A number of former professional wrestlers have gone on to become prominent right-leaning political figures — from Glenn “Kane” Jacobs who was elected the Republican mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, to Cyrus, a regular Fox News Channel contributor.
“Should we be shocked that pro wrestling embraces the GOP?” Michael Taube asked in a 2018 Wall Street Journal op-ed. “No. It’s one of the most free-market-oriented industries in the world.”
But there are also some outspoken leftists in the industry, as All Elite Wrestling star CM Punk proved following his latest match. Shortly after his defeat of Samoa Joe at Wembley Stadium in London over the weekend, he gravitated toward a fan holding a sign that stated: “Trans rights are human rights.”
The message also included an apparent dig at British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the wrestler held the sign aloft as if to lend his support.
On its own, this act might not have been enough to judge the political views of the wrestler, whose real name is Phillip Jack Brooks, but he has previously shared his opinions on other divisive social issues.
Last year, he responded to critics on social media who took exception to his apparent support of abortion by posting a provocative selfie. The photo showed him in a T-shirt bearing an image of a vagina and the caption: “Get your own, then tell it what to do.”
His win on Saturday, which garnered him the Real World Championship title, was overshadowed by more than just his post-victory antics. AEW confirmed that it was investigating a backstage “incident” between Brooks and actor Luke Perry’s son, Jack Perry, prior to the wrestling event.
There was a physical confrontation between CM Punk and Jack Perry right before CM Punk went through the curtain. Working on more details.
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) August 27, 2023
“I can’t comment on it at this time beyond what I’m about to say: Yes, there was an incident backstage before we went live on tonight’s show,” confirmed AEW CEO Tony Khan. “We are investigating it. Until I learn more about what happened, I can’t really address it at this time, so I can’t comment — but I did want to be honest with you and tell you that that is the case.”
Multiple versions of the story have emerged since then, including claims that Perry bumped into Brooks, who responded by putting him in a chokehold.