Tony Schiavone AEW Dynamite WCW Tony Khan Screen grab: AEW Dynamite

Last week, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) made the controversial decision to air security footage featuring a real-life backstage altercation that took place between CM Punk and Jack “Jungle Boy” Perry last August.

And the decision didn’t appear to only be polarizing for fans and analysts, but also within the wrestling promotion itself, as announcer Tony Schiavone appeared to be somewhere between disinterested and despondent directly before and after the footage aired.

Schiavone’s reaction prompted some — including this author — to compare the AEW segment to the downfall of the wrestling promotion he was previously most associated with, WCW. But as it turns out, Schiavone was simply playing his part by selling the on-screen storyline provided for airing the footage.

“I think it’s probably apropos that people can take screenshots and assume anything from a screenshot,” Schiavone said on this week’s episode of his What Happened When podcast. “My facial reaction was trying to put more heat on the [Young] Bucks being a******s within the storyline itself. I didn’t have any reaction to the footage we saw cause I don’t give a damn… I was not upset at the promotion. I was not upset at Tony Khan. I was not pissed off at what we had shown. I was trying to be fully in the moment of the angle… I don’t give a s*** about the footage and still don’t.”

Schiavone proceeded to react to the comparisons between AEW and WCW that the decision to air the real-life footage elicited.

“There’s absolutely no way that you can compare us to WCW,” Schiavone said. “You can’t. You may want to. You may think you’re right. You’re wrong. You cannot compare us to WCW. I was there in both. You were not. So there’s that.”

Nevertheless, the airing of the footage — which came a week after Punk slammed AEW owner Tony Khan and the company during an interview on the MMA Hour — remains plenty polarizing. While the decision paid off from a ratings standpoint, it also resulted in fans in attendance chanting for Punk, which is hardly ideal considering that he now works for WWE after being fired as a result of the altercation.

Also, the footage shown largely backed up the recollection of the altercation that Punk gave during his appearance on the MMA Hour. While AEW tried to insert the footage into a storyline involving the Young Bucks and tag team rival FTR, the segment largely came off as a thinly veiled response from Khan to Punk’s interview a week earlier.

But despite the decision to air the footage appearing to be WCW-esque to many, to Schiavone’s point, that doesn’t mean that AEW is in danger of going out of business anytime soon. Conversely, Schiavone’s selling of the segment was one of the biggest reasons why so many found the comparison to apt, as his look of disgust was one that fans had become accustomed to during his WCW days.

[What Happened When]

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.