CM Punk’s post-All Out 2022 media scrum comments and the repercussions of them may go down as one of the most infamous incidents in all of AEW.
During a recent interview with Wrestling Inc., former WCW President and RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff spoke candidly about Tony Khan’s handling of the situation as well as his back-and-forths with the AEW President.
You can check out some of the highlights from Bischoff’s interview below:
On Tony Khan’s handling of the All Out situation: “I hesitate to comment on things like that because there’s so much going on behind the scenes that none of us know about. So to sit on the sidelines and take shots, or even comment objectively or trying to be objective about something you know nothing about, is just unproductive. I’ve been on the receiving end of that enough. I don’t want to do it to somebody else. So I don’t really want to comment too much more on it than I already have. I think it was an unfortunate incident. I think in a way Tony set himself up for it. I think he’s probably learned a lot since then and hopefully won’t make that same type of mistake again. I did feel bad for him. I had empathy for him. I could imagine how he felt in that moment, and it had to be a horrible few minutes for him, whether he set himself up for it or is responsible for it or not. Nobody’s responsible for what somebody else does and says. CM Punk took that upon himself, but creating this situation and the environment that led to it, that’s on Tony. And he can accept that or not accept it. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve got no dog in the hunt.
“But look, it appears as though CM Punk is gone. I think I was the one famously that came out and said that CM Punk would be a huge financial flop and hell, I’m right. He’s got to be one of the biggest financial flops. Tony and that scrum, “He was a part of this pay-per-view and it did this and he was a part of that and it did this.” And it’s basically saying that nobody else on that pay-per-view had anything to do with that success. It was all because of CM Punk. I tend to disagree with that. Do I think Punk probably had some uplift in ratings temporarily? Sure he did, but it didn’t last long. That’s in black and white. You can’t argue that part. Now you can argue, I guess if Tony wants to, he can argue incremental success over a period of a couple pay-per-views or licensing or merchandising or whatever. You can argue that, but you’re assigning a lot of that increase in success to one guy, and I don’t know that that’s fair or accurate, but, again, it’s none of my business. I don’t really care.”
On his back-and-forths with Tony Khan: “I do want Tony to be successful. I take personal exception because I’m a human being. I have feelings. I have an ego. I do. It’s relatively healthy, but at times it gets a little out of whack and I got to check myself. But when Tony Khan came out and he kept making comments, ‘WCW, but I’m not going to make the same mistakes they made.’ Well, dude. And I didn’t react to that initially. I just said, ‘It’s just Tony being Tony. He’s trying to get himself over. He is trying to get his company over. I understand that.’ But when he came out and made this ridiculous comment about if Ted Turner knew 1% about the wrestling business as Tony Khan did then WCW would still be around. That, to this day, still pisses me off. It was such disrespect to Ted Turner, first of all. Secondly, Tony doesn’t have a clue what he was talking about back then. The only thing Tony knows about what happened to WCW is what Dave Meltzer told him. And Dave Meltzer has no clue. So for Tony to come out and say something like that was disrespectful to Ted, to me — not to me, to WCW as a whole. And at that point I kind of went, ‘I’ve sat back and taken this silliness for a while now, and I’m just going to come out and say what I feel, which is shut up and wrestle.’ Quit comparing yourself, Tony, to WWE, because he hasn’t done it a lot lately because I think he’s kind of figured out that’s not a good idea. But in the beginning it was… I heard, and I’m not going to mention names here because I don’t want to start more crap than already exists, but a very prominent personality on the roster come out and say, ‘Yeah, within one year we’re going to overtake WWE.’ And I love that kind of bravado and challenge if you are really competing. But it’s like me saying, ‘Me and my buddies here that like to play flag football over Thanksgiving in Wyoming, we’re going to beat the Philadelphia Eagles! We’re better than them. We really are! Well, we’re never going to play them. We’re not going to really compete with them, but we’re better than them.’”
“And that to me was like, ‘Oh man. Don’t do that. Don’t do that.’ And I kept thinking that all the time I’m reading this stuff and hearing Tony talk about being better than WWE and kind of crapping on the competition, or even referring to them as competition, which I found kind of hilarious. But at that point I’d heard enough and I’d kind of taken enough, and I just came out and said, ‘Man, just shut up and wrestle. Do your thing. Be a better product. Quit talking about being a better product and just be a better product. Let the audience decide if you are a better product or not because they will.’ The audience will vote with their remote. That’s a great thing about television. If you’re better, they’ll follow you. If you’re better, they will come. We prove that. It can happen. But only if you deliver, not if you just talk about it. And that comment from Tony about Ted Turner and disrespecting Ted and disrespecting WCW just kind of tipped me over. I vomited my emotions and my reactions publicly, and that’s what kind of started the whole thing. But I don’t regret it. I know I was right.”