Tony Schiavone has revealed that the plan for the AEW debut of CM Punk on Rampage was actually changed on the day.
Tony Khan’s original plan had been for Schiavone to introduce Punk, but it was changed to Punk just walking out by himself.
Also noteworthy is that Khan never mentioned CM Punk by name in backstage meetings, referring to him only as a ‘special guest’.
Speaking on What Happened When, Schiavone said:
“We have our meetings a day before, and our meetings are usually on the telephone now. We used to meet in person, we don’t anymore. And even though most of us, almost everybody, you either have had your vaccine or you’ve tested negatively, we still just – it’s become a thing just to do it on the phone. Tony (Khan) read over the format and the format had said ‘Special Guest’. And Tony referred to him as ‘a special guest’. True to form, Tony did not say CM Punk’s name at all.
“And then he contacted me later in the night, and via text he said, ‘Listen, I’m thinking that I’m gonna have you introduce him’, he said, ‘I think that’s what I’m gonna do’. I said I’d be honored, I said, ‘But, we need to talk about what I’m gonna say because what I’m gonna say should be minimal. I don’t need to go on some big thing’. And he said, ‘Okay’.
“So, got to the building, my name was on the format, ‘Tony Schiavone introduces Special Guest’. CM Punk arrived, I was told he was in his room – the room, by the way, was marked ‘Special Guest’. So he arrives and he has a couple of people with him. One’s an old ECW guy, let me think for a second. Lou Dangerously (also known as Sign Guy Dudley). And there was someone else and I know he has wrestled before, he’s a friend of his so, he’s got a couple of guys with him.
“Sat there and talked to him for a little bit, and Tony Khan came in and we all three sat and talked, and it was decided – and I really think rightfully so even though I really wanted to be a part of this – it was rightfully so that he would come out on his own.
“He (Punk) said, ‘Listen, I want you to interview me, we’ll do it on Dynamite. I want you to hold the microphone, I don’t want to jerk it out of your hands like people have done’. And I said, ‘Okay’, so that apparently is going to, as this thing drops, going to air tonight. Me talking to him in Milwaukee.”
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As Schiavone mentioned, CM Punk will be on AEW Dynamite for an interview tonight, and will be making his in-ring return at All Out on September 5 against Darby Allin.