Ahead of AEW Fight For The Fallen this coming Wednesday, Cody Rhodes gave an interview with TalkSPORT in which he discussed a wide range of topics, not least the much discussed negotiations with the hottest free agent in wrestling, CM Punk.
First revealed by former AAA and WCW star Konnan, Punk went on record to say that he was made an offer by text message. Now, AEW vice-president Rhodes has shed a little more light on the details:
“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.”
Rhodes is referring, of course, to himself, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega – The Elite, who act as VPs for AEW and have a strong influence in the running of the brand. But are they also responsible for the financials? Not according to Rhodes:
“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.
And 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.”
Rhodes hinted that it wasn’t simply a cash issue. Was Punk motivated enough to genuinely make a difference at such a crucial early stage of AEW’s development? Maybe not:
“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.”
Could we see Punk in AEW in the future? It’s a given that if he shows an appetite for getting serious with wrestling again he would at least be in conversations with not only AEW but WWE and NJPW also. As the hottest free agent in wrestling, when and if CM Punk decides its time to break out the gear again, he is going to make one hell of a splash.
AEW Fight For The Fallen will air live on FITE on Wednesday July 15th.