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It seems like the wrestling gods have finally answered all of our prayers. It was officially announced last week that CM Punk would be a part of Starcast III during ALL OUT weekend in Chicago. As excepted, this news broke the internet, with people believing that this might be the prelude to Punk eventually signing with AEW.
Ever since leaving WWE in 2014, Punk has cut himself off from wrestling, except for a few sporadic appearances at a few independent shows, all of which were under a mask. Punk has vowed to not return to WWE, and has even ruled out a return to wrestling altogether.
We have also seen AEW executives, Cody and The Young Bucks, openly speak about wanting to have the former WWE Champion in their ranks. Various reports have suggested that CM Punk was one of the first names that AEW president, Tony Khan, wanted to sign back when he toyed with the idea of starting a new wrestling promotion.
While Punk signing with AEW isn't beyond the realm of possibility, we would like to see him return to his old stomping grounds (and, no, we are not talking about WWE) rather than signing with a promotion which already has a pretty stacked roster.
Despite his highly-successful run in WWE, CM Punk's time in ROH is something fans will never forget. The Second City Savior's work for the promotion from 2002 to 2006 made him one of their first performers to capture the imagination of the so-called "Internet Wrestling Community". Punk's rivalry with Raven was what brought ROH into prominence.
This was followed by Punk's feud with Samoa Joe over the ROH Championship, which went on to achieve cult status among fans. Punk defeated Austin Aries to capture the ROH at Death Before Dishonor III in what many believed was going to be Punk's final match with the promotion as he had already signed with WWE.
Punk would turn heel following his victory, threatening to take the ROH World Championship to WWE and signing his WWE contract on top of the said championship. Punk would eventually lose to title to Jack Gibson (Jamie Noble) on August 12, 2005. The storyline involving Punk's title and him turning his back on ROH fans was called 'The Summer of Punk'. The Straight Edge Superstar's last match in the promotion was against his then real-life best friend, Colt Cabana, at the aptly titled event called Punk: The Final Chapter.
2019 hasn't been a great year of ROH. After starting the year with a bang by selling out MSG in record time (in conjunction with New Japan Pro Wrestling), the Maryland-based promotion has been struggling with low PPV buys and live event attendance. The promotion's last big show, Best In The World, saw hordes of empty seats and had a mere 1,400 PPV buys. This isn't a good look for ROH, which has been considered by many to be the second-largest promotion in North America for the past few years.
The departure of Cody, The Young Bucks and the rest of The Elite squad has been a huge setback for the company. ROH needs a big name to counter the rise of AEW and stay afloat in what is going to be a highly-competitive market come fall.
Despite walking out of the business five years ago, CM Punk is still one of the biggest names in the industry. While his career in MMA didn't exactly live up to the hype, the Chicago native has managed to stay in the news and become a cult figure within the IWC.
Punk would be a massive get for any wrestling promotion in the world and someone who can pull ROH out of the mess that it is in right now. Earlier this year, there were reports of ROH wanting to bring Punk aboard for an appearance at the G1 SuperCard, which ultimately did not materialize. Who is to say that the Sinclair Broadcasting backed promotion wouldn't be looking to acquire Punk's services if he were to announce his intention to return to the squared circle.
Just the news of Punk appearance in ROH will be enough to send shockwaves around the wrestling community. We believe that the company could use Punk as a special attraction, much like what WWE does with Brock Lesnar. Unlike AEW, ROH doesn't have a live weekly cable TV program, which means Punk will have a limited schedule. ROH usually tapes weeks of television in advance (at one go) and does only a handful of house shows per year. Punk can continue his commentary gig with Cage Fighting while still working for ROH.
This is a win-win situation for all the parties involved. Punk is a name that can help rebuild ROH and we believe that the company must seriously consider bringing their former World Champion back into the fold. It will be quite sad to see a company like ROH, with such a rich history, bite the dust and fade into oblivion.Published 26 Jul 2019, 22:30 IST