Tony Khan On Addressing Chicago Live After Firing CM Punk – “I Felt I At Least Owed That Much”

Tony Khan (left) and CM Punk (right)

Tony Khan explained his decision to address Chicago after firing CM Punk, including why he didn’t want to speak from the middle of the ring.

Ahead of the September 2nd episode of Collision, it was announced that AEW had decided to terminate CM Punk’s contract with cause after he was involved in a backstage altercation with Jack Perry at All In the previous week. Tony Khan took responsibility for the decision, saying it was made after unanimous advice from a disciplinary council as well as legal representation.

The crowd in Chicago were loud in their response, booing the AEW President but emitting some cheers when Khan hyped up All Elite Wrestling for its success at All In as well as looked forward to All Out on September 3rd.

Speaking in a new interview with Insider, Khan addressed his decision to speak publicly to the crowd in Chicago, pointing out his family ties to the area.

“Chicago is home to my family. I grew up in Champaign. I’ve been going to the United Center since it was first built when I was 11. My family was at the show, countless friends, everyone I grew up with. It meant a lot to go out and speak to the fans and be able to put on a great show.”

Ricky Steamboat Praised Tony Khan For Turning The Chicago Crowd Around

When asked why he stood on top of the ramp to address the crowd instead of speaking in the middle of the ring, Khan explained before revealing a conversation he had with Ricky Steamboat backstage.

“[Long pause.] You can’t see everybody’s face from the center of the ring. You have to choose one side of the crowd to face when you’re in the ring. And I wanted to be able to see everybody. I felt like, I’m not a wrestler and I don’t need to be in the ring, and for this moment, I thought I would just sit down and talk to everybody. That’s why I brought out a chair.

And when I was done and walked backstage, the first person I saw was Ricky Steamboat and he said, ‘That was great, you turned the crowd. You turned them around. That’s so hard to do, and you did it.’ I felt I at least owed that much to the wrestlers and the fans, to go out there and talk to everybody.”

Tony Khan would not comment further on the situation surrounding CM Punk.