Following AEW‘s All Out pay-per-view, reports began to surface about a backstage altercation involving CM Punk, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and Ace Steel. As with all things professional wrestling, fans have spent the day going back and forth about whether or not this situation is a work or a shoot. Looking at all of the evidence available now, it seems like the fallout is very much leaning in one direction instead of the other. Let’s break down what has been reported so far.
During the media scrum following All Out, Punk made numerous incendiary comments about Hangman Adam Page, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega. The new World Champion began the scrum by speaking about Colt Cabana, unprompted. AEW‘s official feed didn’t show this initial interaction, but an alternative stream from Denise Salcedo’s YouTube page did. His tirade eventually led to lines such as: “The fact that I have to sit up here because we have irresponsible people who call themselves EVPs and couldn’t f***ing manage Target, and they spread lies and bulls*** and put into a medium that I got [Colt Cabana] fired when I have f*** all to do with him. A few moments later, Punk would ask, “what did I ever do in this world to deserve an empty-headed f***ing dumb f*** like Hangman Adam Page to go out on national television and f***ing go into business for himself, for what? What did I do?“
Punk eventually dialed in on the Adam Page incident, leading him to call Hangman “empty-headed” again before accusing him of trying to “get your niche audience that is on the internet to try and hate him for some made-up, bulls*** rumor.” This didn’t sit well with Page, The Young Bucks, or Kenny Omega (the last three being the EVPs Punk repeatedly ripped into), and multiple sources have reported that it escalated into a fight. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter characterized the aftermath as a “melee.” Fightful Select had more details, reporting that one person familiar with the situation said there was “a lot of cursing, a lot of mayhem, and a lot of people not being willing to hash it out.” Fightful Select also reported on the situation as it unfolded, initially writing that Punk had a ton of backstage heat following his comments and that some people backstage had threatened to walk out because of them. Steven Muehlhausen also took to Twitter to add more details while following up on a fan question and insisting that none of this has been a work.
Signs Point To Punk, Page, Young Bucks And Omega Issues Being Real
(The following video contains a good deal of adult language.)
There are many moving parts here, but signs indicate that these issues are real. Either all the reporters who’ve built this story are in on it (which seems highly unlikely), or these problems are of the shoot variety.
It’ll be interesting to see how Tony Khan manages this volatile situation. During the scrum, he spoke about how the animosity would lead to good wrestling matches, but that was presumably before he knew about Nick Jackson reportedly getting knocked unconscious after Ace Steel threw a chair at him or the fight itself.