On March 26, 2001, WWE’s chief competitor WCW died, and Sting — who was one of, if not the face of WCW — disappeared. On that day in 2001, Sting — who was 42-years-old at the time — believed that his days as a professional wrestler were over and became very involved with Promise Keepers, which is a Christian-based religious group. On top of that, Sting’s first priority then became his family and not the wrestling business.
During WCW’s invasion of the then-WWF, Vince McMahon and Jim Ross reached out to Sting about possibly coming in and doing something. Sting — who had a guaranteed contract with WCW and was getting paid to sit at home — declined the WWF’s offer. In a DVD created and produced by TNA Wrestling, Sting explained his decision to not join WWE at that time.
“I talked with Vince McMahon — he was really good to me. But I just got this feeling that — put it this way — all the guys from WCW that went to WWE when the acquisition happened, by then to me there wasn’t a real WCW. Because WCW was [Scott] Hall and [Kevin] Nash, it was [Hulk] Hogan, it was [Randy] Savage, it was Sting, it was [Lex] Luger, it was the Steiner brothers. It was a certain package of guys that were gone, and the package that [Vince McMahon] had left had dwindled down to a small group of guys, who really — great wrestlers, phenomenal talents — but they weren’t with WCW for all these years, and weren’t mainstay kind of names.
“I was watching what [Vince McMahon] was doing storyline-wise, when he’d have WCW against WWF, and the hostile takeover thing, and I’ll never forget Booker T making his first appearance on their show, and he came into the ring and he’s making this big, huge fight and guys are flying all over the place, and then The Rock comes into the ring and looks at Booker T and says ‘who are you?’ That one little comment, is all it took to just bury somebody, in my opinion. It was ‘let’s let the world know that you’re a WCW guy, and you’re a pee-on here.’ So, after all of those years that I had put into wrestling it just seemed like a gamble to me. I didn’t trust how I would be used.”
When Sting joined TNA in the mid-2000s, his plan was to only be there for a year, and then he would retire for good. But every time his contract was about to expire, Dixie Carter and TNA would offer him more money and talk him into staying for one more year. And while Sting’s run in TNA may not be memorable or important to his legacy, he was cutting the best promos of his career there, and he did have some fairly decent matches.
In the spring of 2011, WWE began airing a series of dark vignettes. Coincidentally, these vignettes coincided with Sting’s TNA contract coming to an end. There were several reports that Sting was not only talking with WWE, but that he had signed, and that the dark vignettes were to set up his WWE debut, which would lead to a match with The Undertaker at that year’s WrestleMania 27. Of course, the vignettes ended up being for The Undertaker, and he faced Triple H in one of The Undertaker’s greatest WrestleMania matches, and Sting decided to stay with TNA.
In January of last year, Sting wrestled his final match for TNA, where he lost career vs. championship match to Magnus. Soon thereafter, the Sting to WWE talks began to heat up, and there were even people who believed that Sting would be a surprise entrant in the 2014 Royal Rumble, which was taking place just three days after Sting’s final TNA match aired. Sting, of course, did not appear in that match and didn’t do anything WWE-related until seven months later, when he appeared in the first WWE 2K15 commercial. He then appeared as part of the WWE 2K15 panel over SummerSlam weekend in August.
For years, Sting has talked about a possible match with The Undertaker. Whenever he’s been asked about a dream opponent in the past, he always names The Undertaker without hesitation. Unfortunately, at least this year, Sting will not be taking on The Undertaker, and instead will be taking on Triple H on WWE’s grandest stage.
Sting made his first official WWE appearance at this past November’s Survivor Series, where he helped take The Authority out of power, which was to set up his match with Triple H. Some WWE fans were disappointed when it was made obvious that WWE had no intention of putting Sting and The Undertaker in the ring together. However, as time has gone on, the fans have begun to understand that, at this point, a Sting vs. Undertaker match may not be very good.
The angle that WWE is taking is that Sting has been “in hiding” for the last 14 years — completely ignoring the fact that he wrestled in TNA for nearly a decade — and that he’s finally decided to come and get revenge on WWE for putting WCW out of business. The presentation is that Sting, who is being positioned as the face of the now extinct WCW, is bitter and angry at Triple H, who is being positioned as the face of WWE.
In past interviews — before it was made clear that Sting would be wrestling Triple H — Sting made it clear that if he wasn’t going to be able to wrestle The Undertaker, he’s only interested in wrestling someone who is from his generation. While Triple H, in most WWE fans’ opinions, is pretty far down the list when it comes to “dream opponents” for Sting, there’s no question that he is the best available option at the moment.
Triple H has admitted that he’s unsure about how the match between himself and Sting will go, and he hopes that it will be great. WWE is hoping that if the match isn’t great, the moment of Sting finally stepping into a WWE ring will be enough to satisfy the fans — and it likely will be.
Both Sting and Triple H have been rehearsing their match at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Both Triple H and Sting want to do everything they can to make sure that their match will be great, especially since it’ll probably be Sting’s one and only match in WWE before he retires for good.
The last Sting match that had this kind of anticipation and hype behind it took place nearly 20 years ago, on December 28, 1997, against “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan at WCW’s version of WrestleMania, Starrcade. Unfortunately, the match didn’t live up to the hype, which was common for most WCW main events. On that night, Sting wasn’t in the best shape and didn’t really look like his usual self. Furthermore, the finish of the match was botched by the referee, which took some of the heat away from the Hogan vs. Sting feud.
Sting vs. Triple H certainly isn’t as hot as Hogan vs. Sting was in 1997, but it’s still one of, if not the most, anticipated match that is taking place at this year’s WrestleMania. It’s a good opportunity for Sting to end his career on a positive note and be remembered for the legend that he is. For some WWE fans, this will be their first time seeing Sting wrestle, but the majority of WWE fans have seen Sting wrestle hundreds, if not thousands, of times. But regardless of how many times you’ve seen Sting wrestler, it’s extremely likely that at WrestleMania, it’ll be the very last time anyone sees Sting wrestle inside a 20-by-20 squared circle.