CM Punk might have been off AEW television for the past two months, but his name is still front and center in the minds of AEW fans and The Elite, apparently. Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks returned for their first official match at Full Gear over the weekend, where they had an outstanding 6-Man Match against the Death Triangle.
The Elite were also suspended for their participation in the backstage brawl that occurred after the AEW All Out media scrum. After a couple of months of being on the sidelines, their vignettes started appearing on AEW programming, teasing their return.
While CM Punk's status in the company remains in the air, Omega, Matt, and Nick Jackson made their triumphant return to the promotion they helped create.
All seem to have been forgiven for The Elite's camp as they have now been booked to take part in a Best of Seven Series against PAC, Penta El Zero Miedo, and Rey Fenix for a chance to reclaim the Trios Championship, which they were stripped of after AEW President Tony Khan vacated it on September 7, Dynamite.
After losing their first match of the series at Full Gear, The Elite were looking forward to avenging their loss on this week's edition of Dynamite, which coincidentally took place in CM Punk's hometown of Chicago. Given the circumstances, it was no surprise that the Chicago crowd was fully against the AEW EVPs, booing them at every opportunity and reigning in the arena with 'CM Punk' chants.
However, Omega and The Young Bucks wasted no time and trolled the audience with a number of CM Punk references during the course of the match. Here are 3 shots that The Elite took at the Second City Saint during the Trios bout with Death Triangle.
#3. Kenny Omega bites PAC's arm
It was reported that Steel hurled a chair at The Young Bucks before pulling Kenny Omega's hair and biting the former AEW World Champion on the arm before the parties could be separated.
It was evident to AEW fans what was happening when Kenny Omega decided to bite PAC exaggeratedly during their match. It was clearly a pointed dig at CM Punk, which caused the Chicago crowd to boo louder at The Cleaner.
This was especially exasperating as the former AEW World Champion had just released an interview that he did with Sports Illustrated earlier in the day when Omega encouraged fans to let go of their gripes and interest in the details of the incident:
“There are things no one can talk about, so I’d encourage people to let it go,” Omega said.
It's hard for wrestling fans to take Omega's comments seriously, especially after he proceeded to go against his own words and reference CM Punk during Dynamite.
#2. Matt Jackson botches a Buckshot Lariat on purpose
Ahead of the upcoming episode of AEW Dynamite emanating from Chicago, The Young Bucks seemingly took a shot at CM Punk, anticipating how the crowd would react.
Matt and Nick Jackson updated their bio on Twitter to mention their appearance in Punk's hometown for AEW Dynamite with this comment:
“Chicago. This’ll be interesting.”
It was clear that the former AEW Tag Team Champions were anticipating a negative reaction from CM Punk's hometown audience, so they came in prepared to throw shots back.
During their Trios match with Death Triangle, The Young Bucks had PAC set up in the middle ring for a Buckshot Lariat. While it could just be Matt Jackson paying homage to their injured former best friend, Hangman Page, AEW fans know better.
This was clearly the EVP's way of trolling Punk, who has repeatedly botched the move in the past. Instead of performing a full rotation from outside the ring, Matt Jackson purposely botched the move, planting his butt first on the mat. This elicited more boos from the audience and a few chuckles from some who saw the humor in the situation.
#1. Kenny Omega performs CM Punk's GTS finisher but credits KENTA instead on Twitter
The most direct shot toward CM Punk was Kenny Omega's blatant use of the Straightedge Superstar's GTS finisher. The move almost ended the match, but PAC managed to kick out at the last second. The Chicago crowd was clearly not amused and roundly booed The Cleaner's disrespect.
After Dynamite, however, the former New Japan World Champion clarified that it was merely a homage to an old friend, KENTA, who is currently part of Omega's old faction in NJPW, The Bullet Club.
Taking to Twitter after AEW Dynamite, Omega proceeded to thank NJPW star KENTA (fka Hideo Itami in WWE), who was the originator of the GTS.
"Thank you, @KENTAG2S. Always a good brother. Bullet Club 4-Life amirite?" tweeted Omega.
It should be noted that KENTA had previously been openly critical of stealing his finisher. Furthermore, Kenta was not allowed to use the GTS for four years due to Punk using it as his signature move. So while the Straightedge Superstar and his fans might not appreciate the potshot, it is bound to get the approval of the Japanese star.