CM Punk returns to the ring in front of a raucous Chicago

There’s no shortage of big-name talent filling out this event. Look no further than AEW championship match between champion Kenny Omega and challenger Christian Cage. Plus, Chris Jericho will take on MJF in a match where Jericho has stipulated he will retire if he is beaten. There’s also a massive tag-team title contest set between The Young Bucks and Lucha Brothers that will take place inside a steel cage.

The action goes down from Now Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois beginning with the Buy-In pre-show at 7 p.m. ET before the pay-per-view main card an hour later.

After a month of rumor and speculation, CM Punk officially returned to wrestling on the Aug. 20 episode of AEW Rampage. The whispers started with a report from Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp, one of wrestling’s most reliable journalists. Sapp reported on July 22 that CM Punk has been in talks with AEW for an in-ring return.

These whispers became shouts on the July 28 episode of Dynamite. At the beginning of the show, a special edition of Rampage was announced. (Note: Rampage debuted last Friday, so this Friday’s episode is only the second episode.) It’ll be called The First Dance, and will broadcast out of Chicago’s United Center. With Punk being synonymous with Chicago, the Dynamite crowd broke out into a “CM Punk” chant. In the very next segment, Darby Allin said AEW is the only place to prove you’re the greatest — “even if you think you’re the best in the world.”

“The Best in the World” was CM Punk’s moniker during his run in WWE. With Darby’s allusion to Punk coming straight after the announcement of Chicago’s show, the wrestling world has taken that as a confirmation that Punk is bound to appear at Friday’s Rampage to set up a match against Darby at All Out.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Punk opened the Aug. 20 episode of Rampage to a massive reaction from the ground, gave a rousing and from-the-heart speech to the fans, and capped it off by challenging Darby Allin to a match at All Out. It’ll be hist first official wrestling match since the 2014 Royal Rumble — the last time Punk wrestled, Barack Obama was still president and The Undertaker still had an undefeated WrestleMania streak.

CM Punk returns to the ring for the first time in seven years on Sunday evening.

For the last seven years, CM Punk had been considered the white whale of professional wrestling. A return to the ring after his WWE exit in January 2014 seemed highly unlikely.

The former WWE champion shocked the world on Aug. 20 when he returned on All Elite Wrestling’s Rampage. Punk announced that he would be making his in-ring return on Sunday against Darby Allin from the NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., right outside Punk’s hometown of Chicago.

What can you expect from AEW All Out 2021? CM Punk return plus rumours of Ruby Soho and Daniel Bryan

The biggest story heading into All Out tonight is undoubtedly the return of CM Punk after seven years away from wrestling, and this is a rare occasion where a company can be forgiven for not having a world championship match in the main event.

Punk’s match with Darby Allin – which he should absolutely win – will likely end the show in Chicago, while he could be joined by an old friend with Daniel Bryan heavily rumoured to be making his AEW debut tonight.

Similarly, the Casino Battle Royale – with the winner getting a shot at the women’s championship – is guaranteed to deliver a surprise with the Joker entry, and while Ruby Soho is the only real option, she should also win the match.

Kenny Omega will likely retain in a hard fought clash with Christian Cage, and despite Eddie Kingston being ready it feels like Miro should keep building momentum with the TNT Title.

Likewise, Britt Baker needs to hold onto the gold, and Young Bucks will probably have another successful defence before moving onto their next challenger.

Paul Wight should win decisively against QT Marshall, Jon Moxley will beat Satoshi Kojima, and there’s sure to be emotional scenes with MJF beats Chris Jericho and forces him into retirement. This will be an historic night, and one you don’t want to miss!

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