Stephen P New, Lawyer For CM Punk And Ace Steel, Says They Are The Most Stand Up Guys He's Ever Dealt With

Stephen P. New, the lawyer for CM Punk and Ace Steel, gives all the details he can regarding their departure from AEW.

CM Punk and Ace Steel made plenty of headlines after AEW All Out 2022 when they got into a backstage altercation with Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson). The incident was dubbed "Brawl Out" and it led to a lengthy suspension for Punk and Steel.

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Punk returned to AEW in June 2023 with the start of AEW Collision, and Steel returned in a remote capacity. Both men remained with the company until AEW All In 2023, when Punk got into another backstage incident, this time with Jack Perry.

Punk was released from AEW one day before AEW All Out 2023.

Speaking on the House of Kayfabe, Stephen P New gave all the insight he could into Punk and Steel's dealings with AEW.

(Relationship started how many days after Brawl Out?)

New: About two months. Representing someone else, who shall remain unnamed. That started the day after Brawl Out. A couple of months later, CM Punk got my phone number, texted me, and was just able, from that point forward...Punk had a legal team already. Ace Steel, not so much. We talked about different things. I'm greatly limited what I can say, just like Ace was on another podcast. What I would like to say, from all of that, those two are two of the most stand up, greatest guys that I've ever known, particularly around the pro wrestling industry, which can get a little carny at times. Both of those guys are straight shooters. Both of those guys are honest to a fault. Both of those guys are loyal, fiercely loyal, to one another and the people within their camp. It became readily apparent that we were going to be good friends and that I could provide an outsiders perspective on what they had to deal with and some legal expertise as someone who has had this connection to the pro wrestling business, both as a fan, I understand this stuff. I know who the personalities are and from representing other folks, I had some information that hadn't been previously known, let's say.

(Did it seem like they trusted you because they knew you were 'a straight mark'?)

I think it helped. We would have those wrestling conversations. I don't know whether they were testing me or testing Cornie's theories or what exactly, but they wanted to see, 'is this guy some casual fan?' If you recall, we went to AEW in Charleston, West Virginia, and we heard the second pipe bomb where Punk called out Hangman Adam Page. You looked over me and went, 'Woof, that is going to reverberate.' Interestingly, the next morning, I'm messaging you guys in our group. I was on a plane with all those guys. I'm at Charleston Airport, and Punk is there, Dustin Rhodes is there, Omega, Toni Storm, everybody is there from AEW. Interestingly, I almost asked Jack Perry whether he needed a ride to the airport because he was waiting for his Uber. I see Punk at the airport the next morning, we're in DC for a connection. It was interesting that I saw him there that day, which was days before the Brawl Out situation. Then, I get connected with him and Ace. I'm real limited with that I can talk about. I think Ace said it best, my job in the months that followed Brawl Out, through the returns, was to look out for their best interests. I'll always do that. I really can't say a whole lot else. I really wish, for the people that watch this show, I'm not going to breach any privileges to my clients. I take that very seriously. They are subject, I'm subject, to NDAs, confidentiality agreements, things like that. None of the particulars I can get into. What I can tell you is that CM Punk and Ace Steel are the most stand up guys that I've ever dealt with in this business.

(You are against wrestlers you don't like)

I would like to think that I would completely mark out. If it had ever gotten to litigation, I would have been as respectful as can be. Sitting across somebody in a deposition room or something like that, using their real names is a whole lot different than watching a match. By the way, Charleston was the return of Kenny Omega, when he compared us to cat poop, whatever that was about. Being a wrestling fan, it's odd, but it's a little easier to think my client is a good guy, my client is a babyface. I'm the babyface manager. I'm Paul Ellering managing the Road Warriors against the Freebirds.

(Would you have been like, 'can you tell me how many superkicks is too many for wrestling?')

No, no. Just as sure as I use one of Cornie's catchphrases or this [waves hands to mock being scared] at the beginning of the Omega deposition, they tried to challenge my law license and none of those guys are worth my law license. I wouldn't have done this [waves hands again] at the start of the deposition.

(What was it like dealing with AEW lawyers?)

It got better with time. I will say this. It got better with time because, at first...when AEW started, Cornette was calling Orange Cassidy 'my little dog pockets.' Cornette was calling Joey Janela, 'Jelly' and otherwise taking a crap over AEW. I don't that set well with people at AEW, including the legal team. When situations arose, and we had many, and I had to deal with AEW's legal team, I think they thought I was an extension of Cornette. They treated me, at first, like I was an avatar of Cornette, particularly where Janela was concerned.

(Did you call him Jelly in the talks?)

At one time, I may have referred to, and then I was quickly chastised and told, 'We don't body shame in AEW, Mr. New, that's beneath you as a lawyer.' Calling someone Jelly is the least of what I hear in a given day. After a little bit of a rocky start, the longer my relationship with their legal team went, the better it got, actually. We've worked together well for a long time. I feel like they take me more seriously as an attorney at first, realizing that I'm not an avatar of Jim Cornette. I'm not Jimmy, I don't share all of Jimmy's opinions of everything. He's a legend. He's on the Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling managers. I'm a lowly lawyer from Gilbert, West Virgina. I'm a small town bird lawyer with Cornette being the biggest bird that I represent. The relationship improved tremendously, the longer it went on, and I think that was because, as I treated them with respect, they treated me with respect, even when we were in some, I mean really hairy and dicey situations.

(Did you keep in contact with CM Punk after he returned with Collision, if not, were you contacted after Wembley?)

The relationship remained and it was an ongoing relationship, and that's about all I'm comfortable saying. It was an ongoing relationship so they had me at their disposal if needed.

(When Wembley happened, were you waiting to get the phone call?)

Of course. It's no different with that situation than anything else. I'll always be a phone call away for those guys. No matter what. No matter where, no matter what. I'm a phone call away.

(Were you involved in the dissolution of the working relationship between CM Punk and Ace Steel after Wembley?)

Ace more so than Punk.

To take us home here, Ace Steel is a legitimate sweetheart, just the greatest guy. His love for this business knows no bounds. He worked with Harley Race in Harley's later years. It's guys like that, that he holds in the highest esteem. Ace Steel and CM Punk are real. They are the realest of the real. You never had to guess what's on their minds, they're going to tell you what's on their mind. My Grandma had a saying, 'Plain talk is easily understood.' That's how I feel every time I talk with Ace Steel or CM Punk. Plain spoken, get to the point, don't have to guess what they're thinking or anything like that. That's why I'll always be a phone call away.

CM Punk returned to WWE at WWE Survivor Series.

Fans can find Ace Steel's comments on his return by clicking here.

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