There's a difference between athletic prime/booking prime and drawing prime. Problem is, stings drawing prime encompasses one match. That match was royally screwed up and Sting was an afterthought by the end of Spring. Thus, it's hard to sell prime Sting as being 1997 since you have nothing in the ring to go by. Look, it's fine if people want to make Punk out to be better than he is. His entire career has been that. Unfortunately he's running into a buzz saw here. In the span of wrestling history, Punk is a footnote, known best for a 6 minute promo on a stage. If you're booking a kayfabe tournament, you don't waste a guy like Vader early for the sake of punk. You keep him going so he can get in a truly brutal war with a massive babyface where he finally get slated. This isn't the time or the place for it.