Despite it appearing a certainty that CM Punk would be returning to AEW a little over 24 hours ago, things now seem to be much less cut and dried.
Punk was removed from all promotional material for AEW Collision — the show which will reportedly feature him as the headline star — and he is said to be at odds with Tony Khan over the return of his friend Ace Steel.
In recent months it has been reported that Punk will make his return to AEW on the debut episode of Collision at the United Center in Chicago, the same venue where he made his AEW debut. It should be noted that the location of the debut episode is yet to be confirmed.
With Punk heading to Collision and a brand split being put in place, speculation has been ruling wild over how much influence the star had over the roster for his new home.
On the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez ran down the names featured on the promotional material. Looking at the list of names including Samoa Joe, Powerhouse Hobbs, Miro, Andrade El Idolo, and Thunder Rosa, Meltzer suggested that Hobbs, like FTR, will in theory feature prominently alongside Punk.
Meltzer added that he has been led to believe that Punk asked for Andrade to be moved to Collision.
“Will Hobbs, he’s supposed to be one of the stars of the show. He likes Punk, so he was gonna be one of the guys like FTR, were gonna be along with Punk the big stars of the show. [Samoa] Joe, was going to be the first opponent for Punk, originally, so he was going to be on the show as a regular. It was going to be the Punk show as we’ve talked about.
I mean, Andrade [El Idolo] was another one where, it was kind of the same thing, I think and I could be wrong about this one, is my impression was that Punk wanted him on the show, and it makes sense because of his heat with Sammy Guevara, and Sammy would be on the other show. That was just the way things were going to be.”
The veteran journalist added that the approach seems to be to move those with heat backstage to Collision.
“[Thunder] Rosa is another one. It’s almost like everyone who has heat with anyone was gonna be on Collision. You know Rosa had the big heat with Jamie Hayter and Britt [Baker], and others too — So this is how we solve our problems. All the people that there’s problems with, we’ll put on Collision and we’ll have CM Punk as the big star.”
AEW Collision Debuting On June 17th With Or Without CM Punk
On the May 17th episode of Dynamite, Tony Khan revealed some of the cities that AEW will be heading to throughout June and July. Although there was no mention of the debut episode of Collision.
Khan announced that AEW heads to Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, June 24, followed by FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on Thursday, June 29.
They’ll travel to Brandt Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, for the July 8 episode and then remain in Canada on July 15 for Collision at Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Lastly, it was announced that Collision will be live at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday, July 22.
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