All Elite Expendables

Jack Perry, the former Jungle Boy in All Elite Wrestling, is back in the news this week, but the murky situation surrounding his status with the Tony Khan-owned organization isn’t any clearer or provided any indication if he will actually resurface in the company again.

The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer addressed the scenario in a recent edition of his newsletter, claiming that Perry, who was involved in the backstage brawl at Wembley Stadium with CM Punk that saw the real-life Phil Brooks fired, apologized to Tony Khan in hopes of opening the door to get back on television. Perry vehemently denied the report, claiming that he never issued an apology to his boss and didn’t hear from Tony for two months after the backstage fight. The Observer’s Bryan Alvarez added some clarity to the situation, reporting that Tony Khan set up an in-person meeting with Perry in Los Angles when the company held shows there to discuss plans to bring the former Jungle Boy back to television, but those plans were scrapped when Punk returned to WWE, as All Elite didn’t want anything to look like a reference to the Wembley fight. Rocky Romero, who works as a liaison for New Japan Pro Wrestling, was able to set up Perry’s current run for the Japanese league when they were touring the United States. It was also reported that Jack Perry legitimately requested his release from the company, but it was denied.

There are a few different layers to this story, and depending on how it unfolds, it will either be an indication of lessons learned or the same pattern repeated within management.

As I wrote at the time of the incident, while CM Punk was completely unprofessional and clearly didn’t care about working for All Elite when he was willing to get into another backstage fight after all the negative press the original brawl with The Elite caused the company, Jack Perry provoked the situation. Furthermore, Perry was infamously aloaf at a wrestling convention months earlier when his comments implied that he didn’t really care about his matches in AEW, and if that’s the case, how was the audience supposed to be invested enough in his matches to be willing to pay to watch them?

It implied that Perry doesn’t have the mindset to be a true pro that can draw serious money in the wrestling business.

Of course, the entire situation boiled down to a compete lack of management skills by Tony Khan, not just for how the Perry/Punk fight was handled, but also the way he mismanaged the Punk/Elite brawl the year previously. Keep in mind, there was also a backstage confrontation between Eddie Kingston and Sammy Guevara before Sammy was punched by Andrade during a different altercation. Unfortunately, there was a precedent set within AEW that real-life fights had very little consequence in the organization. Tony wanted to be friends with the wrestlers, not their boss. Nothing was truly done to address the issue, as The Elite were given the Trios championships upon their return to television, and Punk was given an entire show with Collision so he could play the top guy on Saturday night, but Khan didn’t assert any authority as the guy that signs the hefty checks for the talent. Punk trashed the company at the press conference, got into a fight with the EVPs, got paid millions of dollars while he stayed home to heal from triceps surgery, and was given his own show when he returned.

What consequences were there for anyone involved in the original brawl?

Obviously, those lack of consequences gave Punk the impression that it didn’t matter if he got into another fight with Jack Perry. On the other side of the coin, Jack Perry wasn’t worried about any repercussions to his job when he provoked the situation with his comments about real glass during the All Out broadcast or when he was confronted by Punk. In a similar fashion to when CM Punk was kept under contract while his triceps injury heal, Jack Perry is still getting paid by Tony Khan, but is wrestling somewhere else. The details of his New Japan agreement aren’t known, but the point is, he’s under contract to All Elite Wrestling, but remains a healthy scratch from the line-up.

As far as what Tony Khan should do with Jack Perry, I have the same impression of the situation now that I did when the fight happened last September, Jack Perry cost All Elite Wrestling the biggest star they had on the roster. Perry is a secondary guy and whatever potential that it looked like he had initially diminished considerably within the past two years, and the convention appearance implied that he didn’t have the mindset or the dedication to make it to the next level in terms of the star power required to draw money. CM Punk was exponentially more important to All Elite Wrestling business than him. The bottom line is, Jack Perry is completely expendable, and his involvement makes zero difference in the grand scheme of things for the company. Granted, there’s a portion of the All Elite Wrestling roster that is expendable, not because they don’t have talent or potential, but rather that they are simply lost in the shuffle of the bloated roster.

At this point, Perry is expendable because he was more of a hindrance than an asset for the organization. Would there truly be a difference in any of the numbers if Jack Perry was released? Would ticket sales go through the roof if Perry was advertised for the live events? Would the ratings improve if he was promoted on television? If not, why is he still under contract? Tony Khan has nearly a full roster of talent that are in catering every week, why does All Elite Wrestling need Jungle Boy on the roster?

As far as Jack Perry refusing to apologizing to his boss for the backstage fight, it’s completely ridiculous since he was totally unprofessional, and as much as Tony failed as management in the situation, there was no excuse for Perry to provoke the situation or get into a fight. As mentioned, Jack Perry is expendable, and while he has talent, he’s not worth the hassle to keep on the roster. He’s a mid-card performer, and there are dozens of other wrestlers on the roster that can work in that role. In the grand scheme of things, Jack Perry is cannon fodder, but the way that Khan handled or avoided the situation says a lot about his continued mismanagement of the company.

The biggest takeaway from the entire scenario has nothing to do with Jack Perry since his impact on the promotion is minimal, but rather that Tony Khan took a passive approach to the situation again. Instead of confronting Perry about what he cost the company or cutting him from the roster, Tony avoided conflict, as Perry claims he hasn’t heard from Khan in months. We’ve seen that when talent has left the company in the past, Tony had his legal team get them to sign NDAs to prevent public discussion about their exit. Sure, it covers the company from a PR perspective, but it’s also another way for Khan to avoid the tough decisions that go along with being the boss. Tony doesn’t have to confront the talent, he pays a lawyer to do it. Since nobody can talk about what happened when they left, Tony doesn’t have to answer any questions at the press conference about the talent’s comments on their departure. The bottom line is, if Tony Khan wants to be a successful pro wrestling promoter, he will have to be the boss that can make the firm decisions, not friends with the roster.

What do you think? Share your thoughts, opinions, feedback, and anything else that was raised on Twitter @PWMania and

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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