CM Punk made his return to the pro wrestling world last week, and to drum up attention for his appearance on FS1's WWE Backstage this week he sent out a tweet in which he tagged all the other show contributors, Vince McMahon, and, randomly, AEW boss Tony Khan. Khan came back with a zinger about recent travel and possible diplomatic snafus as WWE wrestlers returned from the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia:
Randy Orton, who recently signed a long-term contract extension with WWE, jumped in the fray and things got personal:
So, a lot to unpack here. This is the genre of wrestling and even though these people are sniping at each other you have to remember it's also in the service of drumming up attention for themselves and/or their promotions. The "Jacksonville Dixie" line is in reference to Dixie Carter, who ran TNA, a promotion that at its peak was nonetheless a distant No. 2 to WWE. AEW certainly fashions itself as a company that will ascend much further than TNA did.
One area where Orton may not want to throw stones is in the nepotism department; he is a third generation pro wrestler. His grandfather, Bob Orton, was a two-time NWA tag-team champion who won other regional belts and his father, Cowboy Bob Orton, held a number of heavyweight title belts in the old territories and was in Roddy Piper's corner at WrestleMania I. Is Randy Orton really delusional enough to think this lineage didn't give him a leg up in the profession?
In any event, this is all great content. The advent of AEW and the competition that fosters, in addition to the return of CM Punk to the outer edge of the WWE Universe, can only be a good thing for both wrestlers and fans.