. Then, instead of having a valid case to terminate CM Punk after the media scrum, Tony allows his Executive Vice Presidents to confront CM Punk immediately after that scrum. The Bucks, as EVPs, should have filed formal complaints with Tony Khan and they’d have a valid case to terminate Punk. There was NO WAY that the late 2022 version of WWE hires Punk after hearing what he said during that media scrum.

Fast forward to about 1 year later and Jack Perry, by all insider reports and not just CM Punk’s words with Ariel, was pushing back on AEW officials about shattering a windshield on television. Everybody backstage agent and even Tony Shiavone tried to talk him out of it, but he refused and was absolutely unprofessional about it. Because AEW has ZERO penalties for backstage behavior, Perry was able to throw a tantrum and get away with it because of his close friendship with the Young Bucks. Because the management structure is SO POOR at AEW, that’s when AEW officials asked CM Punk if he could talk reason into Perry.

Once again, mismanagement at AEW leads to a disaster. The security footage is going to show Jack Perry coming back after his match and immediately getting in the face of CM Punk. That’s aggression, especially after Jack Perry broke script and took a personal shot at Punk on Pay Per View. Obviously, you shouldn’t front facelock someone immediately during a heated confrontation, but AEW’s culture caused that confrontation. AEW management refused to stop Perry from doing a windshield spot and pleased with a co-worker to talk sense into himself instead. Could have sent this crybaby home instead, but they kept him around to cause an incident. It would be like a McDonalds employee breaking stuff and the managers there refusing to do anything but encouraging fellow staff members to handle it. Huh?

Riddle me this… AEW is currently in negotiations with Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) for an extension to their existing deal and hoping for more money as well. How thrilled with WBD executives be with security footage of CM Punk backstage at AEW All In 2023 airs on their TBS channel? After all, AEW Collision was created specifically as a platform for CM Punk to be featured prominently as a star. If CM Punk doesn’t agree to come back during 2023 and become an exclusive to this Saturday Night show created on TNT, that show doesn’t get created. Weeks after the show debuts, Tony terminates him… Now, 7 months later, Tony is going to allow the Wembley Stadium security footage to air.

Why would you risk pissing off WBD executives who could walk away from the negotiating table? How STUPID can you be? For one, it looks cheap to do this to begin with, but since WBD executives pushed for Punk’s return, this puts egg all over their faces for wanting Punk to return. Believe me, television executives can be very petty and have major egos to bruise. If AEW Dynamite actually airs this security footage, they have SERIOUS risk of losing their television deal with Warner Bros. Discovery.

Without Warner Bros. Discovery, where could you go in this monopolized world of Cable/Satellite companies?

(1) Comcast/NBC Universal has WWE content.
(2) CW has WWE content.
(3) Netflix has WWE content.
(4) Paramount Global is up for sale, losing money.
(5) Disney is fighting off shareholder takeovers and is also losing money.
(6) FOX is ending their deal with WWE due to lower advertising buys associated with wrestling.
(7) Amazon and Apple are looking at major sports leagues right now.

Where are you gonna go, Tony, without Warner Bros. Discovery? And now you may piss off said WBD executives by airing footage of a wrestler that you fired? A wrestlers for whom they gave AEW $50 million to feature on Saturday Nights?

AEW has nothing to gain but everything to lose by airing this. Now, more people will watch Aerial Helwani’s podcast with CM Punk and the footage will be a total nothing burger. When they see Jack Perry getting choked out, they’ll reconcile that with CM Punk’s story that led up to this. And then the whole backstage brawl following All Out 2022’s Media Scrum will come out once again.

How about this, Tony Khan? Why don’t you terminate the Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA)s from that backstage brawl following the All Out 2022 Media Scrum? Tell us what really happened that night… Oh that’s right, you don’t want the world to know how irresponsible the Bucks and Omega were that night after the media scrum.

Stupid, stupid, stupid…

And I know the reaction that will happen with this column… I’ll get the usual AEW cult members attacking me in the comments, maybe a few of them will write a column about what I’ve just posted. But the ironic thing is that they are just following the leadership set forth by Tony Khan, his EVPs, and the enabling backstage at AEW. Tony, EVPs, and enablers backstage are thin-skinned, hate any opposition opinion, and completely immature. Their devotion is to sell a LIE that AEW is the #1 wrestling promotion in the country even when the facts obviously show they are a distant second. “The best wrestling and best roster of wrestlers are here”. Nope, not even close.

If AEW was doing so great, then why did they have to OVERPAY Adam, Okada, Mercedes, and Ospreay to join them? All 4 wrestlers had negotiations with WWE, as documented through numerous insider reports. In all 4 cases, WWE didn’t want to pay what each felt they deserved. However, AEW was desperate to sign all 4 because their viewership, attendance, and merchandise sales were all sinking following that PEAK seen at Wembley Stadium during late August and following CM Punk’s termination. They are tarping off the majority of 5,000 seat arenas for TELEVISED shows, while consistently drawing UNDER 800,000 without any real threats competitively on television against them. The string holding them together is this Warner Bros. Discovery deal which has a real threat of not happening, especially in reaction to airing this security footage.

FACT is that Mercedes, Adam, Okada, and Ospreay are NOT drawing because of the AEW product sold to wrestling fans for the past 2 years. Fans have heard the stories not only about CM Punk, but what may have prompted Cody Rhodes or Jade Cargill to leave AEW. Then, they see how poorly ex-WWE wrestlers have been used like Rusev (Miro) and how the Hardy Boyz are getting injured in various matches. Shows, storylines, matches, and Pay Per Views are wildly inconsistent and unorganized. AEW has become the later version of WCW or TNA during various iterations when “big name talent” joins the promotion and it does nothing for the numbers. If your brand SUCKS, nobody wants to buy more of it. This is like in the NFL or NBA when a top level free agent joins a historically BAD franchise and doesn’t win at all. Gee, why is that?

Go ahead, AEW, air that beautiful footage… It’s only going to cause more attention on CM Punk’s podcast with Ariel Helwani, while calling attention to OTHERS on that camera footage who were witnesses. Then, they can start answering questions about that incident, too. Do you want that, Tony? Do you really want anyone seen in that security footage to be harassed, anywhere they go, about that incident?

AEW willing to air security footage from 7 months ago is a microcosm of the problems seen within their company from bad management to immaturity to favoritism towards members of cliques. Numbers show that AEW is declining while their competition, WWE, is exploding with growth and they have CM Punk who is impressing many over there with his professionalism.

Go ahead, AEW… Air that security footage and slit your throats, once again. Let the world see that Punk choked out one of your wrestlers and nobody backstage was man enough to handle that situation. Not Tony, not the Young Bucks, and not any of the enabling flunkies who help keep this company in the crapper.

And go ahead, AEW cult members… Attack me for stating the obvious about this situation. I CAN FEEL YOUR ANGER, and you think that it makes you stronger or gives you focus. It doesn’t… You’re following a poorly managed AEW promotion all because you have a personal dislike of the WWE or enjoyment of high-risk independent wrestling. Because of your devotion to hating WWE or loving sloppy indy stuff, you’re on the wrong side of wrestling history and will have egg all of your face when this promotion isn’t around in 5 years (maybe less).

AEW = Awful Executive Wrestling

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