CM Punk was trending worldwide on Thursday after a bombshell report by Fightful Select stated that AEW officials were unsure if Punk would appear on this week’s Dynamite as advertised.
The primary issue revolves around Punk’s strained relationship with “Hangman” Adam Page, which stems from their heated feud that culminated with Punk winning the AEW World Championship at Double or Nothing.
Punk has been so vocal about unhappiness with that situation that sources in AEW have wondered if he’ll quit working for the company entirely.
The feud between Punk and Page started on the Apr. 20 episode of AEW Dynamite. Leading up to their inevitable clash at Double or Nothing on May 29, the two had gone after each other in promos to build towards the match.
The story onscreen was that Page was taking his match against Punk personal and that Punk thought it was just business. “Hangman” started the war of words by taking shots at Punk in a promo on the May. 4 episode of AEW Dynamite when Punk wasn’t in attendance.
In the promo, the champion said, “…At Double or Nothing, there’s not going to be a handshake. At Double or Nothing, there’s not going to be a masturbatory Bret Hart tribute match. I am going to destroy CM Punk.”
The May. 4 episode is the only show where Punk wasn’t in attendance for their build towards Double or Nothing. The last promo with each other took place at AEW Dynamite on May. 25 where Page alluded to Punk personal issues with Colt Cabana.
They finally had their match at Double or Nothing, where Punk defeated Page with his Go-To-Sleep finisher.\
Punk is currently in a program with Interim AEW World Champion Jon Moxley. He made his return after healing his foot injury at AEW Dynamite on Aug 10 to confront the interim champion.
He was set to promote his feud with Moxley on the Aug. 17 episode of AEW Dynamite, but he decided to address Page for an unknown reason. He called Page out and referred to him as a coward, which Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer shared wasn’t planned.
Punk actions caught fans and reportedly the AEW roster by surprise, including Page. However, the story behind Punk’s promo got more interesting after the Fightful Select report on Aug. 18.
Fightful Select had followed up on Punk’s action and reports that those close to Punk believe that he contemplated not appearing on the show. It’s reported that several people on the AEW roster think Punk mentioned Page because he felt his rival went into business for himself leading into their Double or Nothing match on May 29. In a promo on the May 25 episode of AEW Dynamite, Page alluded to Punk’s issues with Colt Cabana.
The report also states that he’s shared that he is unhappy with the situation to the point that sources that know of the problem believe he might leave the company.
…Sources familiar with the situation claim that CM Punk has often verbally expressed his displeasure, including recently so blatantly that they thought he might end up quitting the company. Those close to him said that he might have almost decided to stay home instead of coming to the August 17 Dynamite, but don’t think he would have quit. We haven’t been given any indication that he plans on leaving AEW, but one veteran said they have heard of “threats being leviedFightful
According to Bryan Alvarez on Wrestling Observer Live, some people in AEW were furious at CM Punk, but the locker room was split and some siding with Punk over Adam Page.
There were a few people furious at CM Punk backstage, because Hangman is a well-liked guy. So they’re mad at Punk. Also, you have people who are on Punk’s side who say Hangman started this, so they’re mad that you’re mad at CM Punk. I know this is pro wrestling, and we have the MJF deal, but I was told that it’s not. It was started when Hangman was unprofessional, and CM Punk followed that up by making Hangman look like a fool.Bryan Alvarez on Wrestling Observer Live
In another twist from last night, fans were surprised that AEW decided to have the anticipated Punk vs. Moxley title match on the Aug. 24 episode of AEW Dynamite. AEW’s decision seems odd, especially with their Pay Per View All Out taking place on Sep. 4.
The report added that AEW’s decision to have the match on Aug. 24 was late. However, it’s unclear how late the company decided to make the match official for AEW Dynamite.
While it is a surprise, wrestling fans can rejoice at seeing the unification match without watching it on Pay Per View.
It’s worth noting that Punk nor Page has spoken about issues between the two. The report also acknowledges the claim that he is upset with Page over their program is based on AEW’s roster speculation.
However, Punk’s actions and Fightful Select’s sources could make wrestling fans wonder how AEW will resolve this issue. Punk signed to AEW last year and is likely in a multi-year deal. Punk hasn’t shown that he has considered quitting or didn’t want to appear on the recent AEW Dynamite episode.