The third-party investigation into the AEW All Out backstage fight reportedly wrapped up last week, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The investigation ended with the departure of former AEW producer Ace Steel, the company working on a buy-out of CM Punk’s contract, and the upcoming return of AEW Executive Vice Presidents Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, as revealed in a promo that aired on this week’s AEW Dynamite. The Elite and Don Callis were backstage for the Dynamite taping in Norfolk, and Callis was backstage for last Friday’s Rampage in Jacksonville.
While not confirmed, it’s believed that The Elite will return to action at the AEW Full Gear pay-per-view on Saturday, November 19, perhaps in a match against AEW World Trios Champions Death Triangle.
The talk of Punk not returning to AEW continued backstage at Dynamite this week, with several top people saying he won’t be back. There were also top names who were saying they wouldn’t work with Punk, with ROH World Champion Chris Jericho being the name mentioned the most. For those who missed it, you can click here for a new report on Jericho confronting Punk backstage after the All Out incident.
“Punk won’t be back. His value on screen isn’t one percent worth the hassle and black cloud he causes backstage,” noted a top AEW talent.
Another top AEW star noted that the team has decided Punk is out and regardless of some being willing to work with him, “the collective decided that he was voted off the island.”
We noted earlier this week, via Wrestling Inc’s Nick Hausman, that Punk’s camp reached out with a few details on the All Out incident, and Punk’s communication with AEW officials since then. You can click here for that report. The report noted that when Punk’s dressing room door was kicked open, the door hit Punk’s dog Larry in the mouth, loosened some of his teeth, and then at a pre-scheduled veterinarian appointment days later, it was determined that the teeth had to be removed.
Regarding the dog story from Punk’s camp, it was noted by the Wrestling Observer that this was heavily denied by multiple people. The Observer added that if this story came up in the investigation, there would be no way to bring back The Bucks and Omega. There was also some speculation that “there is no way that story wouldn’t have surfaced in nearly eight weeks since the incident happened.”
The Observer noted that the story on the dog being hit with the door had not been told to anyone, at least that they are aware of, until the story broke on October 26 via Punk’s camp, which many suggested was timed due to The Bucks and Omega returning to AEW TV, and perhaps with the result of the investigation being what it was, an attempt to take them down when the investigation did not do so. It should be noted that Punk’s dog may have had his teeth removed by the veterinarian, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the dog was injured when the door was kicked open as it was so heavily denied and had never come up previously.
“A completely made up story,” said one person close to the other side in regards to the story put out by Punk’s camp this week. “He’s (Punk) losing (in the investigation results) and is desperate. There was a multiple weeks long investigation and this was oddly not discovered? Hmm. Also, it’s so happened to be mentioned the moment there was news about (the Bucks & Omega) possibly coming back? It’s insane that people would even humor this.”
Another person there at the time of the incident said it’s very clear that the story about the dog never happened. One other person who was in the room seconds after the incident started, who is not affiliated with either side, although ended up negative to Punk after it all went down, added, “The dog story is a complete lie. When the altercation was happening Punk was a total psycho and could’ve cared less about the dog. Kenny picked the dog up to save him from being hurt and gave him to Megha [AEW Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Megha Parekh]. Megha was holding the dog screaming at Punk to stop. Punk didn’t even register that his `baby’ was being held by a stranger in the middle of a fight. It didn’t stop him one bit.”
The source said they saw everything exactly as it happened and said, “They never spoke to Lucy Guy (the only person in the room who didn’t work regularly for AEW other than the security), cause she was a non factor. Sat in the corner the whole time as her husband was throwing chairs, punches and biting Kenny.”
The claims from Punk’s camp also noted that no one from AEW had reached out to Punk since the incident. The Observer points to how lawyers were immediately involved from the fallout of the incident, and all parties were told not to talk. To this day, every person either involved or directly or present for the incident, except for Steel’s wife Lucy Guy, has not been allowed to talk publicly. Steel’s wife has also not talked publicly, but of all the people who witnessed the incident, she is the only one who can publicly give her version of the story, at least at this point. Steel’s wife was not interviewed for the investigation, according to multiple sources.
Several other people have said they hope they will be able to give their sides to the story at some point, but now that the investigation has wrapped up, no one is allowed to publicly talk about anything related to the incident, and they are supposedly not allowed to talk privately about what happened.
Regarding the buy-out of Punk’s contract, when it was first reported that the two sides were negotiating a buy-out a few weeks back, at that point the buy-out was not completed because the two sides were not in agreement on the terms of a non-compete clause, essentially a timeframe where Punk would not be allowed to go to WWE. Punk suffered a torn triceps in the All Out match with AEW World Champion Jon Moxley, and there was a claim made from Punk’s side that the injury, which led to surgery, was worsened in the backstage fight with Omega and The Bucks.
There has been a lot of speculation on Punk and/or Steel possibly working with WWE again, but The Observer notes that as of a few days ago, WWE officials had not talked with either man. Legally WWE is not allowed to talk with Punk as he’s still under contract to AEW.
It was noted that Steel just wanted to move past the situation, but was “bummed” that it happened, and the online harassment he’s received was described as “gigantic,” but that also goes for every person involved in the incident.
The Punk injury was forcing him to be on the shelf for some time, and some saw that as a chance for time to heal all wounds. However, that wasn’t happening, and the dog story then heated things up again, and led to some upset talent who thought the situation was over when the investigation ended last week.
Stay tuned to WrestlingHeadlines.com for more.