AEW made the right decision to release CM Punk


CM Punk is no longer All Elite.

News broke on Saturday that Punk was released from AEW. The release stated that after an internal investigation into the situation with Jack Perry at All In, the AEW Discipline Committee met with legal counsel before recommending that Punk be terminated with cause.

“Phil played an important role within AEW and I thank him for his contributions,” AEW CEO, General Manager, and Head of Creative, Tony Khan stated in the release. “The termination of his AEW contracts with cause is ultimately my decision and mine alone. Of course, I wish I didn’t have to share this news, which may come as a disappointment to many of our fans. Nevertheless, I am making the decision in the best interests of the many amazing people who make AEW possible every week.”

This is huge news in what has been a tumultuous situation, to say the least. Punk joined AEW in August of 2021 and since then much of his time with the company has been marred due to suspensions and injuries. As the company heads into All Out on Sunday, September 3, the show last year was hit with what has become known as Brawl Out, as he and The Elite allegedly got into a backstage fight. Coupled with the physical altercation with Perry, Punk became too much of an issue for the young promotion to handle.

The question is how does this impact the organization, both in the immediate and long term?

Punk was certainly great for business. His involvement with the company helped the organization draw record numbers, both on television and in person. His return to wrestling was the biggest story of 2021, and it helped spur the momentum the company needed to develop AEW Collision and AEW All In, recognized as the biggest in-person event in wrestling history. Being in the CM Punk business certainly helped the AEW bottom line, the record proves that point.

But what about morale backstage and other issues? If his presence and his outbursts continue to harm the company, that bottom line becomes more difficult to maintain. This isn’t new in the world of professional sports and entertainment. There are several examples of athletes, coaches, and front offices being unable to bring winning players or stars together just to focus on all the money to be made. Those organizations and opportunities would then vanish, simply because people could not find a way to get along.

AEW made the right decision to jettison Punk. The backstage situations were mounting and there’s no telling when they would come to an end. The “he said/she said” nature of professional wrestling makes it hard to know what to believe and not believe, but when a company as large as AEW takes the time to investigate legal measures for decision-making, there’s certainly fire where there’s smoke. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether Punk’s time in wrestling is completely done. But for now, this is the best decision for all parties involved.

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