In this week's edition of the AEW News Roundup, CM Punk has been engaging in a heated Twitter back and forth with a WWE Hall of Famer, and a top heel has named WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns as his dream opponent.
Finally, a wrestling veteran has blasted AEW for their recent booking of Bryan Danielson. Catch up on all the latest wrestling news here.
#5. CM Punk has a heated Twitter spat with WWE Hall of Famer
The latest Twitter beef to capture the wrestling world's attention is among two unlikely sources: WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff and AEW star CM Punk. The issue started when the former WCW executive slammed the Straightedge Superstar for his comments stating that casual wrestling fans no longer existed.
During an episode of Strictly Business with Eric Bischoff, Bischoff said:
“All due respect to CM Punk, [he] never spent five minutes in the television business. He knows a lot about what’s going on in the wrestling ring, more than I ever will in terms of executing it. But to make the casual statement? What the f*ck are you doing in the television business then dude? It makes no sense to me, I don’t believe it’s true.” (H/T: Wrestling Inc.)
The 66-year-old further argued that a wrestling promotion could inspire "lapsed fans" to return to regular viewing:
“The casual fan is still out there. If you build it, your audience will show up. Lapsed fan is another term I’ve heard in a lot of research that I did. ‘I used to watch wrestling but I don’t watch that sh** anymore.’ If anybody’s going to try to convince me that you can’t find that audience again, they shouldn’t be in the wrestling business." (H/T: Wrestling Inc.)
In typical CM Punk fashion, the Chicago native responded to the tweet with a barbed remark of his own:
"Wrestling Twitter needs to stop amplifying all the old head bad faith bad take carny dipsh*ts. They had their moment in the sun. Let them die in the dark with their ego podcasts. Quote me."
Bischoff didn't take the criticism lying down. The former WWE RAW General Manager took shots at Punk's UFC career as a comeback:
"He convinced himself since he could win scripted fights, he could win a real one."
Wrestling Twitter is divided due to the points made by both figures. There's merit to each perspective. The heated back-and-forth has ignited conversations about the validity of casual fans and whether the business can capture the lapsed audience that used to watch wrestling regularly two decades ago. Unless Bischoff is angling to appear on AEW TV once more, feuding with the company's top stars on social media feels like a zero-sum game.
#4. Tony Khan confirms WWE Hall of Famer will not join AEW
From FTR's wrestling clinics to CM Punk's use of The Hitman's iconic maneuvres, there have been several Bret Hart references on AEW TV lately. While fans speculated this could lead to the legend appearing in the company, president Tony Khan has ended those rumors.
He confirmed in an interview with TSN that The Hitman wouldn't be joining AEW:
“Not right now. I think Bret himself said that. First of all, we have a great respect for Bret Hart as a company and as individuals. A lot of the wrestlers here and myself respect Bret Hart as a great person and a great wrestler. He would always be somebody we would treasure whenever he’s around. He was involved in the first Double or Nothing. He said he’s happy at home right now." (H/T: Fightful)
The Hitman does have a history with the company, having been the man to unveil the AEW World Championship belt at the Double or Nothing pay-per-view in 2019. Also, AEW is running the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament as a tribute to his late brother. Whether Bret makes another appearance for AEW remains to be seen, but he'll be treated with respect and admiration.
#3. Wrestling veteran manager Jim Cornette blasts Bryan Danielson's booking on Dynamite
Veteran wrestling manager Jim Cornette recently slammed AEW's use of one of its most popular stars, Bryan Danielson.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Jim Cornette Experience podcast, Cornette expressed his desire to see Danielson back in the singles competition and lamented the repetition of The American Dragon's booking as part of the Blackpool Combat Club:
"They might as well just run last week's tape because it's the same thing. (...) Every week it's the same f***ing match, and they end up stomping the shit out of all the opponents and winning the match. And I'd just love to see Danielson in a singles match and in an interview again, so I could enjoy something instead of always having that f***ing plumber latched on to him like a goddamn leech." (from 03:06:32)
Cornette went on to say that AEW missed out on an opportunity to crown Danielson World Champion late last year and is underutilizing him in his current role:
"I'm pissed off. They had the best world champion in all of professional wrestling ready to go in December, Bryan Danielson, and they f***ing shot themselves in the foot." (from 3:21:16)
In late 2021 and early 2022, Danielson received two consecutive shots at the reigning AEW World Champion Hangman Page and was one of the company's biggest heels.
Since then, the former WWE Champion allied himself with Jon Moxley and recruited William Regal, who has been a mentor to the two men, to become their manager in the BCC. The stable inducted 25-year-old Wheeler Yuta into the group a few weeks later. For now, it seems like Danielson will be focusing more on tag team competition as part of the faction.
#2. MJF opens up about his current relationship with FTR
AEW's top villain MJF is currently embroiled in a feud with his former bodyguard and Pinnacle faction mate Wardlow. While Shawn Spears has stood by his side, the rivalry has led to Friedman being at odds with FTR, who turned into babyfaces in recent weeks.
Speaking with Barstool Rasslin', the young star opened up about his current relationship with himself and the ROH Tag Team Champions:
"Unfortunately, we do not agree on the Wardlow scenario. I'm not saying they're on team Wardlow, I'm not saying they're on team MJF. I think they just want to be out of it because they care about both of us. (...) So we're not having feud or anything, we're not having a problem, we're not tussling. I still love Dax and Cash. It's just right now the relationship got a smidge toxic over the whole Wardlow scenario so we're taking a step back." (from 15:35)
It's the right move for FTR to distance itself from MJF as they've become one of the most beloved tag teams in the company. As babyfaces, they have the potential to become AEW Tag Team Champions once again, thanks to their recent series of stellar matches and performances. For now, The Pinnacle should disband as a group so that everyone can go on their separate ways.
#1. MJF names Roman Reigns as his dream opponent in WWE
Staying on MJF news, it's an open secret that Long Island Loudmouth's current contract with AEW expires in 2024. He's openly admitted he'd listen to any offers from WWE if they were to approach him down the road.
With the alleged bidding war for his contract coming up in 2024, The Salt of the Earth has already hinted at wanting a dream face-off with the undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns:
"I think me and [Roman Reigns] would have a tremendous match, yeah. I think it’d be a friendly competition. I would [also] love to wrestle Seth Rollins, I’d love to wrestle The Miz, there’s a lot of guys." (from 22:55)
Roman Reigns is arguably the biggest name in wrestling today and the dream opponent for many wrestlers. It'd make sense for MJF to go after WWE's top dog. Fans will have to wait until MJF's AEW contract expires in 2024 to see if the star follows Cody Rhodes to WWE.
We asked Stone Cold Steve Austin if he acknowledges Roman Reigns. Find out his answer here.