CM Punk has the internet wrestling community buzzing again following his response to Dax Harwood's plea for Punk and The Elite to work out their differences in All Elite Wrestling.
On the teaser episode of Harwood's FTR with Dax Harwood podcast this week (h/t WrestlingInc's Bon Adamson), Dax said the following about his desire for Punk, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks to get on the same page:
"This is my plea to all four guys. Please find a way to make it work. If we can make it work, we can set up the future of professional wrestling for a long time and we can change the course of professional wrestling for a very long time. When you think about it, unselfishly, we're doing this for 20-30 years down the road so guys and girls can make a living."
The Pro Wrestling Podcast Instagram account posted part of Harwood's quote, and Punk responded in the comments, writing, "Duh."
It is unclear if Punk's comment means he is in agreement with Harwood and wants to work things out, or if it is simply some of his trademark sarcasm, but it has wrestling fans talking either way.
After Punk defeated Jon Moxley at All Out in September to become AEW world champion for a second time, he took part in an explosive press conference in which he took aim at Omega, The Young Bucks, "Hangman" Adam Page and Colt Cabana.
It was later reported by Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, as well as other notable wrestling journalists, that Punk got into a physical altercation backstage with Omega and The Young Bucks, leading to the suspension of all involved.
Omega and The Bucks have since returned, but while Punk is still believed to be under contract with AEW, his future with the company is very much in doubt.
The first official episode of FTR with Dax Harwood dropped Thursday, and Harwood expressed his belief that any negative perception some AEW wrestlers may have had about Punk previously was largely erased once he arrived and they got to know him (beginning at the 28:45 mark):
"I think they saw that he was either a different person than what he used to be or the stories weren't necessarily true. I said he was misunderstood, and I do believe he was misunderstood, but maybe he is too understood. ... He's gonna fight for what he believes is right, and if he's wrong about something, then he will go down in flames and he'll admit that he's wrong. But if he thinks he's right, he's gonna fight for it. I think that's admirable, some people may not."
Also, beginning at the 1:27:45 mark of the podcast (h/t Fightful's Jeremy Lambert), Harwood discussed the All Out altercation. He noted that while he was not present to witness it, Punk called him after it happened, and he personally believes what has been reported about the incident does not include all of the facts:
"Obviously, I wasn't there. Who I perceive to be God is the only person who really knows the truth. Everyone is going to have their own version in their head. We've all done it before, we've made what we perceive to be the truth. What I've heard that is reported, there are elements of truth in it, but then there are also some things that raise a red flag to me. It seems like we're only getting a portion of the story or what this journalist wants to put out, whether he has a bias or grudge against one of the parties, that's just how I felt.
"I also knew that I didn't know the whole story. I also felt that the stories that I heard from a few people, I don't feel like they would blatantly lie to me. I do think there are bits of truth, but I also believe that some fans have read too much into it and I think they should let what happened, happen, and it die down. When it's all said and done, I can't tell you that I know 100% of the truth and I can't tell you that the journalist reporting is 100 percent of the truth. I know what I perceive to be the truth and from the things I've read and heard, there is partial truth and partial things that are a bit exaggerated."
After being out of wrestling for more than seven years following his WWE departure, Punk generated a ton of new interest in AEW when he made his debut with the company in August 2021.
He went on to have many memorable matches and moments with the likes of Moxley, Page, MJF and Darby Allin, and established himself as one of the most entertaining parts of AEW programming.
An on-screen rivalry between Punk and The Elite could potentially be huge for AEW because of the interest in their real-life issues, but it is difficult to predict if there is any getting past what happened between them at All Out.
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