Amid the palpable tension and anticipation surrounding AEW's return to the United Center in Chicago, Illinois for two pivotal nights, there looms a shadow of uncertainty around hometown wrestling icon, CM Punk. AEW finds itself in a precarious position following Punk's suspension, the result of a tempestuous backstage altercation with Jack Perry during their Wembley Stadium encounter last Sunday.
The suspension threatens Punk's participation not only in Saturday's "Collision" event but also in AEW's prestigious All Out in Chicago, often referred to as "The Windy City."
Ricky Steamboat Steps Up Amid Uncertainty
Should Punk's suspension hold, this would indeed leave Ricky Starks, a prominent name on the AEW roster, without an opponent for All Out.
In what could be termed as a masterstroke, AEW has decided to introduce a tantalizing storyline by reaching out to legendary Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat, positioning him in an intriguing angle opposite the "Absolute" Starks.
As confirmed by PWInsider's recent report, the esteemed WWE Hall of Famer, Steamboat, is scheduled for an appearance on "Collision" where he's expected to confront Starks. However, it's important to note that, given his age and status, Steamboat isn't currently lined up for an in-ring confrontation with Starks in a strap match on the subsequent evening.
For fans who've kept a keen eye, Steamboat's recent involvement as a special guest referee in a match between Punk and Starks on "Collision" didn't go unnoticed. Adding fuel to the fire, Starks used the opportunity to physically assault the legend with a belt post-match, stirring up controversy and amplifying his on-screen persona, even leading to a storyline "suspension." While the temptation to slot Steamboat into a high-profile pay-per-view bout might be high, AEW seems poised to leverage his Saturday appearance to tease a potential match-up with a regular roster talent for All Out.
The question remains: Will it be CM Punk, who hasn't been conclusively sidelined by AEW's Tony Khan? Or will another wrestler step up to the plate? Either way, Starks appears poised for a prominent showcase, especially after the missed chance to dazzle in front of 81,000 fans at All In.