Wrestling Promoter Defends CM Punk From 'Locker Room Cancer' Label

CM Punk has been labeled a "locker room cancer" by several fans and wrestling pundits alike since the infamous post-All Out backstage incident in September. That said, the likes of Dax Harwood and Ricky Starks have publicly defended Punk's stint with AEW — which began in August 2021 — to the point where Starks put over Punk as a positive influence in the locker room and someone who exemplifies "leadership in the truest form."

GCW Owner Brett Lauderdale is the latest wrestling voice to defend Punk's reputation from widespread besmirching. "Our (GCW) experience w/ CM Punk was positive across the board," Lauderdale wrote on Twitter. "He was gracious, generous, giving of his time & energy & happy to join us on his day off. He went above & beyond for everyone." He added, "Someday when the time is right, I hope we can reveal the full details of our arrangement."

The GCW boss was referring to Punk's appearance at the Indie Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony back in January, where indie legends such as Ruckus, LuFisto, Homicide, Tracy Smothers, Dave Prazak, and Jerry Lynn were honored. Punk was at the event to induct Prazak, whom he referred to as "the most influential person in independent wrestling history" and the individual responsible for his early journey in the indie circuit. 

Even as the wrestling community remains split with regard to Punk's AEW stint, Harwood has made a public plea to Punk and The Elite to "please find a way to make it work" for the sake of the future of the business. Punk is currently sidelined with a torn triceps injury, on top of being kept off AEW television for his role in the backstage fracas at All Out. AEW President Tony Khan has yet to confirm or deny the reports of Punk and AEW parting ways after rumblings of a contract buyout.