AEW CM Punk Tony Khan Screen grab: AEW

One week after CM Punk opened up about his departure from AEW last year for the first time, Tony Khan is firing back.

As was announced on Saturday’s episode of AEW Collision, Wednesday’s episode of AEW Dynamite will include previously private security footage of the backstage altercation between CM Punk and fellow wrestler Jack “Jungle Boy” Perry, which ultimately resulted in AEW firing Punk for cause. Speaking to Sports Illustrated‘s Justin Barrasso, Khan confirmed that the footage of the real-life incident will, in fact, air and that the segment won’t be a bait and switch for viewers.

“AEW has a great track record on delivering what we advertise, and it is real footage,” the AEW owner and president said. “The Young Bucks will show backstage footage from All In, the most important event in AEW history–the world record-holder for the most tickets ever sold for any wrestling record, 81,035 total–and it was an important night backstage, as well.”

As Khan noted, the footage from the All-In pay-per-view will be presented by the Young Bucks, who were reportedly involved in their own real-life altercation with Punk in 2022. While the Young Bucks — who consist of AEW executive vice presidents Matt and Nick Jackson — have been playing heel authority figures on screen for the past few months, the timing of Khan’s decision to release the footage seems hardly coincidental.

Just last week, Punk discussed his exit from AEW for the first time while appearing on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. Over the course of his interview, the 45-year-old WWE superstar shared his side of the story from the altercation with Perry — “I didn’t punch anybody. I just choked somebody a little bit,” he said — while repeatedly expressing his belief that Khan isn’t qualified to run a wrestling promotion.

“I turned to Tony, and I said, ‘This place is a f***ing joke, man. You’re a clown. I quit,’” Punk told Helwani of the aftermath from his fight with Perry.

While it will be interesting to see how much — if any — of the security footage contradicts Punk’s side of the story, it’s notable that AEW no longer appears to be distancing itself from Punk. In fact, Khan even went as far as to admit that he was using the seven-month-old security footage as a marketing opportunity for both Dynamite and the company’s upcoming Dynasty pay-per-view.

“The decision is based on putting on the best show for AEW, as well as driving interest for Dynamite and our Dynasty pay-per-view on April 21,” Khan told Sports Illustrated. “This is real-life footage that affected many people, and it will air for the first time on TBS during Dynamite.”

It will be worth watching how many viewers for Dynamite and pay-per-view purchases Punk — who no longer works at AEW — is able to drive and what that means for the company’s long-term outlook. But in the meantime, an already fascinating week in the world of pro wrestling is about to get even more interesting.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.