With rumors of AEW kicking off a new two-hour show for Saturday night, that also brings with it rumors of a brand split. While splitting the roster is understandable for logistical purposes, there are concerns about splitting the talent pool. The primary issue revolves around rumors that AEW is harboring CM Punk and the Elite to keep them separated after the Brawl Out.
In terms of public image, perception can become reality. Whether or not these vague rumors of Punk splitting up on a separate show from the Elite (and Elite employees) are true, AEW needs to nip it in the bud anyway. The problem is that this story makes AEW look like little kids who can’t control their emotions to do the job they’re paid to do. If AEW lets that perception fester, then it will take on a life of its own.
As an example, I point to AEW’s handling of Colt Cabana once Punk came on board. Punk is known to hold a grudge towards Cabana, after which Cabana conveniently disappeared from AEW programming completely. Management has never made a public attempt to debunk rumors of Punk’s diva demands.
Whether or not Punk had a part in this Cabana decision, the locker room perception was that he did. One thing led to another. Hangman Page aired veiled grievances in a live promo, Punk later returned the favor, and Brawl Out was an instant effect.
I’d expect similar battles to seep into the locker room if AEW is too scared to book Punk and the Elite at the same shows. It is only natural for tribes to form when they are separated from each other in a lattice split.
It’s time adults took control of the situation. I’m not saying that Punk and the Elite should wrestle with each other. That’s a bridge to cross later. The first step to address is to book them on the same show, at least for the debut of the new program. If AEW wants to impress on the first episode, why wouldn’t they want all of their stars to be there on night one? It would act as an icebreaker and dampen the idea that Punk and the Elite are babies.
If AEW wants to take it a step further, they can mock the rumors with a simple backstage scene. I imagine something like Punk walking down the hall eating cupcakes past the Elite. No words need to be exchanged. This would fit the humor of Being the Elite, and wouldn’t ruin any future blurring of the working/shooting lines in the case of a storyline revolving around Brawl Out.
Personally, I would book Cabana as Punk’s return match. That would instantly change the public’s perception of Punk by blazing a new path to moving forward for what’s best for business.
It’s funny that Eddie Kingston and Sammy Guevara of all people could be used as role models for Punk and the Elite. Kingston and Guevara had physical beef backstage. The animosity was subdued enough to work a singles match. Compare that to rumors of Punk and the Elite not even being able to be together in the same building. To grow up.
The thing is, all this chatter about grid-splitting drama is bad for AEW’s image. They need to be proactive to fix this.
What do you think is the best plan of action for dealing with CM Punk and the Elite once the new weekly show starts?