Tony Khan has hailed CM Punk’s arrival in All Elite Wrestling as “one of the best deals I’ve ever done in my life”.
Punk made an incredible first appearance for AEW at their Rampage event in his hometown of Chicago last week, in front of a vocal, sell-out crowd.
It came eight years after Punk’s bitter and controversial exit from wrestling giant WWE – which included Punk reportedly being served his termination papers on his wedding day.
Talk and speculation had been rife during the years in between, with the man himself always staying cool about a return to the ring.
Just when fans had given up hope of seeing the performer who dubs himself the Best in the World back in the squared circle, he landed in AEW to a huge reaction.
AEW CEO Khan, who is also an owner of Fulham FC, is of course no stranger to landing major coups.
If starting up a wrestling company a couple of years ago to rival WWE wasn’t gutsy enough, he’s also been able to bag major names like Chris Jericho, Paul ‘The Big Show’ Wight, Sting and Christian as wrestlers for the organisation to name a few.
Khan has revealed, however, that Punk represents his best bit of business on that front – and insisted it took more than just money to tempt him back into the industry.
“I believe this was one of the best deals I’ve ever done in my life,” he told Le Batard and Friends.
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“I don’t think it was really all about money…we did a [media] scrum that was like 50 minutes and he gave so much of his time.
“He was so generous with really everybody that night in terms of wanting to spend time with the fans, but then creating this great moment by buying thousands and thousands of ice cream bars so that everybody at this United Center was able to go out and get their free ice cream bar.
“That was pretty amazing. That’s something that people always remember, and it was just a really cool thing for him to do for the fans.
“He was also really cool about going backstage and offering really, really kind advice, being really good with his time with the wrestlers.
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“It’s going to help us grow the business, but sustain AEW for many, many years to come. So, I think it was one of the best deals I’ve ever done.”
Khan even added that Punk’s remarkable debut – which helped garner over 1 million television viewers for Rampage – surpassed the other standout AEW moments with household names.
He added: “We brought in some of the biggest stars in the world.
“Shaquille O’Neal, Mike Tyson, Snoop Dogg have all gotten in the ring and done stuff for us, and many other great moments. So many critically acclaimed matches.
“We’ve set rating milestones, but nothing has done what we’ve done with this.”
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