The Liverpool Echo Arena awash with chanting, singing pro wrestling fans as CM Punk steps between the ropes for the first time in three years. The tattooed grappler stares down Zack Sabre Jr. in a world far from WWE.
Anticipation fills the building like water in a sinking ship.
Could this fantasy scene actually unfold? Could the former WWE star re-enter the ring by way of the British independent wrestling scene?
The promoter of 5 Star Wrestling certainly hopes so.
Daniel Hinkles, headman and founder of the upstart wrestling promotion, is willing to reach to the very bottom of his pockets to secure Punk.
Gary Stonehouse of The Sun wrote: “The former WWE world champion has been offered the biggest contract ever seen in UK by British organisation 5 Star Wrestling to make a comeback.”
A million dollars to be exact.
Hinkles wants to entice Punk out of retirement to compete in a 128-man tournament in June.
Punk, though, hasn’t wrestled since his ugly divorce with WWE in early 2014. He has since been busy writing comic books, trying to transition into being a UFC fighter and is set to appear on The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros, as MTV announced in April.
The time has come. Welcome to the show @CMPunk #UFC203 https://t.co/1OnnlBT0Rl
9/11/2016, 3:18:31 AM
When word of 5 Star Wrestling’s offer emerged, doubt naturally kept up for many. After all, every other whisper of a potential Punk return has dissipated with nothing to show for it.
IWNerd.com wondered aloud about the situation: “Publicity stunt? Or could this actually happen?”
It’s far from a safe bet, but that’s quite the hefty paycheck potentially awaiting Punk.
He would be given a hero’s welcome if he returned. By signing on with the British promotion, he wouldn’t have to mend the scorched bridge with WWE. He would be able to return to his roots, performing wrestling in a pure form.
Punk’s short return tenure would likely look a lot like AJ Styles’ run with 5 Star Wrestling in January 2016.
Per CageMatch.net, Styles faced Jay Lethal, Rey Mysterio and John Morrison in a three-day span. He offered fans a trio of dream matches, cashed his check and traveled onward.
Punk could follow a similar path. If he ever makes a comeback, it’s not likely to be one where he suffers through a grueling schedule. He’s too busy, too beat up to to be a workhorse again.
Instead, he could make massive waves in the wrestling world by taking Hinkles’ deal, increasing the name power of the 5 Star Wrestling event by leaps and bounds.
For his first match back, Marty Scurll would make a mighty fine opponent.
The Villain is a rapidly rising star in Britain’s booming wrestling scene. He’s a top-notch heel with a nasty streak who looks like a Guillermo Del Toro reimagining of The Penguin.
Marty Scurll @MartyScurll
Finally, the Bullet Club is Vilified 🌂
#villain ☔️ https://t.co/oXao2h9oO1
5/13/2017, 3:52:57 AM
A battle with Punk would elevate his name. And the young stud would no doubt excel opposite The Second City Saint.
Morrison, who is 5 Star Wrestling’s current champion, would make an intriguing second foe.
The two met long ago as members of the WWE roster. Punk has become a far more beloved figure since then. Morrison has developed as a performer since their meeting in the late ’00s.
Revisiting their WWE rivalry in a new setting would be fun, but 5 Star Wrestling would be sure to give us bouts we’ve never seen before.
If you’re going to pay a guy a million dollars, you better deliver something unforgettable. And that’s exactly what Punk vs. Sabre Jr. would be.
5 Star Wrestling would be wise to make sure that clash happens, pitting The Technical Wizard against Punk, who now has some MMA moves to pull out of his toolbox.
Sabre Jr. is one of the finest technical wrestlers working today. He’s a smooth submission specialist with a bevy of championship belts to his name.
His collision with Punk would be an instant classic.
After dropping a bout to Sabre in the tournament, shaking his hand out of respect and waving farewell to the fans, Punk could slide back into his normal life. His brief re-entry would allow him to taste the art he loved for so long with no long-term commitment and without the headaches of backstage politics.
The fans in Liverpool would erupt for his arrival and savor every knee strike and suplex he delivered. Punk would add to his legend and give a fledgling promotion the boost of a lifetime.
Not a bad way to earn a million bucks.