Chicago’s wrestling tradition grows even richer with WWE Payback

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June 02, 2013

CM Punk will face Chris Jericho at WWE Payback in Punk's hometown of Chicago.

Chicago will make sports-entertainment history on Sunday, June 16, when WWE Payback debuts from the Allstate Arena, and as any astute member of the WWE Universe knows, there is nary a better place to host an inaugural pay-per-view event than The Windy City.

The squared circle is as much a part of Chicago’s DNA as the Daley family, blistery conditions and Vienna Beef hot dogs (untainted by ketchup, naturally).

With one of The Second City’s favorite sons, CM Punk, making his in-ring return against Chris Jericho on June 16, the timing and location of WWE Payback seem almost too good to be true for Punk loyalists. Yet, the arrangement is one that stands to benefit WWE Universe at large, too, thanks to Chicago’s famously boisterous atmosphere, which always seems to bring out the best in Superstars and Divas.

Watch Chicago's wrestling highlights | See images of The Windy City's rich ring legacy

“There’s only a handful of cities where it’s great to work every time and Chicago’s one of them,” said the normally hard-to-impress World Heavyweight Champion, Dolph Ziggler. It is not yet known whether The Showoff — who is still recovering from a concussion suffered in May — will be cleared to compete in time for WWE Payback, but that didn’t stop him from explaining the unmistakable charm of Chicago’s passionate, albeit demanding, fan base. 

“It’s like a New York crowd, where you get cheers for ‘bad guys,’ sometimes, but there’s such a good crowd that it’s so fun to perform there,” he said. “I always have a blast.”

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