DEVASTATING Acts Of Self-Sabotage That RUINED Wrestling Careers

9. CM Punk Detonates Pipebomb In A Room By Himself

AEW Collision CM Punk Terry Funk

Alls CM Punk had to do was enjoy the benefits very few other wrestlers have been afforded in an industry that, historically, heavily favours the promoter.

There was no reversing the events of Brawl Out. The Elite did not want to work with him, and it's funny: the Christian rock kids showed more of an uncompromising value system there.

Still, as the lead man on a brand new primetime Saturday show, Punk was made - to such an extent that AEW Collision doubled as a psychiatric test of sorts. A more or less foolproof system was devised to pacify him.

As was always the case, Punk was allowed near full creative control over the direction of his character. Every word he said was a word he wanted to say. He tagged with close friends FTR in several matches, some of which had no real storyline purpose, because he wanted to tag with his mates and was allowed to do so because he was the star and effectively co-booker of the show. When Punk first revealed in February 2021 that he watched AEW, he listed five names "that have potential": Jungle Boy, Powerhouse Hobbs, Darby Allin, Brian Pillman, Jr., and Ricky Starks.

Upon debuting in AEW, Punk stated his aim. "I want to work with that young talent that had the same passion that I had stamped out."

"I'm back for the young guys."

This was obviously a means of building his return match against Darby Allin at All Out 2021, but Punk also said "You're the first on the list".

Also on the list was Starks, with whom Punk was programmed on Collision, a show that was created in Punk's image. It was, at his urging, less frantic than Dynamite. The sensibilities of the show - long main events, basic yet elegant potting, the cutesy SNME nostalgic opening - were Punk's doing.

Punk held near-complete dominion over the show, and in the meantime, the Elite re-signed and agreed to leave him to it.

And then he banned certain people, even the Head of Talent Relations, from appearing on it. He demanded certain things - things that were permitted elsewhere - not happen on his show. He then, and this was absolutely cut-and-dried his fault when he wasn't 100% to blame for the whole messy business elsewhere, buried Hangman Page out of nowhere in an off-air promo.

He had everything and left himself with nothing - and that is before he stepped foot in London.


Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and current Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!