The Summer of Punk rolls on, as Sports Illustrated has learned that CM Punk will be a headliner at Starrcast on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Punk ranks among pro wrestling’s all-time greats, and his ability to cut some of the most prolific promos in the history of the business only enhanced his legacy. His appearance at Starrcast includes a one-on-one interview, as well as meet-and-greets that same day.
The event is independently run, and the Punk appearance is only for Starrcast, not AEW’s All Out pay-per-view later that night.
Regardless of whether Punk ever wrestles again, he has created a reservoir of lasting memories in the ring. Long after his last world title run, which ended in January of 2013, genuine interactions with his fans still mean a great deal to him.
“A highlight is easily anytime anyone has a story,” said Punk. “I do about one signing a year and the best part is always finding out how you’ve touched people’s lives in a meaningful way. A lot of it can be heavy; helped someone get clean, helped somehow with the loss of a loved one. I am always touched to know the private intimate stories people have.”
Starrcast creator Conrad Thompson knew that bringing Punk to the weekend-long wrestling convention would provide a rare experience for fans.
“We wanted to bring something unique and that hasn’t been done before at Starrcast,” said Thompson. “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.”
Starrcast is being held in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. Before Punk was a household name, he fell in love with the emotion and physicality of pro wrestling. The city of Chicago has served as the home to a plethora of monumental moments in wrestling’s storied history, including some which still resonate with Punk.
“Bret vs. Austin is the match that comes to mind,” said Punk, referring to the famed WrestleMania 13 submission match between Bret Hart and Steve Austin that catapulted Austin into another sphere as a babyface superstar. “Hell, Bret vs. Owen in a cage at SummerSlam ‘94, too. I was there live for that one, the first event held in the United Center. Third on the list would be memories of myself vs. Cena [at the Money in the Bank pay per view in 2011]. I think it’s flattering if anyone thinks one of my matches belongs up there with the previous two I mentioned.”
Starrcast has built a phenomenal reputation for its intimate moments between the people who created everlasting memories in the ring and those who were deeply impacted by them, and the event provides Punk with the opportunity to reconnect with some of his most devoted fans.
“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,” said Punk. “Looking forward to meeting everyone there.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.