All Elite Wrestling announced last week that the Aug. 20 episode of AEW Rampage (dubbed "The First Dance") would emanate from Chicago's largest indoor venue, the United Center. While AEW's roots in the Windy City stretch back to the 2018 All In event, the company had yet to touch the home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks. But the announcement for the show came just one week after reports of CM Punk joining the company started popping up, something AEW openly started teasing with subtle hints sprinkled throughout last week's AEW Dynamite. More than 12,000 tickets were sold during the show's presale last week, and when the remaining tickets became available to the general public on Monday they were gone within five minutes.
AEW will then be in Chicago's suburbs two weeks following "The First Dance" for Dynamite, Rampage and the All Out pay-per-view at the NOW Arena (formerly the Sears Centre).
AEW Rampage @ United Center:
An early screenshot of the General Public onsale. First count I grabbed was 1,020. Mostly 200 section seats made available.
In 5 minutes they are all gone (some could re-emerge if someone doesn't complete transaction).
SOLD OUT. pic.twitter.com/NVUTVh2iIj— WrestleTix (@WrestleTix) August 2, 2021
Tony Khan was directly asked about both Punk and Daniel Bryan's arrival in AEW by the New York Post last and declined to comment. While Punk hasn't been wrestling in any official capacity since his 2014 WWE Departure, he has spoken about his interest in AEW in the past.
"I think the landscape currently is much different than when I left," Punk said while on Oral Sessions late last year."You can play the game where you're like, 'Oh, AEW was an option, would you have gone right after you left WWE?' If you are going to play that game, there is no way they (WWE) would have handled it the way they handled it with suspending me for two months and nobody contacting me and the next thing I know, I got my release papers on my wedding day. That wouldn't have happened if there was an AEW. Because then they probably would have approached me and been like, 'Hey, your suspension is up. Ready to come back to work? Let's work this out.' Or handle it like any other sports organization would have handled [a] star pitcher f—ing going home. They're not just going to let him leave the team, go to a rival organization."
"What would it take? Oh gosh. Without wanting to insult anybody on either side of the fence, any WWE talent or AEW talent, it would take, above all, an interesting scenario," he said. "A story that would be fun to tell and also just the stupidest amount of money. But, they can save themselves a lot of money if they present a fun storyline. Now, what that is, I don't know. I'm a pretty picky guy, especially at this point. I think there are more interesting people on the AEW side of things for me to wrestle and that's because I've never wrestled them before. Young Bucks, Kenny Omega."