The Undertaker will be at Starrcast pn May 25, the same day as All Elite Wrestling’s Double or Nothing event. Sports Illustrated broke the news on February 14 and now the wrestling world is once again spectating as to what this means not only for Vince McMahon’s company, but for AEW as well.
The natural instinct is to jump to conclusions. Fans that have been following the AEW story since it broke have anxiously been expecting new roster additions and they have not been disappointed. Chris Jericho, Pac, Hangman Page, The Best Friends and Aja Kong are just some of the names that will join AEW when the company kicks into high gear.
Of course the most notable of the company’s signings thus far is Kenny Omega. The former IWGP champion was the hottest free agent in pro wrestling, but now he calls AEW home. So what are the chances that he will be joined by none other than The Deadman himself?
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Yes, speculation is indeed running wild. But even though Taker is appearing at Starrcast, fans need to remember that he is reportedly not going to be there for All Elite Wrestling. Starrcast host and coordinator Conrad Thompson has commented on this situation and tried to clear up any misunderstandings that fans may have.
“I know people might assume this is an AEW event, but that is not true. We have wrestlers appearing from every promotion from all over the world, and Starrcast isn’t just for All Elite Wrestling fans, it’s for all wrestling fans.”
Thompson’s explanation will undoubtedly not satisfy anyone that is convinced The Undertaker is on his way out of WWE. Again, that’s a natural instinct and it’s to be expected. After all, there is much more of an “open season” mentality in the business right now than there has been in quite some time. Or perhaps that’s just how the fans see it.
The fact is that the WWE faithful have only heard rumors to this point in regard to different talents requesting their releases and wanting to head elsewhere. Mike and Maria Kanellis were supposedly on that list, but they denied the rumors. Dolph Ziggler was also “on his way” to AEW, but he’s not moved an inch toward the door in WWE.
Then there’s The Revival, a tag team that fans just knew were on the way out. The Revival were going to sign with AEW and bring tag team wrestling back in a very big way. But not only have they not left WWE, The Revival are now the Raw Tag Team champions.
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So it’s logical to assume that fans would believe The Phenom is on his way to AEW. The mere novelty of seeing him in an All Elite ring is enough to generate buzz and that’s exactly what’s happened. But how did WWE get to this point?
How is it that the world’s largest and most successful pro wrestling company is no longer the ultimate destination for pro wrestlers? At one time, WWE was the place to be. Everything that a talent did on the way to WWE was just that: it was on the way. WWE was the goal, it was the endgame.
However, the situation in 2019 is much different than it has ever been in the past. There are plenty of men and women working in the business today that are not part of WWE. indeed, it’s entirely possible to earn a very comfortable living outside of Vince McMahon’s company and that is being proved every day.
There are more places to work now and there are more opportunities to work more places. It’s not about living the WWE dream anymore, at least not for many wrestlers. it’s about working, showing off and most importantly, having fun. Making a name, building a reputation and earning good money, are all possible outside the four walls of WWE. But that’s not the only reason why many stars are content with seeking their fortunes elsewhere.
Many fans believe that WWE, despite how much success it has, is no longer the epicenter of the industry. From a financial perspective, WWE is doing monumental business when compared to other companies. But from a creative perspective, WWE has never looked worse.
The storytelling is weak and convoluted. The characters are shallow and the angles are devoid of meaning. It’s as if everything that once made WWE special is gone and now other companies are offering an alternative.
The truth is that AEW has not even run its first event as a real company yet. Fans are not entirely sure what AEW will look like or sound like. But those fans do know that there’s more of a chance that they will get what they want with AEW than they will with WWE. It’s not necessarily about deciding which company is better overall. It’s about deciding which company has the most potential to be the most entertaining. That company may just be AEW, whether The Undertaker is onboard or not.