Home Kenny Omega isn’t on board with Tony Khan airing dirty laundry with CM Punk

Kenny Omega isn’t on board with Tony Khan airing dirty laundry with CM Punk

Chris Graham
kenny omega
Photo: AEW

Former AEW world champ Kenny Omega is clearly not on the same page with AEW money man Tony Khan and company EVPs Matt and Nick Jackson the subject of CM Punk.

“What’s my status with Punk right now? I don’t know, it’s just mutual respect,” Omega said during a stream on his Twitch gaming channel earlier this week.

“We reached out to each other. It’s like, it’s not like, Hey, we’re good now. It’s, we were never bad,” Omega said. “We, honestly, if it weren’t for a complete other factor, we would have been able to have that talk on the night of ‘All Out.’ There’s, yeah, there’s no issue between him and I, as far as I know. I don’t think there is at all.”

Omega, who is on the injured list as he works to recover from a bout with diverticulitis that has had him on the shelf since December, would appear to be the only member of AEW’s founding team to be at peace with Punk, who was fired by Khan after the 2023 “All In” pay-per-view following a backstage fight with midcard talent Jack Perry.

Khan decided to air security-cam footage of the brief Punk-Perry fight on AEW “Dynamite” this week, an obvious response to comments from Punk in an interview with podcaster Ariel Helwani in which Punk dumped on Khan and AEW, with disses like “(t)his isn’t a real business,” “it’s not a sustainable business,” and “(i)f you’re more happy with some goof saying that you had a five-star match, and the building’s quarter full, we’re not in the same business.”

The security-footage segment got over like the proverbial wet fart in church with fans and even, if you believe the dirtsheets, the bulk of the AEW roster, but it’s apparently the way things are going to be handled, if you can judge by the decision to air the footage, and the subsequent booking of Perry, for now banished to AEW-friendly New Japan, at NJPW’s “Windy City Riot” this week.

Perry taunted fans in Chicago, Punk’s hometown, with a jacket emblazoned with the message “Cry Me a River,” the on-air callback during the “All In” pre-show to a backstage issue that had arisen between Perry and Punk that precipitated the backstage fight with Punk.

While Khan, the Jacksons and Perry are picking at the scabs from “All In,” Omega is making clear that he’s not on board with how things are being handled in that respect.

“Just because I represent a company or because I’m an employee of one company over another, does that mean I love every storyline? Does that mean that I agree with every decision? No, of course not,” Omega said.

“I’m not the booker,” Omega said. “I don’t have power. I haven’t had power for more than four years now in that company. And I know that’s gonna sound odd to you. It’s like, well, Kenny, you’re an EVP. I’m nothing. I am nothing. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because I’m a terrible EVP. I don’t deserve to be an EVP. If people want to ask for my advice, I’ll do my best to help them. If there’s a fire to put up backstage, I’m gonna do my best to be that person.”

Omega distancing himself from the approach being taken to Punk by Khan is significant, especially, in light of Omega’s own history with Punk, dating back to another well-known backstage incident involving Punk, at the 2022 “All Out” pay-per-view.

Punk, in the post-event media scrum, blistered Omega, the Jacksons and their buddy from The Elite, “Hangman” Adam Page, over the festering situation involving an on-air promo from Page that had taken aim at Punk over Punk’s falling out with his former best friend, Colt Cabana.

Following the scrum, Omega and the Jacksons confronted Punk and his long-time friend and trainer, Ace Steel, in Punk’s locker room, precipitating a melee that led to lengthy suspensions for Omega and the Jacksons.

No one involved in the melee had addressed what happened that night until Omega did during the Twitch stream this week.

“I thought my duty during ‘All Out’ would be to enter the situation while there was chaos, de-escalate it and create a peaceful environment for everyone,” Omega said. “I was able to create a peaceful environment for most important person in that altercation, and that was Larry (Punk’s dog). And I swear to God, honestly, that was my biggest, and yeah, it sounds funny, but like, I look at animals and our pets as people and as you know, Dobby (Omega’s cat), of course, is one of the most important people in my life. So, to get little Larry out of there was the most important thing to me, and that was the success.”

What Omega said next, and it’s lengthy, seems to confirm that, at the least, hands were thrown between the warring parties.

“I don’t want to say old school. I’m not old school, I just played a lot of contact sports. I’ve gotten into jujitsu and boxing and mixed martial arts. I just know that sometimes, when you perform, or when you fight, when everything’s on the line, when you give your heart, when you give your soul towards something, and you’re in that moment of high stress or high anxiety, or you’ve maybe emptied the tank, when you’re in an environment like that, sometimes emotions get the best of you, and people will want to throw hands,” Omega said.

“And in the case that I’m unfortunately, or fortunately, a believer of it, I think if it’s decided that, hey, this is the best way to solve things, and you can shake hands after and move on after. I’m a believer, I’m actually a believer in fighting, I am, and that sounds terrible to say, which is why, like, don’t make me an EVP in 2024, you know, we can’t do, you can’t do that stuff anymore. I just feel that, sometimes that’s how you have to settle things,” Omega said.

More from Omega’s train of thought there:

“I don’t mean, you have to settle it, and then it has to be shown on screen for everyone, or people have to brag online about who won, who lost. No, like, it’s not for that purpose. It’s for the purpose of just getting that stuff out that you need to get out. And I mean, I’ll even, I’ll admit, there were a number of times, even now with me, where I thought that that might have been the most appropriate answer. It never came to that. We’re able to talk things out, and we became better friends, and there’s a level of respect at that point on between myself and these other parties, and maybe I’ll share these stories later.

“It’s crazy, as much as I believe in cooler heads prevailing, sitting down and talking, sometimes it was just like, Hey, I can’t even think straight until I start throwing some hay, you know, and or maybe that I need to be smacked around a little bit, whatever the case might be. I think if it’s a contained scenario, and if it’s not a situation where it’s, you know, there’s like, pulling people’s eyeballs out, low blows, hair pulling or scratching, you know what I mean, if it’s just like, hey, let’s just go This is hang and bang a little bit. I can see it sometimes being conducive for a positive work environment. Again, this is exactly why I have no power, nor should I. That’s just how I feel.”

So, signed NDAs notwithstanding, it’s clear, something really did go down at “All Out.”

“I don’t want to seem standoffish, or, like, secretive about what happened, like yes, there’s legalities and all that stuff,” Omega said. “But even if there wasn’t, now this will sound weird, because I’ve done a lot of comedy stuff in wrestling, but like, I’m actually not a huge fan of like, pulling back the curtain on stuff that doesn’t need to be out in public. That’s what I’m saying, like, if, for whatever reason, guys were to fight or whatever, like, it’s not for the public to know, that’s just for them to air out their stuff to get out of their system. That’s all I mean.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].