WWE had pulled The Undertaker and Kurt Angle from this years Starrcast, exercising their “right to withhold talent from any events deemed not in the company’s best interests.”
Starrcast organizer told Sports Illustrated that a deposit was paid to The Undertaker (real name Mark Callaway) before announcing his appearance in February. Shortly after, he was contacted by his management team who told him WWE said he couldn’t appear at the event. He had his deposit refunded.
Conrad Thompson spoke on his interaction with WWE over his deal with Undertaker, saying;
“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,” Thompson told Sports Illustrated. “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.”
Thompson was told that he could not book main roster superstars, so he tried booking Shawn Michaels. Michaels turned it down due the “the close proximity of Starrcast and AEW.”
“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.”
In addition SI reveal that Kurt Angle and Undertaker both signed new WWE deals after taking the booking which allowed their employers to keep them from appearing at Starrcast II.