Issues involving CM Punk and members of AEW bubbled to the surface on Saturday night after Collision went off the air. Punk got on the house microphone and proceeded to run down Adam “Hangman” Page, stating that the former AEW champion didn’t move merchandise and proceeded to mock those that called themselves “the heart and soul of AEW”.
No one was under any illusions that the hard feelings on both sides were water under the bridge, but the choice by Punk to take aim at one of the company’s stars in public fashion only served to reinforce the internal strain that the All Out drama still has on the company.
— Jase (@itsmejase_) August 13, 2023
To add to the story, Dave Meltzer reported that Page was scheduled to attend Collision and tape an interview (but not appear on Collision) and was informed when he got there, that he could not be at the building. Additional reporting from Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio (WOR) and Sean Ross Sapp at Fightful (as well as conveyed to POST Wrestling) is that there was an issue involving Ryan Nemeth who was booked for Saturday’s show but then, he was told he was not needed. Upon Punk’s return to AEW in June, Nemeth had tweeted, “Literally the softest man alive”, which everyone took as a reference to Punk. Meltzer and Fightful reported that an incident went down on June 17 on Punk’s first night back with Nemeth with Bryan Alvarez on WOR noting that this past weekend was not the first time this happened to Nemeth since Collision launched in June. We had heard over the weekend of several people in similar situations and Meltzer shared that Matt Hardy and Christopher Daniels were among those that showed up at past editions of Collision and were told they were not needed. It’s bad enough that talents are booked for a show and turned away, but Daniels is also the head of talent relations, and is stunning that someone in that position would be subject to that treatment.
Nemeth had been a regular on AEW Dark & Dark Elevation but has not wrestled any matches since those shows folded and last wrestled at the ROH tapings in May.
It is not outright stated that Punk is the lone person involved in this, but the picture painted is that he is the one calling the shots at Collision. The promo on Page connected the dots on the record when coupled with the news of Page’s inability to fulfill his booking for the interview at the venue.
Nick Hausman at Haus of Wrestling appears to have the Punk side of the argument noting that Nemeth was removed from Collision as Punk “is said to not be looking for any drama backstage at Collision and felt Nemeth’s previous comments showed his willingness to unnecessarily stir the pot in the locker room.”
Hausman added that Daniels not being present at Collision is because Punk is said to equate Daniels and Ace Steel together with Steel being unable to attend and therefore, Daniels shouldn’t either. The difference is Daniels is the head of talent relations and ultimately if this is Punk lobbying for these subtractions from the Collision locker room, it’s not without Tony Khan’s approval for these moves to be made.
Finally, Hausman was told that Punk regretted the comments about Hangman Page and that the comments “did not come across how he would have liked them and that he felt bad about them afterward.”