AEW star Wardlow has lavished praise on the current AEW World Champion CM Punk for coming into the company and bringing new eyes to talent that would have been undiscovered.
Wardlow in particular had been grinding on the independent circuit for nearly six years before joining AEW as MJF‘s personal bodyguard in 2019. Since then, “Mr. Mayhem” has broken free of Friedman becoming one of the biggest (literally) rising stars in the industry.
However, the amount of eyes that are on somebody like Wardlow has a large part to do with the arrival of Punk, who returned to wrestling after seven years at the “First Dance” edition of AEW Rampage in August 2021.
During a recent interview with Forbes, The War Dog credited the arrival of Punk for helping AEW grow in the past year, and that the continued growth of the company is only going to benefit the All Elite Wrestling roster.
“I know with CM Punk coming to our company, that’s just a million more eyes on me also and on our company and on our product, and it’s only going to help us to grow. And in the end, once we grow, the guys that are taking the backseat are going to start getting more opportunities. It takes some patience, but it’s also for the betterment of the company.” (H/T Fightful).
Wardlow also took the time to credit his humble beginnings on the independent circuit, stating that it was good for him to build himself up.
“I’m very proud to say that I’m really an AEW original and an AEW homegrown [star]. I mean, nobody knew of me outside of the Pittsburgh/Ohio area, maybe a handful of people in Chicago where I worked, but other than that, nobody knew me. I think it was beneficial for me to build myself from the ground up in AEW.” said Wardlow. (H/T Fightful).
CM Punk handed Wardlow his first loss of 2022 in AEW
Had it not been for Punk’s rivalry with MJF, Wardlow might still be under Friedman’s thumb to this day. Luckily for “Mr. Mayhem” that isn’t the case now, but the two men did have a brutal interaction in the midst of the now iconic rivalry.
On the January 12th edition of AEW Dynamite, Wardlow faced off with CM Punk in a match that saw the 34-year old nearly powerbomb Punk out of his boots, with one of those powerbombs seeing the “second city saint” go through the timekeeper’s table.
Punk picked up the victory with a sneaky roll-up after MJF got carried away after seeing Wardlow punish the former WWE star.
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