Right off the bat and to avoid any confusion, I will answer the questions posed in that title and say: ABSOLUTELY. It’s perhaps what they should have done in the first place instead of acquiring disgruntled ex-WWE employees and relying solely on them.
Now to say that I respect and love many of those so-called disgruntled employees would be putting it mildly. CM Punk in particular is a precursor of what pro wrestling is today—the good portion of it anyways—and he helped spawn this current era we all enjoy.
WWE has in the past shied away from that type of wrestling and programming but AEW embraced it. They embraced it further by hiring CM Punk and of course Bryan Danielson. And let’s not even get started on the legend that Kenny Omega undoubtedly is….
Punk’s debut made a hell of a lot of noise when it went down in 2021.
Of course news of his probable-but-hopefully-not-the-case-demise in the sport of professional wrestling is perhaps old news by now—especially in an industry that prints news on the subject like I don’t know, by the minute practically.
CM Punk’s media scrum comments not only went viral, they not only shook the foundations of AEW, but they positively decimated the aforementioned foundations of the entire industry. The company imploded, and at the end of the day he felt he had some things to get off his chest and so he did, in a very public manner.
Was it the right thing to do? Not for me or anyone to say, really. In the end it happened and he vented out his frustration and the events that followed those comments further changed the AEW landscape and the industry.
In the very real physical fight that ensued backstage after the by now infamous media scrum that followed All Out involving Punk, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, those foundations were changed in that the aforementioned Omega and the Bucks have been suspended by the company—a company they helped create by the way…. Just think about that one for a moment.
As for CM Punk, a legend in my eyes, and a man who had a right to speak his mind after all he has done and has been put through in this industry, his time in AEW might be over according to reports that have erupted online, and there have indeed been many.
So what now? In the weeks following that disastrous weekend for the company, the smoke has cleared and many episodes of AEW Dynamite, Dark and Rampage have aired, and although they are relying on the debut of Saraya—the former Paige in WWE—to help boost the women’s division—something it needs, sorry to say—it seems that overall, the company is pushing homegrown talent, and talents that have been with the company since its inception, really…and this time pushing them more than before.
The Four Pillars of AEW was actually suggested by MJF a while back, and since that mention, it has become kind of a thing for hardcore AEW fans. Those four pillars are: MJF himself, Darby Allin, ‘Jungle Boy’ Jack Perry and Sammy Guevara…all of whom have seen some good air time in recent history and in the past.
But as of late, we’re seeing a lot more of Ricky Starks, Powerhouse Hobbs, and a plethora of other AEW originals…even Private Party, and of course The Acclaimed.
Ex-WWE wrestlers are getting equal air time and are co-existing well with these counterparts…stars like Billy Gunn, Keith Lee, Swerve and even Athena Palmer, the Fallen Goddess herself.
The same cannot be said for stars like Miro unfortunately, Malakai Black, who has departed the company and rumors are running rampant about Andrade being quite a disgruntled employee himself, only now in AEW.
So…in the end, is AEW doing the right thing? Of course they are and if this is their intention, then I applaud them moving forward.
According to Tony Khan this is a dawning of a new era in the company, and after a three year run thus far, it’s time for a wee bit of a mix-up. This does a company good moving forward, and it should do wonders for AEW moving forward…only that way can they build upon what the company started as: a professional wrestling company and n alternative to the WWE product. Here’s to the future, and the next three years of AEW and beyond.