Conrad Thompson Addresses Rumors Regarding AAA Relationship, Ric Flair's In-Ring Future, Booker T's Final Match, And More! - Exclusive

The pro wrestling business never sleeps, and a big reason for that these days is Conrad Thompson.

When not co-hosting one of his six podcasts with pro wrestling legends like Eric Bischoff, Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, or his initial break-out sensation, Bruce Prichard, Thompson also keeps himself busy organizing the now somewhat annual Starrcast events. Most recently, Thompson took his carnival of talent down to Nashville to treat wrestling fans, many of whom were in town for WWE SummerSlam, to once-in-a-lifetime experiences. On deck next? Thompson will head down to Australia in 2023 to host a huge Starrcast-esque event called Oceania, alongside his fellow producers — former NWA World's Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis, and former WWE Women's Champion Mickie James.

In this exclusive interview with Wrestling Inc. Senior News Editor Nick Hausman, Thompson addresses rumors regarding his relationship with AAA, Ric Flair's in-ring future, Booker T's claim that he was offered a "last match" by Thompson, a potential Vince McMahon podcast, and more!

Taking Starrcast Down Under

Nick Hausman: The thing of the moment that I just got a press release about a week ago, it sounds like you're going down to Australia with Mickie James, Nick Aldis, and whoever else knows for this big convention called Oceania. Tell me about this. Why are you getting into this thing?

Conrad Thompson: Well, listen, we are always looking for opportunity to sort of grow the Starrcast opportunity. And we've had a lot of requests. "Hey man, I wish there was a Starrcast here. I wish there was a Starrcast there." And a fellow approached us with a pretty good idea and a pretty good game plan of how we thought we could bring not just a Starrcast, but an actual wrestling event. And I thought, "Well, yeah, man, sign me up. That sounds like fun." So we're in the process of putting it all together. I'd be lying if I said, "I had some sort of date or announcement here to make today." Other than just to say, we're working on it, man. Australia, we're coming your way in 2023, and well, here's a little scoop for you: that probably won't be the only Starrcast next year, Nick, how about that?

Well, hey, let's double back to that in just a second here. But while we're looking at Australia, do you want to do anything differently with this event than you've done with Starrcast in the past?

Well, we've always tried to piggyback some sort of event. For the first four, we piggybacked an AEW pay-per-view, or I guess the first one was All In, sort of pre-AEW. And then the next three we're piggybacking AEW events, and the most recent one, we piggyback SummerSlam. And I just felt strongly that, man, we want to make this a destination. "Come see this match and that match and this program and all that sort of thing, and hey, while you're here, before you go to the show, stop by and get your pictures and autographs, maybe see some panel discussions." So we had to have a show put together there in order for that to make sense. And that's where we'll lean on the expertise of Nick Aldis and Mickie James and those of the wrestling ilk. I'm going to handle the Starrcast stuff, and they'll handle the wrestling show, and should be a good time.

Plans For Oceania

So there's going to be a wrestling component here ... You've been known to have a hook — a big match, or a person. Do you have an Australian wrestler or act in mind that you kind of want to make sure is a part of this particular convention?

Well, listen, I'd be lying if I said that we had the whole thing mapped out ... We just know that we've got an opportunity where we think we can give a new fan base something that they haven't seen before. And so, I mean, I don't have it all mapped out in my head and obviously that's up to Nick and Mickie and all the folks handling the wrestling show. But I kind of like the idea of these super indie shows, sort of like, if you could imagine what we did on the undercard for Ric Flair's Last Match, you had all the different promotions represented. I don't know off the top of my head, but I don't think [Major League Wrestling] has ran an Australia show and I don't think the [National Wrestling Alliance] has in a long time. And I don't know that Impact's ever been down there. And I don't think anyone from AAA has been down there, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And there's a lot of great talent that have an opportunity to showcase what they can do somewhere else. So I don't have a marquee matchup or anything like that here for us to announce today, but I'm sure we will. And I'm sure that we'll have some storytelling devices and maybe try to use our podcast platform to build some intrigue and create some dream matches.

What I want to do is have stuff of consequence. All In felt like a show of consequence, and Ric Flair's Last Match felt like a show of consequence. And it feels like a lot of times when people talk about, "Well, the WVU went to Australia, but what they do? Did they just run a series of matches? Was it just essentially a house show just 24 hours away?" That's what it always felt like to me. But if we can have something where there are titles at stake or there's a story on the line, something significant that advances a storyline or there's a title change, or a dream match of sorts, I do want something like that. But what we're trying to do right now, of course, is just figure out what everyone's availability is, because scheduling is a big piece of all of this with that type of travel. So once we get all that coordinated and we feel really good about, okay, here's the hook, as you said, for the wrestling show, then we'll build Starrcast around that. But right now we're still figuring out all those logistics, because we got to coordinate quite a bit of travel for folks to get all the way down there.

Rumors Of A Relationship With AAA

You brought up how you've been able to patchwork together these relationships with all these promotions to create these really unique and interesting undercards. Now, I know you saw the story about you meeting with AAA, and then this rumor ran rampant that you were going to help them do some 7,000-seat show in LA during WrestleMania weekend. Clarify from your end, what exactly is the relationship here between you and AAA right now, Conrad? And what are your ambitions, promotion-wise, I guess?

I don't aim to have a promotion. I know that's been a big discussion on the heels of Ric Flair's Last Match, and we've certainly played into that a little bit on Jeff Jarrett's podcast. But that's just tongue-in-cheek, just to have fun. We don't have some grandiose plan to start a wrestling promotion, myself and Jeff or whatever, but does that mean that I want to still continue to create content and build experiences for fans? Of course. So I'm going to continue to create podcasts, and continue to do Starrcast, and continue to create content and work on other stuff. But I do think it's valuable to have relationships where you can. We've got a referral deal going with Impact right now — if folks listen to Jeff Jarrett's podcast and they sign up for the Impact Plus app, they can use promo code "Jeff," and blah, blah, blah.

And clearly I've done some stuff with AEW in the past, whether it was appearing on their programming, or holding some press conferences, or doing their conventions with Starrcast. And obviously I'm a friend of WWE. I've loaned them a lot of footage. And Ric Flair's documentary that comes out later in the month, you'll see some of my belts and robes and all that stuff, that's all featured in there. And so my relationship with all these folks are, I'm basically Switzerland, dude. I mean, I don't mean for that to sound the way it does, but that's kind of it. I don't work for AAA, I don't work for Impact, I don't work for AEW, I don't work for WWE. I think the world of Dorian, the fellow who owns AAA and is sort of leading that charge, and I hope that their show in Tempe this past week was super successful. My understanding is it was the first time any event was ran in that arena, and pretty notable that Cain Velasquez was there. And I saw your report that maybe he's going to do something in LA. Yes, I would love to be helpful for anyone and everyone to try to succeed in wrestling, but I don't have an official title. I don't work in any official capacity with any wrestling company.

Ric Flair's Peacock Documentary

So you brought up Ric, so it sounds like you're going to be a part of the documentary. Are you on screen, or is it just your stuff? What's your level of participation here in the doc?

I was interviewed for the documentary, as was my wife. I suspect that my stuff will wind up on a cutting room floor. That's a long story, but I think that they have her in it. I think she may have received some sort of a document in her email or some such.

And what do you think fans can expect from this one? What do you think they're going to get?

Well, if you listen to Ric on his podcast every week, he talks about how he's just letting it rip and he's pulling no punches. And if you're a friend of Ric's in real life, occasionally that'll bubble up and you'll hear how he really feels about this guy or that guy. And he was, he's been pretty critical in the things that I've heard. He said in the documentary — I haven't seen it yet, he told me that he saw it and they left it all in — but he doesn't hold anything back based on his opinion or feelings about certain wrestling personalities and luminaries, and old relationships as they may be.

So what happened between him and Eric [Bischoff] here? I'm a little confused. Eric made a comment to Ric, that Ric took the wrong way. I'm not entirely certain what the heat is here with these two at the moment.

Neither am I, and neither is [Eric] ... When I asked Eric about it, he didn't remember what he said in the documentary, but Ric said on the podcast that Eric said something on the documentary that when he saw it back, pissed him off. And that's not the first time that's happened. When Ric saw "30 for 30," the ESPN documentary from five years ago or whatever it was ... he was pretty off about that too, with what some folks had to say. And so a few people got some nasty text messages, because nobody wants to see or hear or read someone that they know, like, and care about say something that was maybe less than flattering ... I'm not exactly sure what Eric said, but I guess we'll find that on the 26th, if I understand it. That's when the Peacock documentary airs.

But I know that Ric has let it slip on our podcast a few times that he feels like he wasn't appreciated in WCW the way a Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage or what have you, were. Where in his mind's eye, those guys came in, made more money, and he was asked to put them over. And of course, that's just the nature of the business, but Ric certainly feels a certain type of way about it and has some animosity towards Eric. I guess that bubbles to the surface, which is odd because they were just together in July at The Roast of Ric Flair, and seemed like it was all smiles.

That's what I thought. I thought they buried the hatchet. That's why I was so surprised to see them back at each other's throats or whatever again.

Well, I don't think Eric is at his throat just yet, but we'll see what happens when this documentary comes out. But there's something in there that's got Ric pretty upset, and I, for one, am going to be watching on the 26th.

Booker T's Last Match

Ric has come out and said that he wants to wrestle again. He wants to be in the Rumble, or whatever he said. How do you feel about that, having promoted what was explicitly labeled as his last match?

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but that's click bait. Anybody who actually listens to the podcast knows that he's said that tongue-in-cheek, laughing ... Even when he talked about the Rumble, he's like, "Somebody reported that I'm going to be at the Rumble. I'm not. I'm going to be at the 30th Anniversary "Raw." I am going to be in San Antonio, but I'm doing a signing for Fitterman, but I'll bring my gear, I'll bring my robe. Hell yeah, I'll be number 30." It's a joke. It's not serious. He's not really going to be in the Rumble, but I know that gets people talking and it gets people buzzing. But the reality is, Ric's not going to wrestle again.

Booker T has said a couple times now that you approached him about doing a final match. Now on your end, how did those talks go? 

Nothing. They didn't exist. I never approached Booker about having a last match, but I think as you and I are talking, Booker's wrestling this weekend for his promotion. I think the world of Booker and I respect Booker, but I've never had a conversation with Booker about doing a last match. Not once.

Would you be open to that as a possibility if it came up, or no?

No, I would not. I mean, again, I like Booker and appreciate what he's done, and appreciate his legacy. But if you recall, we had Booker at Starrcast 2, and he had a phenomenal time and said he couldn't wait to do it again. We announced him for Starrcast 3, and then he went on Twitter and said that he never agreed to it, even though we did agree, and we agreed on a price and all that, and it was all worked out ... and if you recall at the time, the AEW-WWE thing was at an all-time high. He's a WWE guy, so I certainly understand him feeling like he needs to stay on that side of the street. I mean, that's where his bread is buttered. He's a WWE guy. Good for him. I'm all for it.

But I think he and I had a miscommunication there, where I thought when he agreed to a price that he was going to do the show, and he thought when he agreed to the price that he wasn't booked. So clearly a misunderstanding. But I don't imagine Booker T and I will be doing any business together in the future, but that's a him call more than a me call. Because when I was asked by Dave Meltzer what really happened, and I told Dave what happened, I don't think Booker liked that, but that's what happened. I shared a screenshot. I guess Booker felt a certain type of way about it, but again, doesn't take anything away from my respect for Booker and what he did in the ring, or his great podcast, or his great promotion. He's great friends with Bruce Prichard, 10 out of 10 human being. But when it came down to it, he didn't feel like he should do an event that had any sort of [an] AEW involvement. And I totally respect and appreciate that, but I don't imagine that there will be a Booker T's Last Match that I promote.

A Potential Vince McMahon Podcast

You brought up Bruce. Bruce, obviously still with WWE, and the WWE landscape has changed a bit. Vince McMahon is obviously stepped down. Triple H is in control with Stephanie McMahon. Has it changed your relationship in any way, I guess, with WWE, or the opportunities that may arise from you being able to work with WWE, having new management there?

No. I mean, I think everybody's still trying to find the new normal. I don't think anything has changed in that regard. As far as I know, I still have a good relationship with all those folks over there. I'm still in regular communication with a lot of folks who work there in a backstage capacity. And of course, I guess I'm related to some of the folks who are on TV. And no, it's not a bad thing, but I would say no change.

We were talking about WWE. Now, Vince McMahon, he really doesn't seem to be doing anything at the moment. He's going out to dinner with people or whatever. You've made a small fortune talking about this man's day-to-day work in the world of professional wrestling, with perspectives from all different sides. Now that he is no longer doing the grind, are you open to — would you want to do a podcast with Vince McMahon? Is that a possibility or no?

No, there's no possibility. I mean, what in the world would be his motivation for doing a podcast?

I don't know. He's bored. What's he doing right now? I don't know.

I assure you, whatever he's doing, he is not bored. I don't know Vince McMahon, for real, I've maybe had 20 conversations with him in my life, but I would feel confident that he is not bored. He probably took a little bit of time off, and I don't know what he's doing, but he's probably working on creating something. I just can't imagine a guy who we all know, have heard was this giant workaholic, is now just doing nothing. He's working on something. But I don't imagine that he has any interest in doing a podcast or any motivation to do a podcast. But of course, if he had any interest and wanted to do a podcast, I would be first in line, sign me up. I just don't think it's realistic.

Well, hey, I had to ask, because I know I've seen that people joke about it out there, but stranger things have happened, and again, we don't know what Vince is up to. Maybe he picks up the phone, maybe he gets your number from Bruce, who knows?

Well, he has a new phone number, but he has my old number and it's the same number I've had since, well, I don't know, 21 years now. So it still works. So yeah, Vince, if you're listening and if you, for some reason, are here on this website listening to this and you would love to do a podcast with me, sign me up, shoot me a text!