All Elite Wrestling fires top star CM Punk with cause

All Elite Wrestling on Saturday announced that it has fired top star CM Punk with cause after AEW investigated an incident that occurred during its "All In" pay-per-view show last Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.

Punk and fellow AEW wrestler Jack Perry, the son of late actor Luke Perry, reportedly got into a physical altercation backstage during the pay-per-view event.

AEW's statement, which was issued on X (formerly Twitter) said Punk's wrestling and employment contracts have both been terminated.

"Following the investigation, the AEW Discipline Committee met and later convened with outside legal counsel before making a unanimous recommendation to [AEW owner Tony] Khan that CM Punk be terminated with cause," AEW's statement read.

Khan, AEW's CEO, general manager and head of creative, said in an accompanying statement that he wishes he "didn't have to share this news" but made the decision "in the best interests of the many amazing people who make AEW possible every week."

AEW is scheduled to have a pay-per-view, "All Out," on Sunday at United Center in Chicago, the day after its weekly Saturday "Collision" television show in the same building.

Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, is a Chicago native and a major star in the city.

"Phil played an important role in AEW and I thank him for his contributions," Khan said in his statement. "The termination of his AEW contracts with cause is ultimately my decision, and mine alone."

To open AEW's "Collision" show Saturday night, Khan appeared in a pretaped interview and said the incident last weekend was "regrettable" and "endangered people backstage."

"I've been going to wrestling shows for over 30 years," Khan said on the show. "I've been producing them on this network for nearly four years. Never, in all that time, have I ever felt until last Sunday that my security, my safety, my life was in danger at a wrestling show. I don't think anybody should feel that way at work."

Punk, 44, returned to AEW in June after suffering a torn biceps in a match last September. After the match last year, Punk engaged in a controversial news conference and then reportedly got into a physical altercation with AEW wrestlers Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson and Kenny Omega, who are also company executive vice presidents.

Punk said in June that he apologized to Khan about what he said in the news conference.

The incident in September 2022 came after AEW wrestler Adam "Hangman" Page went off script in a televised interview segment with Punk, bringing up things the two did not agree would be talked about -- and things Punk said were not true.

Punk said nothing was done to Page for the indiscretion.

"It poisoned everything for me, and it made it all really, really ugly, and that was what set all of this off, and here we are over a year later and ain't s--- been done about it," Punk told ESPN in June.

The belief among people in the locker room was that Punk had gotten another wrestler, Colt Cabana, fired from AEW, or at least tried to do so. Punk and Cabana used to be close friends but had an ugly falling-out that included lawsuits. Punk has denied trying to get Cabana fired. Cabana is still employed by AEW.

Punk has been one of the most popular stars in the pro wrestling business over the past two decades. He is a former two-time WWE champion and three-time world heavyweight champion. Punk is also a former two-time AEW champion. He fought twice in the UFC after leaving WWE in 2014.