Starrcast II has taken a pretty wicked uppercut. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Starrcast II organizer Conrad Thompson revealed that thanks to pressure from WWE, two of the biggest names booked, The Undertaker and Kurt Angle have pulled out of their scheduled appearances at the event.
During the interview, Thompson explained:
“I was told it had gotten WWE’s attention and that Vince McMahon texted The Undertaker about the appearance. ’Taker’s representation, which is a company called Get Engaged, called to tell me, ‘WWE says he can’t do it.’
Thompson added that he had a friend reach out to Vince McMahon, and was told WWE wasn’t upset with Thompson but The Undertaker, who WWE felt shouldn’t be doing personal appearances outside of WWE. It appears Angle was sort of lumped in with Taker. “I was assured that damages would be covered, a suitable replacement offered, or some sort of compromise to make everyone happy,” Thompson said.
Further to the explanation and seemingly not upset at first with the unfortunate changes, Thompson suggested Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, or Triple H as possible replacements. If WWE could make that work, Thompson would donate 100 percent of the proceeds to Conor’s Cure and match the donation personally. It is assumed that those options were declined.
In an effort to come up with additional alternatives, Thompson also wondered if Shawn Michaels might be an option, but Michaels had no interest considering how closely AEW is connected to Starrcast’s event, even if the two companies are not the same. One has to assume Michaels understood WWE’s stance and had no interest in ruffling feathers.
Thompson did note he was given a full refund from Undertaker’s booking company, Get Engaged.
Is WWE in the Right?
There will certainly be fans who get upset at WWE for pulling their stars. Legally, this is an understandable position by Vince and co. Having given The Undertaker and Kurt Angle new WWE contracts, it makes sense they wouldn’t want to give the impression that either is working for companies that aren’t WWE. The new deals are rumored to be quite lucrative and with them, WWE wants to maintain a level of control.
Now that replacements seem harder to come by, count Thompson in as someone who isn’t impressed.
“I had an agreement in place with the talent,” said Thompson. Saying he provided every rider and accommodation asked of him, he’s concerned the fans are now the ones getting the shaft, even if Conrad himself is out money based on the marketing efforts he put in after he’d confirmed their involvement.
“Now, thanks to the influence of WWE, the performers are missing out on substantial income and the fans are being punished.”
For now, no news has come out as to whether or not WWE actually plans to offer another star or stars.