In September of last year following AEW’s annual All Out PPV, the newly crowned AEW World Champion CM Punk and his long-time friend Ace Steel reportedly got into a backstage altercation with AEW EVPs The Elite, leading to both Punk and The Elite being suspended by the company and subsequently relinquishing their respective championships. Whilst The Elite have since returned to the company and have recaptured the AEW World Trios Championships, Punk’s future remains up in the air, with it still being unknown as to whether he’ll be welcomed back into the fold.
Appearing on a recent episode of Busted Open Radio, AEW commentator, coach, and talent scout Mark Henry shared his thoughts on CM Punk’s status with All Elite Wrestling, revealing that if it was his decision to make, he’d bring Punk back to the company.
“If I was in charge, I would bring him back and I would bring him back with him saying to the wrestling world, not an apology, but just state the facts. ‘Grown men will disagree and things will be said that probably shouldn’t have been said and I regret airing my dirty laundry in front of the world. It won’t happen again. Do we agree on everything? No. Can we work together and exist and have a business relationship? Yes. I will not let my personal feelings, my personal gripes, and concerns interfere with business again, because ultimately, the important thing is business and I am the business and business is good. AEW is better with me around.’”-Mark Henry
The WWE Hall of Famer was then asked whether he believed that the AEW locker room is better off with CM Punk around, with Henry stating that whilst Punk is likely to be viewed as an outsider just like he is, ultimately him being there will be beneficial for the company as a business.
“I think that AEW is pro-AEW. CM Punk was an outsider just like I am. Like, I’m not an original AEW and when the shit hits the fan, you’re gonna go with the people that you’ve locked arms with in the beginning. That’s just the way it is. I’m talking about the core as well as everybody that was at AEW in its beginning. All of the people that worked their way, you look at The Dark Order and every facet of AEW in the office. They were a tight-knit group. It’s great to be brought in, but ultimately, we still are the second cousins. I feel like CM Punk would have to come in and kind of acquiesce to that. So you know what? I know who I am. I know what I am and I’m gonna play my lane. But I’m here to make the business better. I’m here to make AEW better and I think that I can do that. My personal thoughts and complaints, I’ll keep to myself.”-Mark Henry
Henry also noted that those who were suspended because of the media scrum that were brought back already apologized to the locker room, however it’s unclear as to whether Punk himself has taken these measures yet.
When asked about why he feels Punk should be brought back to AEW, Henry once again pointed towards the company’s talent acquisitions over the years being good for business, however, he also highlighted that certain figures within AEW may disagree in this case and choose to side with those that were there from the start.
“When they were going through the NXT-AEW wars, those were the people that were foundationally that company. I can see them siding with the top guys in there. They look at it as those are our guys. Everybody else that came in is great acquisitions to help the business go forward, but like you said, Jade Cargill, Will Hobbs, and FTR and certain people were like, ‘Man, I don’t give a sh*t what Punk did. I think he’s good for business. He helped me. He mentored me It’s good for business, but as you said, there are people that weren’t raised in a regime in the way that we were raised. So they’re going to have a clicky, our guy mentality, rather than listen, ‘What does Tony want? What’s good for business? What’s going to make dollars? What’s going to put asses in seats?’ That’s the ultimate thing.”-Mark Henry
Regardless of Punk’s suspension, the former AEW World Champion has been out of action with an injury he sustained during his title match with Jon Moxley after the aforementioned All Out PPV. Recent reports have indicated that should Punk be welcomed back into the company, he should be able to return to the ring within the next two months, and thus it appears as though we won’t have to wait too much longer to see how the company deals with him.
As always, we’ll aim to provide any further updates on CM Punk’s standing within AEW as soon as we hear more.
H/T to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription.