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Is CM Punk’s beef with AEW the implosion of an organization, or the best storyline in a decade?

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It was a jam-packed weekend on this planet {of professional} wrestling with WWE and AEW holding three pay-per-view reveals mixed, however all anyone is speaking about is CM Punk. Extra particularly what Punk mentioned within the AEW All Out post-show press convention within the wee hours of Monday morning.

It goes with out saying that that is NSFW should you haven’t seen Punk’s two minute, profanity-laden rant.

There’s a lot to unpack right here and this pertains to lots of real-world drama between Punk, former buddy Scott Colton (in-ring identify Colt Cabana), in addition to “The Elite,” who’re largely the braintrust of AEW made up of Kenny Omega, The Younger Bucks, and to a lesser extent Hangman Adam Web page. Right here’s the Cliff’s Notes on what Punk is referring to should you acquired misplaced by what he’s saying.

  • Colton and Punk, previously very shut mates, had a really actual falling out over a lawsuit stemming from a podcast the 2 did collectively in 2014 after they made claims a few WWE physician, who subsequently sued them. Punk, who was far wealthier, allegedly provided to cowl the authorized charges from the go well with, which Colton alleges he by no means did. The pair then sued one another, and finally settled.
  • On an episode of AEW Dynamite, Hangman Adam Web page, who was concerned in a feud with Punk, referenced friction backstage brought on by Punk and accused him of ruining the corporate.
  • Punk accused Web page of “going into enterprise for himself,” which is wrestling parlance for somebody who ignores a pre-arranged script or angle, to chop a promo with out their opponent’s information.
  • In response, Punk known as out Web page in a July episode of AEW Dynamite, understanding Web page was not backstage and unprepared to reply.
  • Omega, Nick and Matt Jackson (The Younger Bucks) who’re Government Vice Presidents of the corporate, have been rumored to have sided with Web page over Punk, inflicting extra friction.
  • Punk believes the 4 wrestlers leaked to reporters that Punk had Colton pulled from AEW and moved to proprietor Tony Khan’s smaller wrestling promotion, Ring of Honor, because of the drama stemming from their lawsuits.

If that feels exhausting, it’s as a result of it’s. Additionally, it’s actually completely none of our enterprise. That is private and office drama which shouldn’t be the priority of followers — nevertheless it turned that means attributable to media studies, and Punk deciding to burn everybody in his orbit throughout the press convention on Monday morning. Nonetheless, we’re all concerned now. Anybody who’s invested in skilled wrestling, and even those that aren’t, are fascinated to see what occurs subsequent. Particularly contemplating there are studies that Punk’s press convention rant brought about a lot ire that it led to a backstage brawl.

“In response to a number of sources that lined up with a few of Fightful’s reporting, there was a struggle backstage afterward with Punk allegedly beginning issues by swinging fists on the Bucks’ Matt Jackson. Punk coach/buddy and AEW producer Metal (a part of the storyline that acquired Punk into Sunday’s Jon Moxley match) threw a chair that hit the Bucks’ Nick Jackson within the eye and blackened it. Metal (Chris Man) allegedly bit Omega and grabbed his hair.”

That is wrestling’s equal of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. It’s the defining story not simply of the weekend, however the whole 12 months — however, what if most of it’s pretend? No person is doubting that this started with backstage friction, however for it to progress so far is thus far fetched, and followers are so caught up in within the second, that should you step again for a second it’s actually fairly illogical. It’s for that reason we are able to’t rule out that this may a piece, an angle, designed to generate cash and curiosity.

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The case for this being a piece

We all know that the subsequent few months for AEW are pivotal to the longer term progress of the corporate. Their authentic TV contract is arising for renewal, and whereas Dynamite is doing strong rankings, it hasn’t reached the stratosphere many anticipated when the corporate signed the likes of CM Punk and Bryan Danielson.

All through wrestling historical past there was a relentless: Probably the most cash, and highest rankings come when fiction and actuality are blurred. This was the driving power of the “Monday Evening Wars” within the mid-to-late 90s, when on a weekly foundation we had WCW followers satisfied the invasion of the nWo was an existential menace to the corporate, whereas WWF followers watched Stone Chilly Steve Austin brawl together with his boss.

The web has vastly modified skilled wrestling during the last 25 years. It’s inconceivable for one thing just like the nWo to work right this moment, as a result of followers perceive how contracts work. Equally there isn’t the suspension of disbelief to purchase into Stone Chilly Steve Austin preventing Vince McMahon based mostly on goons beating him up on a weekly foundation.

Nevertheless, this additionally presents a chance. Being a wrestling fan now not means tuning in for 2-3 hours per week, however following each story in between. Which wrestlers need their launch, who’s beefing with who, and which skills need extra money. There’s an inherent want to be an insider, and know not simply what’s being proven on TV, however all the pieces occurring behind the scenes as nicely.

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Tony Khan is aware of this. Hell, All Out closed with a real-world angle being become a fictitious one, the place disgruntled expertise MJF returned with the aide of audio alleging to be a voicemail from Khan to MJF, providing him an enormous money fee to return again after months of absence from TV.

It’s completely within the realm of risk that AEW is taking part in the hits. The MJF drama was vastly influential on-line, with everybody and their brother questioning if the younger star would depart AEW and bolt for WWE. Punk’s press convention made followers neglect they acquired labored for months, aided by wrestling media who assured followers this was a really actual falling out, solely to see MJF return — which was probably all the time the plan.

What higher solution to enhance rankings over the subsequent three months forward of a TV renewal than promoting the world on the concept that Punk and the vice presidents of the corporate hate one another and are coming to blows backstage? Who isn’t going to tune in on Wednesday to see what occurs and what’s mentioned? We love pettiness, and faux-reality. It’s why individuals watch The Bachelor, Actual Housewives of [insert city here] and Massive Brother. The beating coronary heart {of professional} wrestling is earning money, and manufacturing drama is sweet for enterprise.

Make no mistake, there isn’t a doubt this began with some very actual angst — however from that time it behooves Khan, Punk, Omega, The Bucks, and Web page to all promote the concept that this beef remains to be simmering. It means extra money for everybody.

The case for this being actual

It’s CM Punk.

I may in all probability simply finish that assertion there and wrestling followers would know what I imply. This can be a man with a historical past having sturdy opinions in regards to the wrestling trade, and giving zero shits about who he offends by talking his fact. Punk additionally isn’t above calling out individuals publicly and breaking the fourth wall, as he did together with his well-known “pipebomb” promo in 2011, when he sat on the stage of Monday Evening Uncooked to drag again the curtain on his hatred for Vince McMahon, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon.

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Moreover, invoking Scott Colton’s identify and airing their soiled laundry isn’t one thing he’s accomplished up to now. Colton isn’t concerned in any of this drama, so mentioning him simply to tug him doesn’t make sense if that is about earning money.

There’s a very actual likelihood it is a case of Punk being the AEW world champion, being able of energy and affect as a result of he does drive rankings, and invoking his affect to power Tony Khan’s hand and get his means.

So, is that this actual or pretend?

Actually, no one outdoors of these concerned know for certain. Hell, it wouldn’t shock me if many of the AEW expertise don’t know both. This can be a firm that has hidden signings and debuts from their very own wrestlers to maintain a shock, and the veracity of this drama (if it’s a pretend storyline) is much too essential for it to leak out.

If we step again from the emotion and have a look at this logically, then extra indicators level to this being pretend, that it being authentic anarchy. The usage of MJF’s real-world drama as an angle, and utilizing wrestling media as a device to promote their story is all within the fast DNA of AEW. They now have an ideal three month storyline that can enhance rankings, all at a pivotal time the place the corporate must put up massive numbers for his or her TV renewal.

There’s a chasm between coworkers yelling at one another, and throwing chairs and biting one another — whatever the egos concerned. These are all professionals who’ve been within the enterprise for many years, who’ve very thick pores and skin. No matter what occurs subsequent, AEW has created the can’t-miss buzz for Dynamite on Wednesday, and it’s sufficient to probably appeal to die-hard WWE followers desirous to see the competitors implode, and non-wrestling followers who’re fascinated by the drama.

It will both be the best storyline wrestling has seen in 10 years, or we’re seeing the practice fly off the rails at a pivotal second. Only some individuals know what occurs subsequent.

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