TKW: Why Hangman & Co. Were Right About C.M. Punk


“Fragile ego, fragile body, weak mind, weak spirit.” – Jon  Moxley on C.M. Punk

Yesterday, C.M. Punk sat down with Ariel Helwani in an interview for The MMA Hour. On the weekend prior to Wrestlemania 40, the conversation’s biggest topic was: AEW? Before I jump into the meat of this piece I want to clarify two likely pushbacks this article could receive in headline alone.

-This is not a WWE hit piece. In fact, it has little to do with them. As I’ve stated many times, I don’t watch the product, nor care to write about it, sans a few rare occasions. This is not meant to stoke the flames of idiotic tribalism that rears its ugly head on both sides.

-I was a C.M. Punk fan. Things didn’t work out in AEW, but as a fan, I was happy he was there until everything went off the rails. And even then, I don’t solely blame him for what happened at All In 2022, and I wished him well in his current WWE run.

Until he said something very, very stupid yesterday.

“But when you’re there… like… guaranteed money almost ruined pro wrestling. If you had to get paid on the house, the place would be drastically different.”

Oh boy.

Guaranteed Contracts Are a Necessity



“You talk a big game about workers’ rights. Well, you’ve shown the exact opposite since you got here. I love this place, I care about this place.” – “Hangman” Adam Page speaking to Punk before Double or Nothing 2022

This line from Page is what apparently set Punk off in 2022 and signaled the beginning of the end for him in AEW. And I won’t get into the details of his relationship with Colt Cabana, or Colt’s friendship with Page. That has already been done to death. But it turns out in hindsight, Page was right about Punk regarding workers’ rights. 

Punk claims that guaranteed money almost ruined pro wrestling. Defenders will say “he meant that wrestlers got lazy” — as if it’s their job to sell out the house. Last time I checked, that was on the promoters/bookers to push tickets; not the talent.

So when I heard Punk say this I immediately thought of Roddy Piper.

“What would you have me do at 49 when my pension plan, I can’t take out till I’m 65. I’m not going to make 65. Let’s just face facts, guys.” – Roddy Piper in 2003 on why he came back to WWE

Sadly, Piper would pass away in 2015.

Whether or not talent sits at home, works only one day a week, or once a month, is all irrelevant. If you’re putting your body on the line, then you should be paid, regardless of what you’re doing, or how much.

Pro wrestlers are always an accident or major injury away from possibly ending their careers. Having guaranteed contracts provide them the financial security needed if such a tragic case were to occur. These are people’s livelihoods you’re talking about. The least any decent owner can do is offer guaranteed contracts.

Pro Wrestlers Need to Get Paid

The wrestling industry is notoriously difficult. From Lex Luger and Kamala to Chris Kanyon and Jake Roberts — there are a plethora of former wrestlers that fell on hard financial times after their careers ended.

As independent contractors, talents have to pay for their own health insurance, among other high expenses. In fact, Maven Huffman points out in a recent video exactly how little wrestlers can make in this industry. Rental cars, loads of food, gym costs, hotel stays, leisure, personal care, etc. These costs all add up for any wrestler on any level.

These athletes put their bodies on the line for our entertainment week in and week out, be it WWE, AEW, Stardom, TNA, GCW, TJPW — from the mainstage to the Indies. For that fact alone, they deserve every penny they get, guaranteed or not. Hell, one of the biggest unspoken rules in the industry is to essentially “get that bag”, and according to Punk, maybe that’s not a great idea when that bag is guaranteed.

This is where Punk lost me for good. It’s an angsty old man Fox News level take on the industry.

But sadly, it got worse.

What the ‘C’ in C.M. Punk Actually Stands For


“I thought I did the responsible thing. I didn’t punch anybody. I just choked him a little bit.”- Punk | 4/1/2024

A 45-year-old man did the “responsible” thing by choking out a younger co-worker for making an insider reference on a pre-show? He storms off in a tangent, threatens to quit, until Samoa Joe and Jerry Lynn can talk him back into staying for his match. Is this responsible? It sure doesn’t sound like it.

Looking back, you can find blame on all ends when it comes to Punk’s time in AEW. The Elite, Punk, and Khan himself all share some level of responsibility here. But to become physical with a co-worker simply because you feel personally attacked is lower brain high school behavior.

Does the ‘C’ in C.M. Punk stand for “choke”? “Corporate”? No. The ‘C’ in C.M. Punk stands for ‘child’. He’s a child in an old man’s body who felt justified in assaulting another human being right in front of his boss because his ego was threatened.

It’s childish behavior, and he has a history of it. Is he the only one in AEW to act childish at times? Of course not. But does that excuse his “veteran” behavior at All In? Not a chance. But this is who Punk is. Moxley knew it. Kingston knew it. And Page knew it as well.

“There’s always going to be somebody else around the corner who wants what you have, or possibly just doesn’t want you to have what you have. And they will do whatever a promoter wants you to do for less money. And that’s unfortunate. You know, the boys never stick together.” – C.M. Punk (Oct. 2023)

The above is a quote from him in 2023 on why he supports a wrestling union. It looks like this already aged well…

Tony Khan “Isn’t a Boss”

Lastly, we come to this gem of a quote.

“He’s not a boss. He’s a nice guy.” – Punk on The MMA Hour

This was aimed at Khan, and then followed up with the fact that AEW isn’t a “business”. It truly seems like Tony Khan lives in Punk’s head, rent-free. Even bringing up “turnstile counts” (a reference to All In/London) once again after doing so last week in an Instagram story after Raw.

My guy, let it go. Move on. It doesn’t seem like Punk truly has, though.

Tony Khan is: 

A nice guy who loves wrestling, pays his talent top dollar, and listens to his fans. That’s it. No scandals, no controversies, no criminality — just a rich dude who loves wrestling and wanted to start his own promotion. And we’re trying to make this an issue because why?

Because he’s not doing things like WWE does? Because he’s not a threatening or aggressive presence backstage to be feared?

Tony Khan is what’s considered a servant leader. Bill Gates is a servant leader. It’s the type of leader that focuses on the improvement and support of others by meeting their needs. He often will put the ambitions of others above his own. We’ve seen this in how much freedom AEW talents tend to have.

Khan isn’t walking about backstage swinging his dick around like a certain someone that we will not mention here. But for the record:

*AEW made record revenue in 2023, record revenue on PPVs, increased ticket sales overall, and still maintains three shows across two channels on a major cable TV network.*

Sounds like a business to me…

I hate to break it to some, but nothing you do, be it Punk, old fart podcasters, or tribal fans, can change these facts; because they are facts.

Any disgruntled reader, or Punk himself, can tell me Tony Khan isn’t a businessman all you want. He’s still fairly new in this industry, is probably still learning on the job a little, and is slowly surrounding himself with experienced vets. And for all of that, AEW has been successful. The numbers simply don’t lie.

Everyone Needs to Move On


At the very least, Punk did state that he enjoyed himself in AEW. He even said that the positives outweigh the negatives. At the end of the day, everyone needs to move on.

“So why did you write this article?” some may ask. And it’s simple — to point out that C.M. Punk is exactly who “Hangman” Adam Page, Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, and many others, said he is. Furthermore, scheduling an interview like this on Wrestlemania weekend where multiple “soft” shots were taken and landed at Khan himself, was kind of like low-level high school bullying.

Phil Brooks is a troubled man. Everyone knew of the toxicity he could bring to AEW, and he did just that. As he ages, he is best in WWE, a company that will undoubtedly be more strict with his psychological shortcomings.

And if this is who Punk is, so be it. But the record should be settled here. He is no “revolutionary”, or “trailblazer”. He’s a wrestling veteran that, like many others, looks out for himself and only himself. There is simply nothing special about this guy anymore, and AEW fans need to move on.