Wrestler CM Punk's inspiration: Jon Lester (!)

August 21st, 2021

When professional wrestling star CM Punk made his highly anticipated return to the ring on Friday night after seven years away, he was inspired in part by another Chicago athletic hero: former Cubs hurler Jon Lester.

After receiving a hero's welcome during AEW's First Dance event in Chicago, Punk announced that everybody in attendance at the United Center would receive a free ice cream bar with his logo on the wrapper, a running joke dating back to his days in WWE. He got the idea from Lester, who opened a tab at four Second City bars after the Cubs declined his option last fall, inviting fans to have a beer on him as a thank you for their support. It shouldn't be surprising that quite a few took Lester up on it.

"This is the easiest home run I've ever hit, and it was a legit thank you," Punk told the media post-show. "Jon Lester came to the Chicago Cubs, and he won us a trophy, he won us a World Series. He got traded away and he opened up a tab at a bunch of bars as a way to say thank you to the fans. This is my way to say thank you to the fans -- this is personal for me."

Punk (real name Phil Brooks) is well known for his affinity for the Cubs, among other Chicago sports teams. It's not the first time he's shouted out Lester, and he has been a guest of the team multiple times, most notably when he hyped up the crowd at Wrigley Field before Game 2 of the 2016 National League Division Series against the Giants. His pep talk certainly didn't hurt: The Cubs won, 5-2, en route to their first World Series championship in 108 years.