CM Punk Breaks His Silence On Backstage Altercation With Jack Perry And Tony Khan At AEW All In

CM Punk spoke with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour about what happened with Jack Perry that resulted in his firing from AEW in September 2023.

Here is a transcript of the discussion:

Helwani: Where are you backstage? Jack Perry is on screen and he says, ‘Real glass. Why don’t you cry about it?’ Where are you when this is said?

Punk: I was in my locker room.

Helwani: Did you feel like that was directed at you? Yes. Why?

Punk: Because it obviously was directed at me.

Helwani: Well, because for those that may not know, apparently, he had a trip planned. He wanted to use glass. You were consulted. You said, ‘Why would you use glass?’ Correct me, you lived it. I’m trying to bring people up to speed.

Punk: This is one of those things where it’s just all these rumors about NDAs. Yes. There’s a big difference between not being allowed to talk about some shit or just not wanting to talk about some shit. I don’t necessarily want to litigate this again.

Helwani: You say, again, you’ve never talked about it publicly.

Punk: No, I guess I haven’t, but that’s the thing. Tony [Khan]’s big idea was a separate show. We’re going to separate everybody. I said, ‘That’ll never work. Just Let me go. Just get me out of here. Just pay me my money. I’ve already been off TV. I heard this arm. Just get me out of here.’ ‘No, I can’t let you go.’ ‘Why? Just let me go. Who cares? It’s best. These guys don’t want me here. This isn’t a real business. This isn’t a business predicated on making money, drawing money, selling tickets, doing business. It’s not what it was sold to me as. Let me go.’ ‘No, I can’t, I’m going to do this new show. You’re going to have blah, blah, blah.’

Then the second day we have this show, I’m sitting in catering, minding my own business, and Tony Schiavone comes and gets me, and he’s like, ‘Hey, I really need your help.’ I was like, ‘What?’ He’s like, ‘Jack is cussing me out. Mike Mansury, Daryl from Production and cussing out the Doctor.’ I’ve explained before, ‘you all need to handle this Because if you don’t, I’m going to handle it, and you’re not going to like the way I handle it.’ Prophetic words. So he’s begging me, now please. He drives me out of catering. I go up, Hook and Jack are doing an angle… I walked up to Jack and he was sitting in a car. What he wanted to do, it was a rental car. What he wanted to do was smash the window with a rental car with a pipe.

But to come to this new show when everyone’s supposed to be separated, to get rid of all the drama, and then swearing at the doctor because the doctor’s like, ‘it’s real glass. Shit’s going to go in your eye.’ And I get it. I used to be that kid that was young and I want to do this, but there’s a safe way to do it. And I politely explained that to him. I didn’t raise my voice. I didn’t cuss at him. I very much just said, ‘We don’t do that here. This is Saturday. It’s a different show. If you want to do stuff like this, do it on Wednesday.’ That was it. I didn’t think there was going to be a problem. He obviously took something very business-minded, very personally. And that’s fine, because I’ve done that before, too. But it’s very much who he’s friends with. Shit never got squashed. Nobody’s in charge, and it turned into what it turned into.

Helwani: So he says that clearly a shot at you, as you said. Matches over, he goes to the back. What happens?

Punk: I went to Tony [Khan]. I was like, ‘Please handle that. Like, Please.’ He was like, ‘What do you want me to do?’ I was like, ‘I’m not I’m telling you what to do. Just be the boss, please. I’m tired of this shit. I told you it was a mistake. I told you separate shows wasn’t going to work, and now we’re all here. Please handle it, because if you don’t, You’re not going to like the way I handle it.’

Helwani: Did he handle it? No. So you did? Yes. What happened?

Punk: Jack came back from his match. I was the next match. I’m sitting there. I got people with me. I’m not going to say who they are because I got a lot of friends who work there, and I wish them all well, and I don’t want them to be punished because they’re friends with me. And I walk up to them and I’m just like, ‘Jack, why do you insist on doing this dumb Internet shit on TV?’ And he’s just like, ‘Well, if you got a problem about it, do something about it.’ And I was just like, ‘Man, come on, man. I’ll fucking kill you. What are we doing?’ I thought I was doing a responsible thing. I didn’t punch anybody. I just choked somebody a little bit. Samoa Joe was there, told me to stop, and then I quit. I turned to Tony and I said, ‘This place is a fucking joke, man. You’re a clown. I quit.’ I went to my room, and then Joe and Jerry Lynn came and got me, and they’re ‘Let’s just go out there and kill it.’ I was just too fired up, and I’m fired up now, and I’m probably going to regret talking about all this shit, but that’s what happened.

Helwani: Okay, so for those that don’t know, you actually did go out and wrestle? Yes. Is that all just a blur for you, that match? Do you even remember?

Punk: No, that match, I was just like, This is the last time I’m ever going to wrestle with Samoa Joe. You know what I mean? Yeah. This is my last match in this company. You knew that? Yeah. I quit. I said, I fucking quit.

Helwani: So why did you even go out?

Punk: For Joe. For Joe, for Paul Turner, the referee, for Jerry Lynn, the agent on the match, because I respect him, and I thought it was the professional thing to do. All the fans, a lot of fans there. Probably a lot of them to see me. So just go out there and give them a show.

The discussed turned to the aftermath of All In…

Helwani: He [Khan] went on air several days later and said he’s never been afraid for his life like this. Been going to shows for 30 years, felt fearful for his life for the safety of the workers. When you saw this, what is your reaction when you see this? Not only was it a promo on TV, but then he also spoke to the crowd. There was a clip that surface of him talking to the people in your town. I believe it was in Chicago, just outside. When you saw that version of the story being put out, what is your reaction?

Punk: I can’t tell you what Tony felt or what he was thinking, but I never did anything that would make him fear for his life. But he’s who he is.

Helwani: Did you feel like your reputation was being slandered?

Punk: There’s a concerted effort to, I guess, slander me and try to ruin my character and stuff like that. That’s the genesis of all the drama. Don’t do that. Why are you doing that to a guy who works for your company? Why are you lying? Why are you spreading rumors and lies and bullshit about your top guy? It doesn’t make any sense. You’re only hurting yourself. I’m trying to dim my… I don’t know. Jealousy, envy, I don’t really know. And again, it’s not really the time to litigate it all and everything, but it’s an unfortunate situation. I have a lot of friends there, and there’s a lot of good people that work there. I hope they continue to get paid, and I wish them well.

Helwani: How would you describe what it’s like working for Tony?

Punk: Man, it’s a loaded question because I don’t want this to be… I don’t like the drama, but the truth is the truth. He’s not a boss. He’s a nice guy. I think ultimately, that is a detriment to the company. But it’s not my company. I’m an outsider. I thought I was brought in to sell merchandise and tickets and draw numbers for pay-per-views and stuff, and I clearly did that, but that’s not what the place was about, and some people didn’t like that.