WWE has forced The Undertaker and Kurt Angle to pull out of their scheduled appearances at the Starrcast II wrestling convention next month, the convention’s creator Conrad Thompson told Sports Illustrated.
The convention will be taking place from May 23-26 in Las Vegas, NV. Though it’s not officially connected to AEW, several AEW wrestlers are booked and AEW Double or Nothing will take place on May 25 in Vegas.
The Undertaker and Kurt Angle apparently have contracts that allow WWE to “withhold talent from any events deemed not in the company’s best interests,” Sports Illustrated said.
Here’s what Conrad Thompson said:
The announcement went wide and viral. 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.’
I had a friend discuss the situation with Vince McMahon, and I was assured the ‘heat’ wasn’t on me or my event but rather that The Undertaker shouldn’t be doing personal appearances outside of WWE. I was assured that damages would be covered, a suitable replacement offered, or some sort of compromise to make everyone happy.
I suggested Vince McMahon, Hunter, or Stephanie McMahon. And I said I would donate 100 percent of the proceeds to Conor’s Cure and match the donation personally, which would turn a negative into a positive for everyone involved. I asked to keep Kurt Angle and announce Shawn Michaels as the replacement for The Undertaker. I offered to book everyone ‘through the office.’ I wanted to play by the rules but I felt like I already had, since each of these guys were actively marketing themselves for outside appearances via booking agents or their own social media. I have checked in daily for a week now and nothing is changing.
I had an agreement in place with the talent. Without exception, I dealt directly with the talent or their management, they set their terms, and I complied. First class travel accommodations were made and marketing was done. Now, thanks to the influence of WWE, the performers are missing out on substantial income and the fans are being punished.
It was reported in February that Vince McMahon was very unhappy about Undertaker taking the booking.