Starrcast, the independent touring fan convention that runs in tandem with AEW's major events, made a major announcement on Thursday — CM Punk will be at Starrcast III.
The convention will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg, Illinois just outside of Chicago. This marks one of Punks' first appearances at a professional wrestling event since his sudden departure from the WWE back in 2014.
Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso confirmed that Punk's appearance will include a one-on-one sit-down interview.
"We wanted to bring something unique and that hasn't been done before at Starrcast," Starrcast creator Conrad Thompson told the magazine. "I've always wanted to have Punk at Starrcast but the timing was never right, and I'm really excited that the stars have aligned for this August.
"Fans are going to get what they've wanted for a long time, and that is CM Punk with a live mic. It's going to happen at Starrcast."
Punk's appearance will take place on the same day as All Out, AEW's biggest pay-per-view of the year and final live event before its weekly live TNT show begins this fall.
The former WWE Champion said in an interview with Barrasso that he's looking forward to the appearance, and made a brief mention of AEW.
"Knowing the weekend will be attracting fans from all over the world for AEW, and since I normally only do one signing a year, it's a great way to maybe meet people that normally I wouldn't get the chance to otherwise," Punk said. "Looking forward to meeting everyone there."
Given that All Out is taking place just outside of Punk's hometown, the speculation that he might appear under the AEW banner has run rampant ever since All Out was announced. In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Cody Rhodes spoke about the speculation.
"Last year something with All In that we noticed is that at the actual show there wasn't a single CM Punk chant," Rhodes said. "I thought, 'Great, OK. It's not that they don't like Punk, but they know that we're here and we're putting on this show.' This year I don't expect anything different. I've been very honest about that door remains opened. The fans have never given up on CM Punk and if he wanted to be part of AEW we would do everything in our power to make him part of it."0comments
"But I have 25 to 35 brand new stars," he continued. "Guys like Jungle Boy. Guys like MJF. Ladies like Kylie Rae, Britt Baker. If I was to spend all my time in trying to recruit just one CM Punk, I would be doing a disservice to them. I felt, in the past, with my own career that a disservice that has happened to me on occasion about putting someone ahead of me. You always hear the discussion of part-time, this and that. I don't want to go too far there, but I want to make AEW about performers we have."
"That door will forever remain open to CM Punk," Rhodes added. "He was very good to me in OVW. He was a great person to learn from in the ring. I had a good relationship with him. That door will remain open, but for All Out, the main focus for me is Hangman Page and Chris Jericho to determine the very first AEW World Champion."