AEW President Tony Khan has commented on CM Punk being booed during his match at Full Gear, comparing the reaction to that received by The Rock when he faced Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X-8.
At WrestleMania X-8 in 2002, The Rock took part in one of the biggest dream matches of all time when he took on the legendary Hulk Hogan for the first and only time in singles competition in a match billed as ‘Icon vs. Icon’.
At the time, The Rock was one of the company’s top fan favourites, while Hogan was wrestling under his villainous ‘Hollywood’ persona as part of the NWO, alongside Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. During the bout, the unexpected happened when the Toronto crowd put their weight behind Hogan and began booing the ‘Great One’.
By the end of the match, despite his loss to three Rock Bottoms and a People’s Elbow, Hogan was a firm fan favourite. He shook The Rock’s hand in a show of respect, prompting Hall and Nash to make their way to the ring and attack him, ending his membership of the NWO and cementing his turn.
At AEW Full Gear on November 14th, CM Punk received similar treatment from the Minneapolis fans, as they turned on him to support his opponent, Eddie Kingston. On the post-show media scrum, Tony Khan said the two reactions were similar, although there were far more Punk fans at Full Gear than Rock fans at WrestleMania.
“I remember being the only person out of 70,000 cheering for The Rock in Toronto. My friend looked over me like, ‘what are you doing?’ And I was like, ‘somebody has to.’ And that’s how I felt about Punk getting booed tonight (vs. Kingston). There were way, way, way more Punk people tonight than there were Rock people in Toronto, though. I can attest as I was there for both shows.”
On the topic of Toronto, Khan was also asked if AEW would hold a show in Canada and he said he would love to, and he was biased towards the city.
“I would love to come to Canada. There are a number of great wrestling cities all across Canada. It’s a great country for wrestling. I have so much respect for so many Canadian wrestlers from different cities. I’m very biased towards Toronto because my father owns a Four Seasons Hotel there.”
Despite the boos, CM Punk went on to defeat Eddie Kingston with a GTS in a match that was both emotional and violent.
H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the above transcription.