AEW: Tony Khan Likens Recent CM Punk Crowd Responses to a "Road Game"


The initial excitement surrounding CM Punk's AEW comeback appears to have waned as the honeymoon stage fades away. Despite receiving a hero's welcome in his hometown of Chicago on the debut episode of AEW Collision, Punk's reception became more mixed during the following week when AEW traveled to a different location. The reception reached a more polarizing level at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door, where Punk's strikes against opponent Satoshi Kojima were met with mostly boos. Nevertheless, Punk continues to work as a babyface, aligning himself with AEW World Tag Team Champions FTR and Ricky Starks in a feud against Bullet Club Gold.

During an interview on Busted Open Radio, AEW President Tony Khan acknowledged that he anticipated the mixed response to Punk from the Canadian crowd, comparing it to a "road game."

"I wasn't surprised at all, given that we were in Canada and considering some of the recent events that took place since his last match," Khan explained. "So, as we continue to go on the road, we can expect various responses. Just like sports teams, popularity can vary depending on the location. Some teams are adored in their home cities, but things change when they play away games. In this case, I felt it was like a road game for him, and he handled it amazingly."

The mixed crowd reactions towards Punk stem from the fallout after AEW All Out 2022. Following Punk's critical comments about several members of the company, he engaged in a backstage altercation with AEW Executive Vice Presidents Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks. As a result, all parties involved were stripped of their championships and suspended indefinitely. Now, after ten months, they have returned to AEW programming, but there seems to be a prohibition on their interaction. The only time Punk and The Elite have been in the same building since AEW All Out was at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door, and AEW reportedly took precautions to keep both parties separated by dividing the locker room.

Punk is currently participating in the highly anticipated Owen Hart Cup Tournament. This Saturday on AEW Collision, he is set to clash with Samoa Joe in the semifinals of the tournament.

AEW Dynamite Preview (July 5th)

Blind Eliminator Tag Team Tournament: Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland vs. AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy and Darby Allin

Owen Hart Tournament: Ruby Soho vs. Dr. Britt Baker DMD

• Jon Moxley speaks

• AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Adam Cole in action

• Kenny Omega vs. Wheeler Yuta

• Chris Jericho speaks

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