At the Warner Brothers Discovery 2023/2024 Upfront presentation yesterday, it was announced that AEW: Collision will debut on TNT, on June 17, at 8/7c. The new, two-hour, live pro wrestling show will feature top names like Samoa Joe, Miro, Thunder Rosa, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Andrade El Idolo. One name that the show isn’t promoting, at least not yet, is CM Punk.
Punk’s return to AEW, and inclusion in the Collision roster, have been buzzed about in pro wrestling circles for weeks now. When Punk wasn’t announced as part of the show yesterday, it reportedly caught some within AEW by surprise. In the wake of The Second City Saint not being announced, speculation began to circulate that there were legitimate issues between the former World Champion and AEW.
One of those issues was said to be Ace Steel’s status with the company. Apparently, at a recent sit-down meeting between Chris Jericho and Punk, Jericho floated the idea of bringing Steel back into the AEW fold as a means to ease tensions and get everyone back to work.
Haus of Wrestling can confirm that Ace Steel was re-hired by AEW “several months ago” but has not been actively working in the backstage area. Steel was terminated by the company shortly after the locker room altercation following AEW: All Out but was re-hired shortly after.
Upon Steel’s re-hiring, he was told he would be working with Tony Khan on creative, in some capacity, but his presence backstage would upset some of the talent. So, for that reason, Steel has been working remotely for the company for the past few months.
There was an understanding in place that once AEW: Collision debuted, Steel would return to the road for AEW, working as an agent on that brand. However, on Tuesday, the decision was made not to bring Steel back on the road with the promotion, and Punk learned of it shortly after. Following that, there was some miscommunication between lawyers and, subsequently, Punk was pulled from the Collision announcement.
That said, Punk is still with AEW and it sounds like he is motivated, and wants to help the company’s growth however he can. Punk’s relationship with Tony Khan also appears to be on sound footing, with no issues between the two men, and communication remaining open.