The Elite and CM Punk have – by all accounts – gotten themselves all worked up into a bit of a shoot of late. For those of you that have been living in a cave, on Mars, with your fingers in your ears and zero internet connection for the past few months, it all started when Hangman Page and Punk were feuding for the AEW World title and the former member of The Elite went off script and started taking potshots at The Voice of the Voiceless. Never being one to keep his mouth shut, Punk surprisingly did for a while, at least, and then returned the favor by calling out Page without his prior knowledge, and when he failed to answer his call pretty much called him a bitch.
This has obviously led to backstage tension between Punk, Page, Ace Steel, and The Elite which all seemed to come to a head at the media scrum after this past Sunday’s AEW: All Out PPV, which saw Punk blow his top and accuse certain EVPs of not doing their job properly and spreading a lot of bull-honkey about him and his relationship with Colt Cabana, saying;
The fact that I have to sit up here because we have irresponsible people who call themselves EVPs and couldn’t fucking manage a Target and they spread lies and bullshit and put into the media that I got somebody fired when I have fuck all to do with him, want nothing to do with him, do not care where he works, where he doesn’t work, where he eats, where he sleeps… the fact that I have to get up here and do this in 2022 is fucking embarrassing. And if y’all are at fault fuck you. If you’re not, I apologize.
What did I ever do in this world to deserve an empty headed fucking dumb fuck like Hangman Adam Page to go out on national television and fucking go into business for himself? For what? … What did I ever do? Didn’t do a goddamn thing.
It’s not (Tony Khan’s) position to make it very fucking clear. There’s people who call themselves EVPs that should have fucking known better. This shit was none of their business. I understand sticking up for your fucking friends, I fucking get it, I stuck up for that guy more than anybody. Okay? I paid his bills until I didn’t and it was my decision not to.”
This then led to an alleged backstage brawl between Punk, Steel, and The Elite, with chairs being thrown, Kenny Omega apparently being bitten, and The Jacksons and Omega threatening to quit which – as you can imagine – has divided the internet community down the middle as to A) What the hell is actually going on B) Is it all a massive work and C) When it comes down to it, whose side are you on? Cm Punks’ or The Elites’?
Well, here at Sports Obsessive we’re no different, and myself, Andrew Grevas, and Chris Flackett sat down last night to talk about everything CM Punk and The Elite.
Andrew Grevas: Mike Johnson, the best wrestling reporter alive, says it’s a mix of shoot and work. Says there’s heat between JR and The Bucks which Punk was pissed about. Also said that Punk waited 3 months for Khan to settle the beef between him and Page and when he didn’t, Punk went into business for himself. A lot of it was a work like I thought to set up the MJF stuff. Guess there is truth to Omega, the Bucks, and Page not taking advice from anyone and being open about not wanting to listen to the vets. So I was half wrong, half right
Neil Gray: I mean, I kind of get it. they’ve done this shit on their own when nobody would help them, so why bother listening now? What’s the heat between JR and The Bucks though? Not heard about that.
Chris Flackett: I can imagine it would be about some of Ross’ asides on commentary about the psychology of some of those spots that get done, but I could be completely wrong.
AG: It was implied that JR tried to pull them aside to talk to them and the Bucks told him they weren’t interested in his advice.
CF: Wrestling’s a respect game ultimately. OK, you have dicks like Hogan and HBK, but ultimately, you gotta respect the elders, as it were
AG: There was also a reference to Dean Malenko but he didn’t follow up on it.
NG: Could this have anything to do with when they were at least developmental talent in Kenny’s case and jobbers in The Bucks’ case at WWE?
CF: Aw man, you can’t blow off Dean! I love Dean Malenko.
CF: Well, if people are acting like assholes, I can understand Punk being upset. I don’t agree with airing it all in public as it was, but this really does show Tony needs to handle this kind of shit so much better.
NG: Think the whole respect thing is interesting. Do they need to respect anyone? After all, they did all this off their own backs. Sure, it took TK’s money but without them, he’d have probably bought TNA or something.
CF: I’d say so, yeah. OK, you might not want to take people’s advice but why wouldn’t you want to tap the minds of people who have been on that big stage? You might not agree with what they have to say, but surely everyone is coming from the same place: wanting to make it the best it can be.
AG: I like The Elite guys but at the end of the day, they’ve put on great matches but they haven’t drawn major money.
NG: I blame Meltzer. Handing out all those 5 stars to the boys may have gone to their heads.
AG: That kind of seems to be what Punk’s point is.
CF: Playing Devil’s advocate though: did Punk used to listen when people gave him advice in WWE? Not a dig at him, I genuinely don’t know.
AG: Punk name dropped Dean, Mark Henry, and Jerry Lynn, saying we have brilliant minds like them backstage & you aren’t going to take advice? Punk was pretty respectful to the worker-type legends for sure. Basically, the agents who were great workers Punk stayed close to.
CF: I don’t know Mark Henry’s a great mind, but I take his point. Henry’s been there, done that.
AG: Honestly I’ve never heard much about him backstage so I can’t comment. Just know that everyone likes him as a person. I’m sitting here thinking about all those stories about Cody and The Elite having heat and thinking, Cody is laughing his ass off right now
CF: Did they have heat, do you think?
AG: Makes you wonder. Cody is an old-school guy so if there’s truth to these stories, I could see Cody taking issue with it all. It really does seem like Punk took a work and poured some gasoline on it. With WWE picking up steam, it’s smart. You have to get attention somehow.
CF: I honestly don’t know how beneficial it’s going to be to AEW though. Short term, everyone’s talking, yeah, but if they don’t deliver now on weekly TV and in the ring and we just get news of in-fighting, it will damage them. It needs to be locked down now and channeled into something that will keep viewers long-term.
AG: 100%. It has to be an angle. That was my issue with the Page/Punk stuff, it wasn’t an angle and it made for bad tv. They can’t do that again. But if they can focus it and make money off it, it’s a huge win.
Do you think at this stage, knowing what we know of Tony and having seen what we’ve seen, that he’s able to control his locker room? His body language during the Punk rant was fascinating. Totally passive. Even looked like he was nodding his head know agreement occasionally when Punk was talking about the EVPs.
AG: Just to pretend it was a shoot for a minute, I think he did exactly what he should have. If he showed any emotion whatsoever, it gets tense onstage between him and Punk, and who knows what happens next. Best thing is to let the guy explode and have faith that he’s pro enough not to go too far. As far as the locker room goes, that’s a different story. He has to have some tense conversations this week. If it’s a shoot, I think the original sin of AEW was having EVPs.
CF: I think so too. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But it’s also crazy that they’ve got more great talent than they’ve ever had, and I actually enjoyed their 2020 work more than what they booking now. Crazy. The match didn’t quite land, but the build-up to Cody-Jericho was brilliant.
NG: I kind of side with The Bucks and Omega here though. They helped build the company from the ground up and now they have to deal with people like Punk coming in and walking around as if they should be praised for helping them out. Can’t imagine Danielson or Mox pulling that shit.
CF: Well, Mox was sorta there at the beginning. He was the big surprise at the debut PPV.
NG: True, but he was coming over from WWE. He could’ve come in with that Holier Than Thou attitude, but he’s just not that guy.
AG: Mox is a loner at the end of the day. But he definitely takes advice and loves working with vets. Danielson is different because I think a lot of what he does is work with guys.
NG: So at the end of the day, I guess it all comes down to what camp you’re in about how you feel in regards to the whole situation. Are you in the Punk camp or are you in The Elite’s camp? Me, I’m firmly in The Elite’s camp.
CF: I’m in the ‘they’re all being bloody stupid and need to pull together for the good of the company’ camp.
NG: Oh, you’re no fun. Andrew?
AG: I’m with Punk
As you can see this is a topic that has the wrestling world split down the middle, where even we couldn’t agree on who was right or wrong. However the fact remains that wrestling is filled with a history of guys and girls not liking each other, but still managing to work together, so if it is true and this is one whole giant shoot – and we think that that is a bloody big if – then either all the parties involved on Punk’s side and on The Elite’s side, need to find a way to get over this situation or move onto pastures new. And if that last part comes true, it’ll be interesting to see who Tony Khan tries to keep.
So, are you in The Punk camp, or are you in The Elite camp, or perhaps you’re in the ‘they’re all being bloody stupid and need to pull together for the good of the company’ camp. Let us know in the comment section below.