September 4, 2022, will go down as one of the most harrowing nights in AEW’s history, to the point where fans have reason to be concerned about how backstage morale has been since then. CM Punk’s post-All Out media scrum was the talk of the town for two weeks, with an alleged backstage altercation between himself, The Young Bucks, and possibly Kenny Omega dominating headlines. What happened inside the ring during the pay-per-view had fallen by the wayside as AEW tried to handle the fallout of Punk’s atom bomb press conference.
The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega (among others) were suspended pending an investigation into what happened. Punk was forced to vacate the AEW World Championship for a second time in one summer due to injury, and it seemed like everything related to All Elite Wrestling was falling apart. Tribalistic WWE fans swarmed the upstart promotion on social media platforms, with some doomsayers claiming that All Out was the beginning of the end for AEW.
As usual, things weren’t as bad as they were made out to be online. Since then, Tony Khan has pieced together several successful Dynamite shows, with the September 14 episode pulling in 1.2 million viewers with no Punk, no Young Bucks, and no Kenny Omega. A recent update from Fightful Select indicates that talent backstage has been in a better spot since the lead-up to All Out. “A longtime AEW talent that we spoke with said the last three weeks have been much more laid back than how things were in the weeks that led up to AEW All Out,” Fightful reported. “Another veteran claimed that the locker room has been the best over the last three tapings than it’s been in quite a while.” Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the report was that one AEW source felt that it was an “addition by subtraction” situation but wouldn’t elaborate beyond that.
Happy Wrestlers Will Make For A Better AEW
Working in a tense environment, no matter the profession isn’t any fun. Professional wrestling, at its core, is supposed to be entertaining but not at the cost of the well-being of performers. In the month leading up to All Out, various backstage reports indicated that several performers were genuinely unhappy. Malakai Black asked for and was granted a conditional release, for instance, while heat between Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker had also picked up steam. Other stars such as Miro and Anthony Ogogo
Over the last few weeks, there’s been no CM Punk, Kenny Omega, or The Young Bucks backstage, and the addition by subtraction comment is telling. There’s a line to be read between there, and how AEW audiences see things is probably based on their feelings about Punk and the Being The Elite crew. Regardless, it’s excellent news that the AEW roster has been feeling lighter. Hopefully, veterans like Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley will continue to reshape the company’s culture while they have the time and space to do so.
Source: Fightful Select