Wrestling star CM Punk has seemingly been removed as the cover star of the upcoming AEW: Fight Forever, with new promotional artwork replacing him with several other wrestlers. Originally, he was placed front and centre, haloed by stars including Britt Baker, Jade Cargill, Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, and Jon Moxley.
The new cover art features a fresh alignment, and the inclusion of newer wrestlers including Sting, Hangman Adam Page, MJF, Daniel Bryan, and Orange Cassidy.
You can check out the original art, and the replacement art below:
While the replacement might not seem like a big deal – AEW: Fight Forever doesn’t even have a firm release date yet, so change is to be expected – the timing may indicate CM Punk is on his way out of AEW entirely.
In September 2022, following a major bout at AEW All Out 2022 that saw CM Punk reclaim the AEW World Championship, the landscape of the burgeoning wrestling company shifted in a major way. Post-victory, Punk was invited to share his thoughts at a staged ‘media scrum’ conference – and seemingly went off-the-books to attack multiple people within AEW.
Punk claimed one member of the locker room was ‘an empty-headed, f*****g dumb f**k’ and railed against the ‘children’ he worked with. In addition, he called out fellow wrestler Colt Cabana over a court case they’d been part of several years earlier, and derided Cabana for sharing a bank account with his mother. The outburst was seemingly unscripted, and reportedly led to a major confrontation with locker room leaders Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, and Kenny Omega.
Punches were alleged thrown during this furore, with all parties involved suspended for months following the incident. At AEW Full Gear 2022, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson and Kenny Omega returned to AEW, while CM Punk was seemingly left out in the cold.
Rumours corroborated by prominent wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer indicated that AEW was set to buy out CM Punk’s contract, forcing him to leave the company for allegedly causing discord, and turning the locker room toxic. While details of this buyout, and the fate of CM Punk in AEW have not been made clear, his seeming removal from the AEW: Fight Forever cover may indicate his run with the company has now ended.
Going forward, it appears marketing for AEW: Fight Forever will include the blue cover where stars share the spotlight. While the game remains undated, we’re likely to hear more in the coming months as developer Yuke’s and THQ Nordic round out the title’s rough edges. Whether CM Punk remains in the game itself remains to be seen.