CM Punk made headlines on the August 17 episode of AEW Dynamite when he called out Hangman Page in a moment that reportedly wasn't planned. Punk defeated Hangman at AEW Double or Nothing to win the AEW World Title and was set for a showdown with Jon Moxley to unify the AEW World Title with the AEW Interim World Title.
Punk addressed his "off-script" promo by saying he was trying to sell tickets.
FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) have been associated with Punk on television, teaming with him in his last match before he was injured after Double or Nothing and being part of his championship celebration, and their off-screen friendship with Punk has been well-documented as well.
Speaking to Steven Muehlhausen of DAZN, FTR were asked about Punk's backstage reputation.
"I think it's a lot of things from the past, mostly. I think there's a lot of old grudges. I think there's a lot of old biases. I think there's a lot of unresolved issues that are tainting how people react to seeing him now sometimes because he's been nothing but nice and helpful to anybody that wants it. I know there's underlying animosity between... once you're in wrestling for so long, and especially at the top of it, there's gonna be guys who don't get along because you're all vying for the same thing. You all want the same title. Egos are going to hit. It's inevitable. I know there's going to be old tension. But as far as how he is as a person now, he couldn't be more inviting. He couldn't be more company-oriented as far as what he's thinking and anything to the contrary; I really think it's uneducated to go off of it because there's only been one side (and) that's all been the negative stuff. He hasn't even really commented on it publicly because he's not going to give it that much time of day and that much notoriety because it doesn't deserve it. But I will say there's two sides to every story, and then somewhere in the middle, that's the truth. Somewhere in the middle is the truth. He's been nothing but a great person, a great mentor to a lot of guys there, somebody who wants the best for the company. That's why he's wanting the biggest houses, the biggest gates, and the most fans in the arena. I think it's just going to be one of those things where time will tell. Over time, you'll see that he has been well-meaning, he has been doing some good stuff, and like I said, anything to the contrary is, in my opinion, just people being childish and behaving like middle-schoolers," said Cash.
Dax added to the conversation by saying, "And insecurity. I'm not gonna speak much on it because all that was perfectly put. But I'll tell you this, what's the better headline? 'CM Punk goes into business for himself and shoots on somebody?' Or, 'CM Punk invites Will Hobbs into his locker room and explains to him for 30 minutes what he could have done to better himself for the match earlier?' Or if the headline says, 'CM Punk goes to Danhausen, who came to him and asked for advice, watched his match, and CM Punk gave him notes of advice on what he could do to better the match next time?' Or if Brock Anderson says, 'Hey, do you mind watching our tag match tonight?' CM Punk sits there even though he's got a busy night and watches it and says, 'Hey, come into my locker room. Anybody else want to come into my locker room? Let's talk about this.' What's the better headline? The more juicy headline is the one of him going into business for himself."
In an interview with Grapsody in May, Powerhouse Hobbs praised Punk for his kindness and explained why his match with Punk made him feel valued.
Dax also said, "Right now, I think I can safely say he's one of our best friends because we all share the same passion for professional wrestling, and sometimes passion gets mistaken for being an asshole because you just want the best. He wants the best for AEW. He wants the best for himself as well. We all do. But he wants the best for AEW and puts AEW above himself. I haven't met too many guys who have the love and passion for professional wrestling that he has. And I'll close on CM Punk with this, and we'll move on. I wish a lot of people, a lot of the guys look at it instead of saying, 'Oh my God, this guy from WWE is here in AEW, and he might be taking my spot' to say, 'Oh my God, this is a guy who has a legit Hall of Fame background guy who is drawn money, who's made money for a big company, who doesn't want to go back to the big company.'"
Many have commented on the backstage environment in AEW amid the reports of Punk calling out Hangman with the majority saying things aren't as bad as they are made out to be.
Punk is not currently scheduled for a match at AEW All Out after losing to Jon Moxley on the August 24 episode of AEW Dynamite in the AEW World Title Unification match.
Fightful will have live coverage of AEW Dynamite beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday.