The professional wrestling world is still feeling the ripple effects from AEW All Out. Even now over six weeks removed from the event and its subsequent press conference, All Elite Wrestling remains without four of its top stars: CM Punk, Kenny Omega, and the Young Bucks. Those four men were involved in a backstage fight after Punk ran down Omega and the Bucks' leadership abilities in his presser. This resulted in suspensions for all parties involved, including those who attempted to break it up. In the weeks since, suspensions were lifted on men who tried to separate the brawlers, such as Christopher Daniels and Pat Buck, but permanent consequences revolving around the ones who got physically involved remained nonexistent.
That changed earlier this week when reports surfaced that AEW had released Ace Steel from his contract. Steel, Punk's trainer, served as a backstage producer and allegedly bit Omega in the locker room brawl.
Steel may not be the only contract casualty as a result of this situation. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that AEW is in active talks with Punk about his future in the company, but it currently "looks doubtful" that he will return. Sources with "close knowledge" of the ongoing situation said that there are talks about a buy-out of Punk's contract.
It's worth noting that the stall right now revolves around the non-compete period. While it's unclear as to if Punk is interested in going to WWE or vice versa, Meltzer reports that the only reason that the non-compete would be an issue is because of WWE, as they are the only other promotion that could pay Punk close to his AEW salary. Even though both Punk and WWE have shown contempt towards each other in the past, Meltzer noted that "the optics of looking publicly like they have taken Punk from AEW would be very significant."
Regardless of a non-compete, Punk's triceps injury has him out of action until deep into next year. That means that if Punk were to be released this week and received a six-month non-compete, he would likely not be fully recovered until after that non-compete period concludes anyways.
If this does end Punk's AEW run, he leaves behind two world title victories and two pay-per-view main events. Many praise Punk's multi-month rivalry with MJF as well, with Friedman himself calling it the greatest feud in AEW history.
Stay tuned to ComicBook.com for updates on CM Punk's AEW status.