More on the backstage incident after AEW All Out

Sep 6, 2022 - by Marc Middleton

As we’ve noted, a backstage altercation turned physical after Sunday’s AEW All Out pay-per-view following the media scrum appearance by AEW World Champion CM Punk, who gave a heated tirade calling out “Hangman” Adam Page, Colt Cabana, and the AEW Executive Vice Presidents Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, who became the inaugural AEW World Trios Champions at All Out, the same night Punk defeated Jon Moxley to become a two-time AEW World Champion. We’ve noted how the situation was described as a “melee” and AEW Producer Ace Steel was there with his longtime friend/student, Punk. The altercation began when The Bucks confronted Punk about his scrum comments, and things then got physical when Punk threw punches to Matt Jackson. There were rumors of Nick Jackson getting “knocked out” during the altercation, and rumors on Nick and Matt sporting cuts/bruises on Monday. Steel then reportedly threw a chair that hit Nick in the eye, and this “knocked out” or “rocked” Nick. Steel also allegedly bit Omega and grabbed his hair. The situation between Steel and Omega was described as a “tussle” but it escalated to where Steel bit Omega and pulled his hair. AEW Producers Pat Buck and Christopher were rumored to be involved, but there were several people trying to deescalate the situation.

In an update, below are more, updated details from PWInsider and Fightful Select. On a related note, a clip has also made the rounds showing Jericho mention the incident to AEW President Tony Khan at the end of his media scrum interview. Jericho embraces Khan before leaving the stage and apparently says something about “shit went down” in the back. Below are the updated details on the fight, along with the Twitter clip of Jericho and Khan:

* Punk returned to his locker room after the media scrum tirade, and that’s where there was the altercation. Omega and The Bucks went to Punk’s locker room to confront him about his scrum comments. There was first the physical altercation with Punk and Nick/Matt

* Sources who are speaking aren’t sure who threw the first punch, but others have said it was Punk. Omega was there for this but he did not get physical with Punk

* Steel arrived and did get physically involved as his wife was in the vicinity of the incident because she was watching over Punk’s dog Larry in the locker room. One source said Steel “shoot cracked Nick Jackson with a chair” with another saying Steel is lucky he’s not in jail. Multiple people within AEW believe Steel will be done with the company after this incident. There was an incredible amount of heat on Steel after the incident, with one source saying they weren’t sure what happened but that “it couldn’t have possibly escalated to hitting someone with a chair”

* A number of AEW staff and security rushed in to break up the melee, separating the Punk side from the Elite side. Once the sides were separated, they continued to argue for some time before The Bucks and Omega left the area of Punk’s locker room. There was a lot of yelling from both sides, and one source said the argument continued with a lot of cursing and shouting until The Elite left the area. Regarding people trying to separate the parties involved, one source outright said it was a situation of “them trying to save lives” and another source previously described it as “a lot of cursing, a lot of mayhem, and a lot of people not being willing to hash it out”

* It was reported earlier that The Bucks were rumored to be sporting cuts/bruises today. PWInsider noted that at least one of The Bucks is sporting a black eye from the incident, and Fightful adds that the black eye on Nick came from Steel throwing the chair at him. The Bucks and Omega left Chicago on Monday afternoon

* There are people within AEW who expect legal ramifications to come of the situation. AEW officials and the people involved in the incident have been tight-lipped on what happened, and still have not publicly commented on the alleged incident, but part of that is due to potential legal issues, according to F4Wonline.com.

* A number of people from AEW are backing one side and blaming the other. Some were backing Omega and The Bucks, given Punk’s comments, feeling Punk’s verbal statements led to the incident and he was the guilty party. Others were backing Punk and questioning why the AEW Executive Vice Presidents stormed into his locker room, placing Punk in a situation where he would be outnumbered and that their decision to go there was partly responsible. Fightful added that some people are siding with both parties, with the feeling that Punk’s comments prompted the situation while others are saying The Elite should not have approached Punk while he was clearly pissed off. However, the large majority of AEW sources seem to think Punk should have expected to get approached over his comments

* It was reported before that Khan was not notified of the incident until after he finished speaking with other talents at the scrum. PWInsider adds that Khan was not present for any part of the backstage incident

* AEW is being very tight-lipped about the situation but the belief among sources talking is that the company is likely trying to determine where the blame should be placed and what their course of action is moving forward. We noted before how there’s been a lot of talk over how Khan recently set a precedent with suspending Eddie Kingston for his backstage altercation with Sammy Guevara in early August, when that incident paled in comparison to how physical Sunday’s incident was, with many feeling like Khan almost has to suspend all or most of the people involved in Sunday’s incident

* Multiple sources continue to insist that this was not a work, at least most of it, if not all. Khan has told AEW talents multiple times in the past that he will not work them

* There were rumors on AAA, IWGP & ROH World Tag Team Champions FTR being involved as they are close with Punk but those rumors are incorrect, according to multiple sources. FTR had already left the building after the pay-per-view ended because they weren’t needed for the scrum. The same goes for any rumors on Hangman being involved as he was gone as well. FTR and Page were not involved

* There’s a lot of questioning how things will go down at Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite taping given the situation involved the new AEW World Champion, the inaugural AEW World Trios Champions and EVPs, and a Producer, all of whom are in positions of being leaders behind-the-scenes

* There’s also been a lot of talk about people being sympathetic to MJF, with the feeling that the backstage drama overshadowed his big return angle that closed the pay-per-view, and now the entire situation is deflecting attention from the pay-per-view itself

* We’re also hearing reactions from around the wrestling world, outside of AEW. One top talent in WWE said they believe the Punk they knew years ago is being highlighted in AEW now. Another WWE talent said if it was a work, it’s one of the most elaborate works they’ve ever seen, and others have also said “job well done to AEW… if this is a work.”

* There’s been a lot of talk about why Khan didn’t make comments to follow-up to what Punk said to bash the EVPs at the scrum, and why he didn’t provide some clarity regarding negative comments made about the people he launched the company with. One veteran main eventer said they consider Punk’s actions to be unprofessional, and they don’t believe he’s the company man or leader he makes himself out to be. They called Punk “selfish and arrogant” and this sentiment was echoed by several sources, including some who worked with Punk on the WWE Backstage show on FS1

A WWE wrestler who previously worked with Punk added, “You can’t expect a lot of people here to have a lot of positive things to say about Punk, and I think he’s aware of that and has probably come to peace with it. I feel like he’s trying to run things there, and it looks like he’s doing it.”

* A WWE official said they agreed with Khan that wrestlers not liking each other isn’t bad for wrestling, but said in situation like what happened on Sunday, that power has to be asserted in order to let everyone know that it wasn’t tolerable. The same person said that kind of thing didn’t happen as often recently in WWE, except for the likes of Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar, because talent knew if they did that while former WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon was there, they probably weren’t going to be welcomed back. People like Alberto Del Rio were fired when similar situation did happen. Another WWE star said if the parties involved don’t put their issues aside and make money with it, then “none of them have business talking about drawing houses or losing fans or interest. They have a good show but this is still the biggest piece of business they’ve done and they have to capitalize.”

For those who missed it, below is a clip of the security guard rushing to deal with the incident that broke out among top AEW talents, along with the full scrum and the aforementioned clip of Jericho and Khan:

3 Responses

  1. Brian says:

    I’m starting to think there is a common denominator in Punk’s problems in ROH, WWE, and now AEW – and it’s not the owners or other talent, but I can’t quite put my finger on what the common denominator might be. Couldn’t be Punk could it?

  2. Jake Allen says:

    The thing is, these are all rumors solely coming from Meltzer and his camp of guys, who have been overtly team Elite since day one of AEW’s inception. I’m not saying they’re liars, and I’m not gonna defend Punk. But I’m certainly gonna wait for an unbiased accounting of what went down to come out before I start getting on my moral high horse and calling out people for being wrong and/or right.

  3. Mizark says:

    Ace Steel is a real one! 💪💪

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