A lot has been said about CM Punk in the months following All Out 2022, but is he really a toxic personality backstage in AEW?
The AEW All Out 2022 post show scrum featured a press conference where a very irate CM Punk.
He started off by question a reporter over their perceived friendship with Colt Cabana and began to run his mouth about the situation between the two men that has lead to legal issues.
He also decided to call out The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. He claimed they were the ones who leaked information about his legal battle with Cabana and questioned their integrity in their roles as Executive Vice Presidents of AEW.
His final jab was toward Adam Page regarding the previously mentioned comments during this AEW Championship feud. He called him a “disgrace to this company” and accused him of jeopardising AEW’s first ever $1,000,000 gate for their match at Double or Nothing 2022.
This came completely out of nowhere and shocked the world. He also went backstage and had a fight with The Young Bucks, which ended in both Punk and The Elite being suspended from the company.
CM Punk has not been seen since, due to an injury keeping him out of the ring. However, there is talk that he could never be brought back to AEW.
He has been called a “cancer” and a “toxic personality” by many on social media and in the wrestling-sphere. Despite this, he also has many fans, who want to see Punk back in the ring again.
In this article, we’ll be looking at what the wrestlers think. We’ll look at which wrestlers think that CM Punk is toxic, and which ones see him as a leader in AEW.
Some Wrestlers Do Think CM Punk Is Toxic
While it has been claimed by many fans that CM Punk is undeniably a toxic influence, very few wrestlers have actually come out and said it.
Most of the talk has come through the dirt sheets, notably through reports by Fightful Select, and Dave Meltzer. While their sources are kept secret, it is thought that Meltzer’s main source in AEW is Chris Jericho.
Despite Punk claiming so during his All Out 2022 press conference, it has been reported by Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez that The Elite were not their sources, in regard to business involving Punk.
While we cannot prove the reliability of the dirt sheet reports, we will only be looking at things said or done by the wrestlers themselves, relating to CM Punk.
While the source has not been named, one former AEW Champion has liked Tweets relating to CM Punk in the past year.
Chris Jericho has not said as much, but has liked Tweets insulting CM Punk, and claiming that the former AEW Champion is “toxic”.
He liked a Tweet in October last year, by user @Ibladedaily. The tweet claimed that Punk became “so toxic you’re not worth having around” and “You cannot bring Punk back w/o ostracizing the rest of the locker room.”
“Imagine that you’re CM Punk. You’ve had one of the most triumphant comebacks ever in the history of wrestling. You’ve been promoted as the star you never got to be in WWE. And within a year, you completely ostracize yourself, becoming so toxic that you’re not worth having around.
You cannot bring Punk back w/o ostracizing the rest of the locker room. He buried them all in public on a night he won the AEW World Championship and sucked the life out of a PPV that cost millions to produce. Let him go to WWE, he’s proven he’s not the man he says he is already.”
While these words are not attributed to Chris Jericho, his liking of the tweet would appear that he agrees with the sentiment.
Seth Rollins is also somebody who has disparaging words to say about CM Punk.
Despite not sharing a locker room in nearly a decade, before Punk walked out of the WWE in 2014, Rollins had some very strong opinions about the former WWE Champion.
In a recent interview with WrestleInc, Seth Rollins said…
“Philly Phil, stay away. Stay away, you cancer, get away from me forever. I don’t like Phil. I don’t like Phil, he’s a jerk. Did we just figure that out? Everybody in the room is like, ‘did he say that?’ Yeah, he’s a jerk. Come on. We figured it out over there, we knew it over here. I don’t want him back. Go do something else. Bye bye. See you later.”
He later clarified his comments, saying that CM Punk was “as selfish as they come”.
Others Say CM Punk Is A Locker Room Leader
However, other wrestlers have spoken glowingly about CM Punk, and await his return with baited breath.
The former WWE Champion was spoken about well by a host of current AEW stars, including Dax Harwood, Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs.
In an interview with WrestleInc, Ricky Starks called Punk “Leadership in the truest form”, and spoke about how he would regularly get advice from the two-time AEW Champion.
He also noted how he is “counting down the days until he makes his return”. Based on just his testament, it doesn’t sound like CM Punk is toxic backstage to me.
“Punk is leadership in the truest form. I’ve asked him countless times about advice and things like that backstage and he’s always willing and open to it. And so I do miss him. I feel his absence, for sure, in the locker room. I’m counting the days until he makes his return …
Punk has gone through multiple phases. He was around for that indie bit, but then he was around when WWE was bringing in indie guys, and he was in that system, and now he is on the other side of what wrestling is, you know, past that.”
Meanwhile, Powerhouse Hobbs, another young star on the AEW roster, echoed these sentiments. He spoke about how Punk sat down with him after his matches to go over them, as well as helped him when his mother passed away.
Speaking during am interview with Josh Martinez for Superstar Crossover;
“I will say this about him, he may get mad. But Punk is one of those dudes. After every match that I have that airs, he always sits down and watches it with me. So we sit down together and we break down stuff. So he may get mad, but I told the whole world, Punk, so you’re that dude. But that match in Arthur Ashe, New York City, for 20,000+ people, was crazy.
That whole night had a special meaning to me and Punk knew that because it was about a month since my mom passed away. So, my emotions and everything were everywhere. Right before the match got announced, or the day the match got announced, you know, he pulled me aside and said, ‘This is gonna be for her. Don’t worry about anything else. Nobody else. It’s just you, me, and her.’ That I will forever be grateful for.”
Meanwhile, Dax Harwood has always spoken the praises of CM Punk, most notably on his podcast “FTR”.
Harwood has previously spoken about how Punk looked after the younger talent, buying them all Starbucks gifts cards, taking them out for food and taking them under his wing in his role as a locker room leader.
He also revealed how he expected to dislike Punk when he first came to AEW, and was surprised when the pair became the best of friends (even teaming together as CMFTR.
He has spoken a lot about Punk in a variety of episodes of the FTR podcast, which you can listen to by clicking this link.
Billy Gunn also recently gave his view on CM Punk’s supposed toxicity in the AEW dressing room.
Speaking on Sportskeeda WrestleBinge, Billy Gunn has given his thoughts on CM Punk’s return, and notced that he doesn’t “feel as he’s as toxic as everybody thinks”.
“So you can probably look at that two ways. Some people are gonna think it’s negative, and some people… I think it’s a positive thing, I really do, because he is still, no matter what goes on behind the scene, he’s still got it. He’s still the guy. He still has huge drawing power, and that’s only gonna help us, so why would you not want a guy in here that can help?
“I don’t feel he’s as toxic as everybody thinks he is, but then again, I’m an old person and I don’t really care about all that other stuff. All I care about is what can he do for the company. What can he do for the talent in the company? He’s still very good at that, and we all have our days where we go a little off-track.
“I can’t speak for anything, what happened with that, because everything I heard is also hearsay, and I don’t speak on hearsay because I’m not a gossiper. But in the general scheme of things, I think it’s a good thing, it really is.”
Given all that information, do you think that CM Punk is toxic? Should be come back to AEW to wrestle against Kenny Omega in a dream match? Let us know what you think down in the comments section below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.