Tony Schiavone has revealed that he was originally going to introduce CM Punk during his monumental return to wrestling on AEW Rampage.
Schiavone is AEW’s evergreen interviewer and holds the microphone for many of the company’s top stars. Speaking on his What Happened When podcast [available early and ad-free at AdFreeShows.com], the former WCW announcer discussed Punk’s debut and how he was originally slated to be involved:
“Tony [Khan] read over the format and the format had said, ‘special guest’ and Tony had referred to him as ‘special guest.’ True to form, Tony did not say CM Punk’s name at all. He contacted me later in the night said, ‘I’m thinking that I’m going to have you introduce him.’ I said, ‘I’d be honored, but we need to talk about what I’m going to say because what I’m going to say should be minimal.'”
“Got to the building, my name is on the format; ‘Tony Schiavone introduces special guest.’ CM Punk arrived, I was told he was in his room. The room was marked ‘Special Guest.’ He arrives, has a couple of people with him. I sat there and talked with him for a little bit. Tony Khan came in and we all sat and talked. It was decided, and I think rightfully so, even though I wanted to be a part of this, it was rightfully so that he would come out on his own.”
Despite Schiavone’s involvement being nixed in the debut, he went onto say that CM Punk asked for him to interview wrestling’s prodigal son on his AEW Dynamite debut in Milwaukee:
“He said, ‘I want you to interview me. We’ll do it on Dynamite. I want you to hold the microphone, I don’t want to jerk it out of your hands like people have done.’ During Rampage, I’m one of three people in the back sat at the Go position. There’s Tony Khan, the coach in the middle, me on the right. He stayed in the back, talked to everybody, and was very nice, as you might imagine. I talked to him about his promo and he said, ‘I really don’t know. I’ve been thinking about so many things to say and I don’t know what I’m going to say.'”
“We just did know that the one thing he was going to touch on was Darby, to set up the pay-per-view match. From then on, we had no idea what he was going to say or how he was going to say it. To be honest, if he did, he didn’t lead us on. It really looked like he was really thinking about it hard and it had weighed on him for some time. He had been gone for seven years, he’s such a star and a great talker and a great worker. You’re back in Chicago and you sell out, YOU, sell out the building just on a rumor. That’s star power, buddy.”
CM Punk will bring that star power back to Chicago for his first match since the 2014 Royal Rumble match when he goes one on one with the relentless Darby Allin at All Out.