Originally published at Tony Khan on CM Punk and Danielson: "I can't comment on those two"
While promoting Fight for the Fallen, AEW president Tony Khan was asked about the reports on CM Punk and Bryan Danielson.
While speaking to Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post, Khan was asked point-blank if the two stars had signed or been in talks with the promotion and Khan responded:
I have no comment on those, but those are good questions but I can’t comment on those.
In a follow-up on the hypothetical of either joining the company and what it would mean for AEW, Khan reiterated:
I can’t comment on those two guys, but I think there are certainly a lot of exciting rumors right now.
Last week, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported that CM Punk was in talks for an in-ring return with AEW as the leading candidate, although he had no confirmation of a contract being signed or a start date. That same day, Cassidy Haynes of Bodyslam.net reported that Danielson had signed with AEW.
Khan also spoke about the arrival of Andrade El Idolo with the initial pairing alongside Vickie Guerrero prior to last week’s introduction of Chavo Guerrero Jr.:
It was his idea to make the connection with the Guerreros and he had asked about using Vickie. It was my idea to bring in Chavo. I thought Chavo would really add something. I’d seen Chavo recently on an independent show. He was in great shape and we had talked about associating because Andrade El Idolo comes from a very famous wrestling family.
He wanted to be associated with that (the Guerreros) and Vickie was here. As we went on I wanted to add something to the presentation and I couldn’t put my finger on what, and then I saw Chavo on an independent show and I just had a light bulb moment.
I learned from Ryan Cohen sometimes when all eyes are on you it’s best to not reveal your full hand or plan. Keep enemies on their toes, keep competition from knowing where you see a strategic advantage, and don’t over-commit and create false hope.
TK is walking a dangerous line with the last piece of that. Is he setting expectation(s) by not shooting down direct questions about the “rumors”; could be. But is he also keeping his cards close to his chest and potentially not tipping any hand in negotiations - likely. He also operates in a space where element of surprise is key.
As Ryan’s father told him and he told me, Buckle Up. I think the Wrestling World should buckle up for the highs and lows of the next few months - regardless what happens.
Common theme with both my favorite business leaders: they listen to the fans/customers. They aren’t stuck in the mud with their visions or ways. They are looking to disrupt and improve and believe in fan service as key to doing that.
If you are wondering who Ryan Cohen is, he is the current chairman of Gamestop (my other true love); if you are wondering what he’s done in life besides invest his own money in Gamestop in mid-2020 and become chair of the company, he founded Chewy, the most disruptive game changing thing to hit the Pet Industry in decades (an industry my family has been involved my entire life) so I’ve seen his work over the years and trust him, his leadership; I see a lot of similarities between the two styles of Ryan and TK - above all else they believe in delivering to customers first and foremost and operate with them in mind at all times. There is also the whole disrupting an old industry, as well as putting his own money where his mouth is aspect
I saw the TK comments earlier and had this thought I wanted to share. There is a business leadership case study to be made on Tony Kahn which fascinates me to no end as he continues to disrupt Pro Wrestling.
No comment means yes otherwise you would say no.
Tony big Bloodsport fan confirmed
The breadcrumbs aren’t breadcrumbs anymore. Guess you can’t spell confirmed without CM….
No…“no comment” can mean two things, it can mean yes, or it can mean they are still talking. Especially with someone like Punk, one wrong thing said by Khan and I could easily see Punk just ending negotiations.
I feel that a lot of people want this to be true so badly that they will interpret every nugget as confirmation.
With that said, I do think they signed, but especially with Punk I will believe it when I see it.
With Darby Allen’s interview tonight, Punks signed. There’s no way AEW is throwing all these clues at us and making it so obvious that if Punk wasn’t signed and not showing up in Chicago, the backlash would be huge!
They’re not booking a 20K seat arena in Chicago to turn their fanbase against them two week before running three nights of TV in the same market - including their biggest annual PPV.
They’ve got him.
Or he’s not signed until that day just like he claims was the case of the Money in the Bank. Same as Bucks and AEW. You can literally not sign til the last second to ensure loopholes for PR
After the Darby line, I agree. If they don’t though, they are going to have one pissed fan base.
But I thought Shane McMahon was the best in the world
I would have said no in that case.
Are he and Cabana friendly again?
When do those TNT quarterly specials start?
They are going to have big main event headliners for those and I see them being a level below PPV but a level above even these special Dynamites - like 4 Winter is Coming type events a year with A list headliners.
I would like to imagine that there would have been an attempt at a reconciliation by Khan, in hopes of not upsetting the locker room.
Colt’s a pretty universally liked guy, and Dark Order is one of the most beloved acts. I’m sure an effort to not rock the boat would have been hopefully made.