CM Punk’s long-awaited AEW return is heavily in doubt, and the latest tension between himself and the company reportedly hinges on the rehiring of his friend and trainer Ace Steel.
CM Punk hasn’t been seen in All Elite Wrestling since his involvement in the now-infamous brawl following All Out, and while it seemed his return was coming soon, those plans may now be in jeopardy.
In April, reports indicated that despite continued tensions with top stars such as The Elite and Chris Jericho, CM Punk was making his way back to AEW. He reportedly met with Jericho to smooth over tensions, and it was expected that he would be heavily featured as part of the new Saturday night broadcast of AEW Collision debuting in June.
Collision was officially announced as part of Warner Bros Discovery’s upfront today, but Punk’s name was nowhere to be seen. While a WBD email with links to its press release made mention of his name, the company adamantly denied that Punk was involved with Collision in any way when reached for comment.
Reports indicate that Punk was originally scheduled to be part of the upfront, but tension between himself and All Elite Wrestling reportedly came to a head when he was told that Ace Steel would not be able to be backstage at television tapings as was originally discussed. Punk had been pushing for the company to rehire Steel to be involved in Collision, and his name was floated during a meeting between Punk and Chris Jericho.
Now, an update from Nick Hausman for Haus of Wrestling reveals that not only has Steel been re-hired by All Elite Wrestling, he’s been working for the company again for months. He was fired back in October after an investigation into the All Out brawl, where Steel reportedly threw a chair at Nick Jackson and bit Kenny Omega.
Ace Steel Has Been Back In AEW For “Several Months”
According to the report, Steel was hired “several months ago” and was told that he would be working with Tony Khan on creative for the company. However, because his presence backstage would upset people after his involvement in the All Out brawl, he has not been on the road and was instead working remotely.
Hausman writes that there was an understanding on Punk’s side that once Collision was up and running, Steel would return to the road to work as an agent on the brand. However, the decision was made on Tuesday that Steel would not be going back on the road, and Punk learned of the decision shortly after it was made. After miscommunication from lawyers, Punk was removed from the Collision announcement.
The report goes on to make it clear that Punk is not gone from AEW, and that he’s motivated in wanting to help the company grow. His relationship with AEW President Tony Khan remains positive, and communication between the two men is still open as they have no issues with one another.