Dax Harwood discusses CM Punk’s time in AEW.
It is no secret that Harwood and Punk became good friends during their time in AEW, bonding over their shared love of Bret Hart and professional wrestling in general. Punk specifically requested to work with Harwood on a March episode of AEW Dynamite and FTR (Harwood & Cash Wheeler) teamed with Punk after Punk won the AEW World Title from Hangman Page following AEW Double or Nothing.
The lead-up to AEW Double or Nothing was pivotal in Punk’s AEW career as a promo segment with Hangman Page caused waves with Punk taking exception to a line from Hangman.
Speaking on his FTR podcast, Harwood revealed the conversation he had with Punk following the segment.
“After the promo segment, I went to Punk and I said, ‘that was really good, that was a great segment.’ They got the fans to react. It’s hard sometimes to get the fans to react to a babyface-babyface match. I thought it was a great segment. He was like, ‘Ahhh, I’m kind of feeling a certain way about it. ‘ I had no inkling that anything went wrong or went sideways or anything like that,” he said.
When asked by co-host Matt Koon if Hangman seemed like the type of guy to take that kind of shot in a promo, Dax replied, “To be honest, I don’t really know Adam Page very well, we worked together once on the North Carolina Indies. I don’t know him very well, but I don’t think so and I didn’t think so. I didn’t have that notion of him. He’s a family man, he loves his wife, he just had a newborn, he’s always pleasant and polite to me. We always talked and get along. Even after the disagreements we’ve had with the Young Bucks, he and I have always talked and got along great.”
Hangman and Punk went on to do business together at AEW Double or Nothing, although Punk said in his AEW All Out press conference that Hangman threatened the first-ever million-dollar gate in AEW, referencing their bout.
Punk would miss time after AEW Double or Nothing with a foot injury, halting plans AEW had for Punk and FTR to team in the summer, but returned to set up a showdown with Jon Moxley at AEW All Out.
All Out has become infamous for Punk’s post-event press conference where he aired grievances against Page, Colt Cabana, and The Executive Vice Presidents, and the backstage altercation between Punk, Ace Steel, Kenny Omega, and the Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson ).
Steel was fired while The Elite and Punk, who suffered an injury during his match against Moxley, were suspended.
When asked if he got the feeling that Punk was starting to become bitter towards AEW or the EVPs heading into All Out, Dax replied, “No, not at all. Punk was still so joyful and happy to be in the wrestling business. To be honest, he told me, when they were going to put the belt on him, that he didn’t want the belt. He said, ‘I just want to have fun,’ but he understood that Tony putting the belt on him would put AEW in a better light. He took it, begrudgingly a little bit, but he took the belt. At the time, he was taking me, Cash, Max [MJF], Wardlow, Hobbs, I’m missing so many guys, he was taking us out to eat, always paying for it. He bought all the girls in the locker room Starbucks gift cards and had one of the girls hand them out, anonymously, and didn’t say who they were from, but it was from him, just because he loved the atmosphere and loved being there . He also loved the work the girls were putting in. He thought they were busting their ass to try and get the attention that WWE’s women’s division was getting.”
Although FTR wrestled at AEW All Out, teaming with Wardlow to defeat Jay Lethal & The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin), Dax had left by the time Punk had his press conference.
Harwood continued the story, revealing that he spoke to Punk shortly after everything went down.
“All the boys in the locker room were drinking and having a good time, and we were hugging, I have a picture of me and Jay Lethal on the ground together just laughing our ass off. I had my wife and daughter there, Cash had his girlfriend. It was such a great time. After our match was over, I shower up, we had a couple of drinks with the guys real quick, grab my girls, and head back to the hotel. I was laying in bed and I got a text from one of the wrestlers that said, ‘is this shit true?’ I had no idea what he was talking about. Right after that, I got a call from my buddy CM Punk and he told me what happened. I said, ‘You’re lying to me dude. There is no way that happened.’ He was covered in blood from the match. He FaceTimed me, it was that night. He said, ‘I want to let you know, you’re going to hear some things. I want you to hear it from me. This is what happened.’ I said, ‘Dude, are you okay? Do you need anything? I’ll come right now to help you out, get you cleaned.’ ‘No, no, everything is fine, it’s died down, we’re good.’ That’s when I first heard about it,” he said.
According to multiple reports, the altercation included Punk throwing a punch, a chair being thrown, and Steel biting Omega. There have been mixed reports as to who started the brawl and how it started.
When asked about the brawl and what he believes to be true, Dax said, “Obviously, I wasn’t there. Who I perceive to be God is the only person who really knows the truth. Everyone is going to have their own version in their head. We’ve all done it before, we’ve done what we perceive to be the truth. What I’ve heard that is reported, there are elements of truth in it, but then there are also some things that raise a red flag to me. It seems like we’re only getting a portion of the story or what this journalist wants to put out, whether he has a bias or grudge against one of the parties, that’s just how I felt. I also knew that I didn’t know the whole story. I also felt that the stories that I heard from a few people, I don’t feel like they would blatantly lie to me. I do think there are bits of truth, but I also believe that some fans have read too much into it and I think they should let what happened , happen, and it die down. When it’s all said and done, I can’t tell you that I know 100% of the truth and I can’t tell you that the journalist reporting is 100% of the truth. I know what I perceive to be the truth and from the things I’ve read and heard, there is partial truth and partial things that are a bit exaggerated.”
Although The Elite returned to AEW TV at AEW Revolution and have been consistently wrestling as part of a best-of-seven series, Punk remains off television and it is unknown if or when he will return.
Asked if we would see Punk back in AEW, Harwood said, “I can tell you what I hope, because I don’t know. Everyone knows about the legalities of the situation and no one is really expressing what is going to happen, what has happened, and what won’t happen. I can tell you, all I can be truthful about, I can only tell you what I know and what I perceive to know, I hope that he comes back. I feel that AEW should have the Young Bucks in their locker room. AEW should have Kenny Omega in the locker room. I know that I feel AEW should have CM Punk in the locker room. With those four entities, it makes our talent roster so much deeper and better. It’s four guys who want to be the best. Regardless of what any of us think personally, I know that we all want to be the best and I know we all want the best for professional wrestling. It’s given us a life that we could never have otherwise.”
Dax spoke about how much pro wrestling has given all four of them, and their families, and how much they all love the business.
He closed by saying, “This is my plea to all four guys. Please find a way to make it work. If we can make it work, we can set up the future of professional wrestling for a long time and we can change the course of professional wrestling for a very long time. When you think about it, unselfishly, we’re doing this for 20-30 years down the road so guys and girls can make a living.”
Tony Khan has given multiple “no comments” regarding Punk’s status in AEW.
FTR are set to defend the IWGP World Tag Team Championships at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17. Fans can check out the full lineup by clicking here.
The full episode of FTR drops on Thursday, December 29 on all podcast platforms. Fans can check it out at FTR With Dax or on YouTube at Watch Dax. Fans can also subscribe to AdFreeShows for early access to a plethora of podcasts including shows with Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Eric Bischoff, and more.
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