The Undertaker has been an institution in WWE for decades, but the veteran professional wrestler seems to be ready to branch out from the confines of the world’s largest promotion. He’ll be appearing at Starrcast 2, which will take place in Las Vegas on May 25 – the same day as AEW’s first show, Double or Nothing.
In Chris Jericho, AEW already has a wrestling legend and former WWE superstar who can move the needle as a household name. AEW also seems to be making a play for another former WWE Champion in Batista, with the movie star recently meeting up with Jericho.
Though The Undertaker seems to be the exact opposite of what AEW is looking for and there’s no real smoke linking both parties, the nascent promotion looks poised to benefit from The Phenom’s presence at Starrcast 2 on May 25.
Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso reports that The Undertaker will appear at Starrcast 2, and while the event exists as a separate entity from AEW, the link between the two events is unmistakeable. Not only will both events take place on May 25 (Starrcast 2 runs from May 23 to 26) in Las Vegas, but Starrcast I was done in conjunction with “All In” – the highly successful wrestling show on Sept. 1, 2018, that spawned AEW.
Taker’s appearance at Starrcast 2 comes after he teased an “important meeting” and deleted all mentions of “WWE” on his social media accounts.
AEW stands to benefit from The Undertaker’s looser association with WWE. Even though Taker became a legend in Vince McMahon’s company, he is his own man and is free to explore his own options as a professional, just as Jericho has. It will be interesting if the usually-quiet “Dead Man” makes any statements at Starrcast 2, because, perhaps, he has seen Jericho’s successful brand-building outside WWE.
At 53, The Undertaker doesn’t have as much to give inside the wrestling ring, but he still has plenty of value as an entertainer, attraction, and, most importantly, a mind for the business. The spatial and temporal proximity between Starrcast 2 and AEW’s Double or Nothing cannot be ignored, and if we read in between the lines from all the recent Undertaker-related news, maybe AEW sees Taker as an asset.
It’s all very loose speculation at this point, but the timing is interesting, nonetheless. AEW is wisely building its foundation on the strength of young talents like Britt Baker, Sonny Kiss, Hangman Page, Nyla Rose, Kylie Rae, and Pac, but in Jericho and Batista, they have shown interest in established stars. And The Undertaker’s upcoming appearance at Starrcast 2, though technically unaffiliated with AEW, is a sign that they could obtain value from one of wrestling’s greatest characters in a non-wrestling capacity.