New details are being revealed on the backstage incident at AEW All Out, including notes on potential legal issues, suspensions and more.
For context and for those who missed it, you can click here for the full details that were previously reported on the incident and you can click here for another in-depth update from Thursday night on the “melee incident,” which put CM Punk and AEW Producer Ace Steel against AEW Executive Vice Presidents Kenny Omega, Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson. As noted, AEW President Tony Khan opened this week’s Dynamite by vacating the AEW World Title, which Punk won from Jon Moxley at All Out, and the AEW World Trios Titles, which The Elite won at All Out by defeating Adam Page, Alex Reynolds and John Silver. A tournament is being held to crown a new World Champion, while Death Triangle defeated Best Friends on Dynamite to become the new Trios Champions. A third-party investigation is being conducted to find out exactly what happened on Sunday night at the NOW Arena. Before now there has been speculation on Punk and Steel possibly being fired or suspended, and it was also reported that “everyone involved” were being suspended, including Omega, Nick, Matt, AEW Producer Pat Buck, Talent Relations Head Christopher Daniels, Michael Nakazawa, and Brandon Cutler.
In an update, new details are being revealed on the incident, and the ongoing third-party investigation. It’s believed that AEW will not address the specifics of the incident, and Khan’s address on AEW Dynamite was somewhat vague due to potential legal issues. The following updates were reported by the Wrestling Observer:
* Omega and The Young Bucks have been suspended, according to The Observer. It’s not clear what the punishment is for the others involved, but it’s believed that suspensions and/or departures will come after the third-party investigation is done. The Observer adds that everyone involved was either suspended or told not to come to Dynamite on Wednesday, including a number of people whose participation was actually trying to break the fight up. The list of those involved and not brought to TV were Punk, Steel, The Bucks, Omega, Buck, Daniels, Cutler, and Nakazawa. It does not appear at this point that anyone has been fired, but those who were believed to be involved in some form, and witnesses, were taken off the road
* We noted before that the third-party investigation includes statements from everyone involved. The Observer adds that the independent firm is doing video interviews with everyone in the room, which includes the names mentioned above, and many others, including a number of “neutral parties” who were in the room and are believed to have seen everything as it happened. It was noted before that AEW Senior Vice President & Chief Legal Officer Megha Parekh was present for the incident, and that she reportedly entered the room with The Bucks. Now word is that MJF was also there as one of the “neutral witnesses” in the room. The Observer adds that it wasn’t clear if The Bucks came with Parekh, or if she was there for another reason
* There continues to be talk of “a lot of potential legal issues” coming out of the incident. The legal threats are why Khan didn’t announce anything regarding the actual wrestlers involved on Dynamite, only mentioning that the titles were vacant
* While the suspensions were handed down this week, all long-term decisions regarding any punishment are pending until the third-party investigation wraps up. There still could be outside legal proceedings regarding the fight, from different sides
* It’s believed that some people involved want to talk and tell their side of the story when they can, but AEW as a company is not expected to address the specifics of what happened. All parties involved were told not to talk about the incident. Plenty of stories have made the rounds regarding what happened from people not involved but who were there and saw or heard about most of it, but it appears no actual person involved has talked, but at least someone very close to the Punk side has talked to The Observer. The key witnesses have had similar stories
* The story about The Bucks breaking down Punk’s door or kicking down the door to get in is reportedly not true, according to multiple people who would know, given they got in late and there was no door broken down. We noted before how after that story initially came out, it was later said that the Punk side was softening their stance on the whole “kicked the door down” talk
The claim was that The Bucks did come in the room without knocking, with the Punk side saying they barged in, and an argument started. Punk punched Matt, perhaps multiple times. From those close to Punk, Omega and The Bucks were in the room right away, and they claimed it was clear a fight was going to happen, so Punk threw the first punch
Regarding Steel’s wife Lucy Guy being in the room, it’s been noted that she was there taking care of Punk’s dog, and that Ace was saying he originally got physical because he was worried about his wife’s well-being. The Observer now adds that Lucy had a broken foot from a previous injury and couldn’t move well, and now a fight was breaking out right in front of her. There’s a belief from one witness that the incident happened so fast that Omega and The Bucks may not have even realized Lucy was there. Steel got involved quickly, and hit Nick in the eye with a chair, and Nick was said to be shaken up. Steel’s wife was not injured in the incident. Nick had a black eye, Punk was bleeding again from the cut he suffered in the All Out main event. Omega had his hair pulled and was bitten by Steel, and the explanation given for that is Steel believed Omega was trying to crossface or choke him, so Steel bit him as he was trying to separate Nick and Steel
It was also said that pretty much the only points universally agreed on is that The Bucks came into the room without knocking, both sides were angry, Punk punched Matt, Steel hit Nick with the chair, and then pulled Omega’s hair, and bit him. At this point more people were in the room
* One wrestler who was next door to Punk’s room said it sounded like they were shooting an angle, but when he came in to watch it, he was told and it was very clear given the state of everyone, that this was not an angle.
* It was noted that earlier in the day before All Out, there was something involving Punk and another wrestler. The un-named wrestler told The Observer that he was sad about how everything went down and he didn’t want to acknowledge or talk about the incident
* It’s been said my multiple sources how two weeks ago when Punk returned to work, he said the press conference after All Out would be interesting
* Punk’s dog Larry reportedly got loose inside the arena earlier in the day, before the All Out pay-per-view went on the air, while the Zero Hero pre-show was starting. It was said that the dog got loose and headed for the ring, in front of the fans. Photographer Scott Lesh has photos of a security guard helping Punk with the dog at this link
* The Bucks and Omega were scheduled to speak to the media, alongside Khan at the scrum, but the fight prevented that from happening
* Several wrestlers not affiliated with either side have said that they feel Punk and Steel have to be let go. Some were upset with how Punk essentially buried AEW with his comments on Adam Page, a former AEW World Champion, never doing anything in the business. This was seen as Punk saying AEW’s history, big show main events, and World Title are meaningless. Others feel like Punk’s comments ran down the contributions The Bucks made, regarding the birth and growth of AEW
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