Report: AEW Originally Offered Colt Cabana A New Deal In 2022 Before Withdrawing It
More to the whole situation that led to Brawl Out
18 months on from the initial situation, further details have been revealed about Colt Cabana's contract negotiations with All Elite Wrestling in 2022.
Cabana had been a part of AEW since 2020 when he debuted at that year's Revolution pay-per-view and he was appearing on-screen as part of Dark Order while also working behind the scenes as a producer. Cabana's deal was coming up and it emerged at the time that Tony Khan decided not to offer Cabana a new deal but a new contract was put on the table following lobbying from other AEW talents.
The situation ended up having unforeseen consequences as many talents in the AEW locker room believed CM Punk was involved in Tony Khan's decision. Both Punk and Khan have denied that publicly but that didn't stop rumours from continuing to swirl in the locker room. Punk's role/non-role led to backstage issues with The Elite that gathered momentum to the point a backstage fight occurred at All Out 2022. Issues between Punk and The Elite were then never resolved by the time Punk was fired on September 2, 2023 following another backstage fight at All In 2023, this time with Jack Perry.
Writing in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer has now reported that Cabana was actually offered a new deal by AEW and he was about to put pen to paper, only to be suddenly told the deal was off. This led to The Young Bucks and Chris Jericho going to bat for Cabana with Tony Khan. Cabana was then offered a new deal to work mostly as a producer for Ring of Honor, effectively banishing him from AEW.
Cabana would re-sign and he remained a part of Ring of Honor, although he began to work backstage at AEW Dynamite tapings after ROH TV started to be taped following AEW Collision shows.
CM Punk and Colt Cabana were previously best friends but they had a very public falling out during the aftermath of Punk's appearance on Cabana's Art of Wrestling podcast in November 2014. Punk's comments on the podcast led to both him and Cabana being sued by then-WWE doctor Chris Amann in a lawsuit that didn't go anywhere. The lawsuit did lead to their friendship falling apart, though, with a rift emerging after Cabana had pizza with Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and PAC, who were WWE employees at the time, while the lawsuit was ongoing.
Cabana later sued Punk over a claim that Punk promised to cover his legal bills, which Punk did not do. Punk then countersued Cabana before they eventually agreed to dismiss both lawsuits.