All Elite Wrestling: A Confrontation in the Past Leads to Present-Day Controversies

CM Punk (left) and Jack Perry (right). / Sportskeeda


By Sean Markisic & Luis Angel Perez Martinez


     All Elite Wrestling is a wrestling promotion run by CEO and President Tony Khan, which was kickstarted in the fall of 2019. A controversy that has once again been the talking point all over the pro-wrestling scene, and not in a positive light. In a recent episode on April 10, during the broadcast of “AEW Dynamite” on TBS, the promotion showed a real backstage altercation between Jack Perry and their former employee Phillip Brooks (“CM Punk”). The altercation occurred in Aug. 2023. This entire controversy was a bad look for AEW, and its impact is still felt on the company to this day; it showed pettiness and an obvious attempt to sabotage Brook’s reputation.

     The idea of AEW wanting to air the video of the altercation stemmed from April 1, when current WWE superstar CM Punk was interviewed by Ariel Helwani, a sports journalist for MMA Hour, and asked him about the situation with Jack Perry. This was significant because this was the first time that Punk publicly spoke about the situation. 

   Punk explained that it all stemmed from a taping of one of the company’s shows, “AEW Collision,” where Perry wanted to do a segment in which he is thrown through a car window just so he can take time off. This led to Punk warning him against doing that because the other wrestlers use rental cars as a form of transportation, and by breaking the glass of a rental car he would be ruining it for the other wrestlers in the locker room. It started back on Aug. 27 at Wembley Stadium. During the pre-show of the event, Perry had a match against Hook, and there was a moment where Perry pointed out the hood of a limousine and proceeded to say: “You see that right here? Real Glass. Go cry me a river.” He then pointed it out to the cameraman, and Hook proceeded to slam him on the windshield of a car. 

   Based on the footage, CM Punk who was getting ready for his match backstage knew that Perry was taking a shot at him and decided to confront him about it. Punk met Perry right after returning from the ring. Punk went up to Perry and asked “Why do you intend to do these pointless stunts that don’t add anything to the match,” to which Perry replied, “What are you gonna do about it?” This led Punk to punch Perry, and the fight got broken up. 

   Punk also tried taking a swing at AEW’s CEO Tony Khan, and Khan responded afterward, “I feared for my life.” Both wrestlers were upset, and Punk quickly went up to Khan and told him he officially quit the company. 

   For AEW, having a pay-per-view in Wembley was a big deal, and instead of looking at it as an accomplishment, it was quickly overshadowed by backstage drama. This altercation lives in infamy known as “Brawl In”–fans and wrestlers alike now only focus on the behind-the-scenes fight.

    Punk still respected Khan, but Khan was distraught when Punk left and held a grudge against Punk. He held it for many months, while during that time Punk went back to the WWE and was having more success than his previous run in AEW. It may have seemed Khan wanted to possibly sabotage his reputation.

   When the MMA Hour Episode with Punk was released, it seemed from fans that his former employer wasn’t happy with the comments Punk had made about AEW. This made Khan decide to promote the real-life footage of the altercation live on television, and many theorized it was meant for Khan’s retaliation. It was petty to even do this despite the show being on the decline in terms of ratings, as well as bringing something up in the past.

   On the April 10 episode of “Dynamite,” they proceeded to show the footage to the public and the controversy blew up. Fans took to social media to point at AEW, stating that it is childish behavior from a boss who is running the second biggest pro-wrestling company in North America. They also stated it was not worth bringing up since CM Punk left and signed with WWE.  

    As for the employers, Executive Vice Presidents Matthew and Nicholas Jackson reportedly didn’t want to take part in the segment in which they presented the footage. One of the commentators, Tony Schiavone, when the footage finished airing, looked very upset by putting his hand over his face and stayed silent.

   The decision on the part of AEW to air the altercation has had a significant impact on the company’s reputation. Moving forward, AEW may want to focus on prioritizing integrity and professionalism. Most importantly, AEW needs to focus on growing their company, and not become distracted and reactionary to comments being made about them.


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