Conrad Thompson: “Starrcast II is Really the Culmination of Everything I Ever Hope to do With the Original Starrcast” (Interview)

Starting on Thursday, May 23rd through Sunday, May 26th, over 5,000 fans will be between
Caesars Palace and the Tuscany Suites and Casino to celebrate current, past and future legends
of professional wrestling at Starrcast II. The four-day fan fest has a loaded schedule of events
with over-20 stage shows, meet and greets, autograph signings, unique photo opportunities,
parties and more, with some of the most iconic names in sports entertainment.

Stage shows include:
– An Evening with Cody & The Bucks
– Behind the Paint: Sting
Double or Nothing Official Press Conference & Weigh-Ins
– Sharpshooter: Bret Hart in his Own Words

Last week, Conrad Thompson, Starrcast founder, offered a behind-the-scenes look at what attendees and viewers can expect at the event during a media call. At that time, Ric Flair was still expected to be there, despite undergoing heart surgery on Monday, and host The Roast of Ric Flair but news broke a few days ago Flair’s doctors won’t allow him to travel to Vegas for the weekend events. The Roast of Ric Flair will have to be postponed to a later date yet to be determined. Flair was also scheduled for a “30 Years and 5 Stars Later” panel with WWE Hall of Famers Ricky Steamboat and Jim Ross this week. 

The Chicago event vs. The Las Vegas event

“I did feel a lot of pressure to go bigger. Some of these events that I have on the panel this year were actually ideas I had the first go-around but, for whatever reason, we just couldn’t make it happen. I
wanted to get Sting, Bret Hart, Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat talk about their feud from 1989 and do alternate commentary. Of course, Arn Anderson couldn’t do anything on stage, Taz wasn’t available. A lot of these ideas are really holdovers from the original Starrcast. So Starrcast II is really the culmination of everything I ever hope to do with the original Starrcast. I think this is the biggest and the best wrestling convention of its sort.”

The Bret Hart vs Tom Magee match airing on WWE Network 

“It went exactly as I expected it would. WWE owns that footage and they have every right to show it. I know the interest and intrigue is really high and I’m glad that someone put it together. Once the tape was found, it was really a race to say ‘hey who could do something with this? I was able to make a deal work with Tom McGee and I was ecstatic about that opportunity and we got working on a video that I thought was gonna be pretty groundbreaking. It got everybody’s attention when we posted that video the teaser for the panel, the interest for that was really high.
“Before we ever posted it, I suspected that the match would air before we got to Starrcast. Now that everyone has seen the match, now they get to ask questions about the match. We get to see Bret and Tom sit together and talk about the match together for the first time. I just think it’s going to be a unique experience. More people now know who Tom Magee is and know about the hysteria about this match the back story than they did a week ago. I don’t view it as a negative at all and I think interest will be up at the panel at Starrcast as a result.”

The Undertaker appearance cancelled 

“No concessions were made to me. Absolutely none. It would have been nice if that were to be the case. From the very first conversation, WWE and I talked about a suitable replacement for The Undertaker. I suggested the McMahons and obviously, that’s not going to happen, so I made another suggestion about maybe we could get Shawn Michaels back with Razor Ramon talking about the 1994 Ladder Match for their 25-year anniversary but that ultimately wound up not happening.
“I booked The Undertaker through Get Engaged Media and I was contacted by Get Engaged Media to let me know WWE would not allow The Undertaker to appear. So, unfortunately, WWE is getting painted with the ugly stick here and I think The Undertaker has too and I think that’s a little unfair. My deal is with Get Engaged Media who marketed and advertised him on social media. They had a contract with me and ultimately did not honour it. The heat should not be with WWE or The Undertaker. It’s Undertaker’s representation, Get Engaged Media.”

Conrad Thompson’s role in AEW

“Friend. I know the internet was abuzz this week when the AEW website had me listed as a member of the broadcast team. I don’t know why that was a surprise as I hosted the first two rallies. I’m not calling anything at Double or Nothing. I don’t have a contract with AEW. I’m great friends with Cody Rhodes and a bunch of those guys. I’ve been friends with Tony Khan for years. I don’t have a contract and I don’t have any plans moving forward. That doesn’t mean that won’t change but I
hosted the two rallies and I thought by now everybody would have figured out why
it’s not like JR was available to do. Now that they have Jim Ross under contract, why in the world would they need me to host a rally or do anything like that? If they ask me to, will I? Absolutely. Those guys are my friends and I’ll continue to support them every way I can. I don’t have an official role and my role is the exact same as it was in January or February, a friend.”

Arn Anderson and Daen Malenko on Starrcast II

“I actually meant Arn years ago, we just clicked. When it was announced that we were doing Starrcast II, I wanted to do a Horsemen photo op and, of course, you can’t do that without Arn Anderson so we lined on up. When Arn was no longer in WWE, I said ‘hey man what about a live show?’ He didn’t hate the idea and we’re glad to present Arn live on stage at Starrcast. Having Arn under the lights and without the restrictor-plate of WWE for the first time nearly 20 years, I’m excited about and I’m sure we’ll get to hear a little bit about the good old days, the Jim Crockett Promotions days. I’m sure there will be some questions from the audience about WWE. I don’t think it’s a big secret that a lot of guys have their favourite agents. John Cena has been the franchise of WWE for a generation now and Arn Anderson was his go-to guy. He’s one of the great minds of the business and, for the first time, fans really get to dig into that because he’s never done anything like this ever before so it’s one of the panels I’m most excited for.”

“I don’t think it’s a big secret that I’d already booked Arn Anderson and Arn was obviously a longtime friend of Dean Malenko, not just from the WCW days but they were both agents or producers in WWE. Once I heard before it was made public that Dean was no longer with WWE, I texted Arn and said, ‘hey man I think Dean would want to come to Starrcast’ and he replied with his
phone number. We worked the deal out, I started working on the graphics. I think I actually had it ready before it was public that he was gone. We’re excited Dean’s going to be there, especially on a weekend we’re really celebrating all things related to Horsemen. It feels like we should definitely have Dean there and we’re excited it happens.”

Starrcast in Europe in the future?

“I would absolutely be delighted to do one of these in Europe. Unfortunately, the location is not really up to me. I would like to piggyback other events and if there was the opportunity to do this somewhere in the UK, I think it would be a huge hit. Given the relationship that the Khan family has with the UK, it does make me hopeful that there will be a Starrcast in the UK at some point.”
I was able to take my podcast Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard in the UK and I was shocked at how popular the podcast was over there. A friend of mine said that he considers the UK a wrestling
crazed country and it wasn’t until I was over there that I really understood what he meant. I absolutely loved my time there and I would love to bring Starrcast there.”

Starrcast related to AEW forever?

“As for if Starrcast is an AEW thing, because we follow AEW events, that is not exactly true. The first Starrcast was based on All In, which was a Cody Rhodes and Young Bucks production. Now, they are with AEW, so that’s where I am. My loyalty to the Starrcast brand will always be with the man who believed in me and that’s Cody Rhodes. So, while on paper Starrcast LLC is 100 percent me, in my heart and mind it’s 50-50 with Cody/The Bucks and myself. Without those guys allowing me to try this last year in Chicago, there’s no way we would be doing it now in Las Vegas.
“If I’m honest, I expect if AEW continues to grow, they will have their own convention arm much like WWE has Axxess. That seems like a natural progression. I won’t compete with that and be the WrestleCon to AEW sort of like WrestleCon is to WrestleMania. WrestleCon has become their own brand, so I’m never going to swerve into that lane and try to do something like that during WrestleMania. At the same time, I don’t know if I want to compete with an AEW production. Those are my buddies and I don’t want to compete. I want to do it with them or not at all. So I’m not following AEW, I’m following Cody Rhodes.”

Starrcast II takes place from May 23-26th in Las Vegas. For full information and schedules, please visit Starrcast.com. It will also be available to stream via Fite.tv.

Starrcast II will be available for pre-order as Weekend Pass with access to over 40 hours of content for $59. Single day passes will be available for the following prices:

  • Thursday, May 23: $14.99
  • Friday, May 24: $39.99
  • Saturday, May 25: $14.99
  • Sunday, May 26: $14.99

All pics courtesy of Starrcast and AEW

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