SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — An event that caters to professional wrestling fans that started in the Chicago area is back in 2023 with a guest that many in the area will recognize.

Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman is one of a number of attendees for STARRCAST, which is taking place Friday through Sunday at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg.

Over 50 superstars from past and present from a number of domestic and international wrestling companies will be on hand for the event. They will take part in meet-and-greets, and autograph signings, along with other panel discussions for fans to watch.

Conrad Thompson, a well-known wrestling promoter and podcast host, created the event in 2018, with that event also taking place in Schaumburg.

“It was described as almost like a ‘Woodstock of Wrestling’,” said Thompson to WGN News Now of STARRCAST. “It was a band of independent fellas who sort of bet on themselves and they decided they wanted to build something with the fans for the fans, and I was happy and lucky enough to be that fan to help create.”

Rodman’s appearance is special for Thompson and the organizers considering it the 25th anniversary of the former Bulls star’s memorable stint in the ring with World Championship Wrestling.

He made his debut in 1997 and wrestled with that company through 1999, but his most memorable stint came around the time he helped the Bulls win their sixth championship in 1998. First, Rodman created a stir when he left the team to take part in WCW Nitro with “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan after Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

After the Bulls defeated the Jazz for the championship, the forward joined with Hogan to face Utah star Karl Malone and “Diamond’ Dallas Page in a tag team match at the “Bash at the Beach” pay-per-view on July 12 of that year at Cox Arena in San Diego.

“It’s crazy to think that 25 years ago they created history and magic,” said Thompson of Rodman’s impact on professional wrestling. “Not just the Chicago Bulls, besting the Utah Jazz in the (NBA) Finals, but then a month later the evil Dennis Rodman teamed up with ‘Hollywood’ Hogan, who was now a bad guy, against the ‘baby face’ good guy ‘Diamond’ Dallas Page and Karl Malone.

“So to see those guys battling on the court and then battle in the ring, and now we get to commemorate that 25 years later, it’s pretty special for NBA fans and WCW fans.”

Rodman along with Malone’s participation put professional wrestling into the mainstream spotlight. It was the second-highest-grossing WCW pay-per-view in the company’s history.

“Every media outlet in the world, long before there was a TMZ, the USA Todays and things like that, there were all there and curious what was going to happen in wrestling, which wasn’t common,” said Thompson. “You didn’t see highlights on ESPN or SportsCenter or things like that. They normally never covered professional wrestling. Dennis Rodman brought that access and exposure for WCW.

“So it’s a big deal from a pop culture standpoint and a wrestling standpoint.”

Rodman is among the many superstars who will take part in the event, including Sting, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Jeff Jarrett, Jim Ross, Toshiaki Kawada, Rob Van Dam, and Skye Blue.

“It means a lot for fans not only to come together and see each other, because there’s been a lot of relationships formed at STARRCAST, but to just sort of have that velvet rope lifted, where they get access to some of their favorite wrestlers that they normally only see on TV,” said Thompson of the event, which is in Schaumburg for a third time. “It really is the ultimate fan experience.”

Larry Hawley spoke to Thompson on STARRCAST VI on WGN News Now, and you can watch that in the video above.