AEW and CM Punk are negotiating to buy out the remaining years on his contract, according to Dave Meltzer i this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The news comes less than two months after Punk, Ace Steel, the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega were involved in a backstage fight following Punk’s comments about the Bucks, Omega and others at September’s All Out post-event press conference.
Meltzer said neither Punk nor AEW would comment or deny the story.
Meltzer wrote that AEW and Punk were in talks about the future, but “it looks doubtful he will be back. Those with close knowledge of the situation said they are in talks with Punk about a buyout of the remaining years of his contract which says you that they’re not looking to bring him back. The suspension right now is said to be the no-compete.”
He wrote that the non-compete is obviously due to WWE as they are the only other group that can pay him what he would ask for. Punk is currently injured from his All Out match with Jon Moxley, though with no public timetable for his return.
The length of the contested non-compete clause was not included.
Meltzer pointed out that there is no lock that WWE would want Punk back even with Paul Levesque on a string of surprise returns, noting that they turned down Punk back in the past despite Fox wanting them to.
AEW has yet to publicly state anything related to the fight with Tony Khan refusing to answer questions when asked. It is believed that Omega and the Bucks were suspended after the match while Punk is injured and unable to return to action anyway. It’s unclear if he’s still suspended despite that.
Punk, Omega, and the Bucks were all stripped of their titles in the post-All Out edition of Dynamite without being mentioned by name or why the titles were stripped from them to begin with.
Steel, a backstage producer and close friend of Punk, was released earlier this week in the latest development in a situation that has been slow and without many answers.
Punk debuted for AEW in August 2021 at Chicago’s United Center after nearly eight years away from professional wrestling, returning to the ring a few weeks later against Darby Allin at that year’s All Out.