Starrcast IV will be taking place from the Crowne Plaza in Baltimore later this week ahead of AEW Full Gear. Each of Conrad Thompson's previous Starrcast conventions have had a theme and WCW is the theme of this one.
Thompson revealed why this Starrcast will seem like a WCW tribute when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"Baltimore is such a rich wrestling town and they have such rich history there. It does seem like they have more of an old-school Crockett WCW history than anywhere else. You're not too removed from Washington DC and that hosted a ton of big events like Starrcade over and over," said Thompson.
"This is the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Great American Bash which a lot of fans still think is one of the best WCW PPVs ever. I wanted to do something different here and we had Sting twice before – once in Vegas and once in Chicago. Both times he was in the The Crow outfit and I thought it would be cool if we went retro and got Sting in the red, white and blue. Once I was able to sell that, I was committed with old-school WCW."
Thompson noted that many former WCW stars like The Great Muta, Van Hammer and Jim Crockett will be there.
Eric Bischoff was recently announced for the event which, obviously, wouldn't have likely been possible had Bischoff not been fired from his WWE post. Coupled with this WCW theme, Thompson revealed what the original plan with Bischoff would have been had he still been employed by WWE.
"I didn't imagine he'd be available because he'd be in some random town on Friday and trying to travel back on Saturday," stated Thompson. "His Fridays were pretty full so it may be pushing it to think he'd be back for Saturday morning. But he wasn't banned from coming although it would have been unlikely.
"Now, it's fitting that we've got Jim Crockett and Eric Bischoff. That's pretty cool with the bookends of WCW."
Thompson and Bischoff co-host his 83 Weeks podcast together so they know each other well. Thompson discussed if he was surprised that things didn't work out for Bischoff in WWE as well as they have for Bruce Prichard.
"Yes and no. I think it's unfair to compare the two because Eric never really worked in the WWE. He wasn't in the office and was a contracted performer… There is definitely a different role from working within the corporate structure of the company," Thompson said before noting that his own graphic designers "speak Conrad" and he doesn't need to give too much direction. He says that Bruce has that relationship with Vince where he understands his language.
"Bruce speaks Vince and Eric Bischoff was never going to speak Vince because he wasn't around him from the time he was 25 years old until in his 50s. You can't spend that much time with someone and not know the quirks of their personality on how to best support them. Bruce is back where he always should have been and life got in the way and circumstances changed. But with a little bit of time, it heals all wounds and now he's flourishing."
Thompson said that Prichard is run ragged but is also loving every minute of it. He added that Bischoff was never a part of that machine and "it was like drinking water out of a fire hydrant."
"He's already got a lot of irons in the fire for the new year," Thompson said of Bischoff. "He's excited about what's next and I can't wait for people to learn more about that."
Some expected Bischoff to land on his feet in AEW as soon as WWE canned him, but that has not been the case yet. Thompson was asked if AEW should add Bischoff as an on-screen character.
"I think AEW was wanting to do something new and fresh. I think they probably look at a guy like Eric and think what he would be. Would he be the on-screen GM or an evil heel authority? That feels like a recycled storyline and I think a lot of AEW fans hope that never pops up in AEW," said Thompson.
"Maybe I've read that wrong but I've listened to interviews with Tony and he's talked about how they want less backstage segments and doesn't want to pretend that the camera is not in the room. I like the idea of them having something that's presented differently. I think when you have a 64-year-old guy that's been on camera as a heel authority figure, you wonder how that would fit in."
He added that Bischoff does have value to any pro wrestling organization and would be very valuable as a commentator for something like AEW Dark or for MLW.
"If you're looking for something a little different that makes people say, 'Hey, I wanna check that out.' I think him as announcer would give you an opportunity to show his personality and he knows how to sell… He could do color and I'm interested to see what opportunities in the wrestling space he'll pursue next," stated thompson.
Speaking of commentary, Tony Schiavone has found a second wind in pro wrestling as a part of AEW's broadcasting team. Thompson talked about the joy in watching and listening to Schiavone on a wrestling broadcast again.
"Man, it's the most rewarding thing ever two-fold. One, to get phone calls from Bruce Prichard with a Stamford (CT) area code and to know that his office is just down the hall from Vince's and he's back where he belongs after thinking the wrestling business has turned its back on him… Sort of the same story with Tony Schiavone as he assumed wrestling was done and was in the rear view mirror. I sold them both on doing podcasts and slowly but surely they enjoyed being in the space so much that other folks took notice and rolled the dice," said Thompson.
"Seeing Tony come through the tunnel at the AEW show for the first TV taping, I was ringside… and it's probably the proudest moment of my wrestling fandom."
Starrcast IV takes place from September 7-10th in Baltimore, MD. For more information and tickets please visit Starrcast.com. Conrad's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of today's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In the full interview Conrad discusses finding his groove producing Starrcast events, Starrcast IV's WCW theme, which panel he thinks is most historically significant, Eric Bischoff's WWE firing, what role he thinks Eric would be best for in pro wrestling, working with CM Punk at Starrcast III and more.