CM Punk hasn’t wrestled since competing at All Out on September 4th, but he remains one of the most-talked-about figures in the entire industry.
Following his explosive appearance at the post-show media scrum and the backstage brawl with The Elite, many believed that he wouldn’t wrestle for the promotion again. However, fast-forward to May 2023, and a return appears just weeks away. Not that everyone is happy about it.
It has been reported that issues between Punk, Kenny Omega, and The Young Bucks are far from settled, while it has also been noted that the two-time AEW World Champion isn’t popular with a number of top stars.
To combat this, Punk’s return will take place at the same time as a roster split between Dynamite and Collision, which in part is to try to improve locker room harmony. Although the split is said to be much less rigid than previously believed.
One man who has extensive experience in ‘big-money’ locker rooms in WWE and the NFL is Mojo Rawley, real name Dean Muhtadi. Prior to a nine-year spell with WWE, the star was on the books of both the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals, meaning he’s spent a vast portion of his adult life surrounded by competitive athletes, meaning he’s no stranger to seeing locker room conflicts play out first hand.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Nick Hausman for Inside The Ropes, the former Mojo Rawley was asked whether he had ever seen anything like the situation currently unfolding in AEW.
The star began by explaining that the beauty of professional wrestling compared to other sports is that conflict can be manipulated to create on-screen content.
“The great thing about professional wrestling is when there’s real life trauma, and terrible relationships, man, it makes a really good TV. That’s something you can capitalize on in a big way. I’m not inside that locker room, I never have been, I only have some friends that I worked with personally. So you never know how everybody feels first hand how much of it is maybe exacerbated for potential future storylines. That is something that you kind of subconsciously, always have, in the back of your mind.”
Rawley went on to suggest that this can lead to issues not being squashed immediately so they can be used to make money. The former WWE star added that with regard to Punk, the money, and attention he brings to AEW are impossible to ignore, stating that he also had a lot of supporters in the company.
“If there’s like a beef that you kind of want to let go and maybe squash publicly to move on with your life. Maybe ya don’t, because you can save it for a main event paycheck and a main event spot, you know, maybe you just pump the brakes on that and let it be, you really never know how it is. I mean, obviously, the money that that guy can generate and the amount of merch he sells, you can’t really fully ignore that ever, even if everyone hated him, which I know is not the case, because he does have a lot of supporters over there.
You know, again, it just makes for good TV. It’s really hard for someone that’s been in the wrestling business for a while to question if it’s a shoot, if it’s a work and now being out of the business for a little bit, at least from an in-ring perspective, it’s a little hard to tell from the outside. So just makes it a little more exciting. But again, man, it makes for greater ratings. So I’m very curious to see how that situation goes. I’ll be watching as a fan, no question.”
Legal Issues Still A Factor In CM Punk’s AEW Return
Despite CM Punk’s return to AEW moving ever closer, issues remain between the star and The Elite. The most recent report on the subject claimed that nothing had changed regarding the relationship between the two sides. However, legal issues are still “in play.” This is said to have prevented one person involved in the fallout from apologising as no one is able to contact the ‘other side.’
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