How close was CM Punk to joining AEW? Well, they sent him a text.
It's no secret that Tony Khan wanted CM Punk as part of AEW from the start, but obviously nothing ever materialized. Konnan recently said on his Keepin' It 100 podcast that Punk asked for "an astronomical amount" of money, which is why the two sides couldn't come to an agreement.
Speaking to Alex McCarthy of talkSPORT, Cody addressed Konnan's claims and revealed just how serious things got between Punk and AEW.
“I like Konnan a lot. He’s kind of my AAA buddy. He’s a really smart, smart guy. I wish I could spend a little more time with Konnan – I know I’m waxing poetic on Konnan here but I think he’s a really great guy. As far as the CM Punk negotiations go, everyone heard the famous ‘he got a text from us’. Yeah, of course there were negotiations and he did ask for a great amount of money and Punk is worth a great deal of money. But you also have to – and this isn’t speaking to Punk specifically, this is speaking to recruitment and what we’ve learned in wrestling in general – a lot of people think ‘these wrestlers are running this wrestling company’. These wrestlers are doing everything they can to run the creative, the brand and the marketing and things, but there are some very smart and fiscally conservative people who surround us and flank us because this isn’t my money. At all."
Cody continued, "I don’t want a situation that happened with WCW or Jim Crockett promotions where we think we’re flying so high that we can do anything. No – this is a business. And we have to turn a profit. The fact we were able to turn a profit as a company within only two years of being alive, very few other companies within wrestling – it’s real limited, you can count on one hand who’s been able to do that versus who has bled money – but in that situation the negotiations, I don’t think they ever got too serious. Doesn’t mean they won’t one day, but they never got entirely too serious. I think there is a good relationship there. I think I have a good relationship with Phil, I believe Tony does too and I’m not sure really when it comes to him, it’s not so much about the money. It’s about are you interested in doing this? Because the price tag becomes a lot more justifiable if you’re genuinely interested in what we’re doing at the high speed we’re doing it. And again, that’s not even specific to him, just in general, if the passion is not there, the money is not there.”
Punk ended up signing on with FOX and joining WWE Backstage as a special analyst and contributor.
When discussing talent such as FTR, Brian Cage, Shawn Spears, Ricky Starks, Brodie Lee, and others who made their names elsewhere but have since signed with AEW, Cody said, "I think when you look at picking someone up for AEW, you really want to look at what they have left; not what they’ve done so much, more what they have left in the tank and where the passion level is at. AEW is an artist’s space and admittedly, there is some wild west to it. There are some areas where structure is not found, but what’s rewarded instead is an artist being an artist."
Cody is set to defend his AEW TNT Title against Sonny Kiss on Wednesday at Fight for the Fallen.
Fightful will have live coverage of Fight for the Fallen beginning at 8 p.m. ET.