Al Snow Feels Tony Khan Should Focus On Being Respected, Not Liked

Following an internal investigation into a backstage altercation with Jack Perry at AEW: All In London, All Elite Wrestling and Tony Khan terminated their contracts with CM Punk, real name Phil Brooks. It was a surprising but not surprising decision by the AEW President, as Punk had been central to other backstage incidents over the past year or so, and many felt his time with the company had already run its course.

In an exclusive interview with Forbes, former WWE star and current OVW owner Al Snow weighed in on Khan’s decision to terminate Punk and the circumstances that led up to it.

“Punk’s got a very strong personality,” said Snow. “The problem with Punk is you have to have strong leadership, and you have to have as strong a personality as the talent do, And that’s where things can go astray.”

“I think Tony Khan’s a really good guy, but I think for the sake of AEW in these situations—they always come up, the Punk situation is not an unusual circumstance—we’ve had those types of things happen here. But there’s a certain modicum of respect that I have, and as a result, I’m able to direct those people even when those situations occur.

“I don’t worry about being liked; I worry about being respected. I think Tony wants to be liked, and he should be more focused on being respected. There were lots of times I didn’t like Vince McMahon. He can be an incredible bully. He could be nasty. I’ve always respected him. Always.”

Snow is the centerpiece of a new Netflix reality series called Wrestlers, focusing on his day-to-day life trying to run the legendary Ohio Valley Wrestling promotion. In the opening episode, Punk actually gets a shout-out as one of the famous alumni of the company. Punk was assigned to OVW in 2005 when he was hired by WWE in order to prepare to work for them on television, and was a regular there for about a year.