Saturday, July 26, 2014
Sting makes first official WWE appearance
For nearly 20 years, Sting had been unofficially known as the biggest wrestling superstar to never sign a WWE contract. Earlier this year, rumors started making the rounds that Sting and WWE were finally in negotiations. At 55-years-old, I guess Sting realized that the time is now or never to make any kind of serious impact in a WWE ring.
Steve Borden aka Sting began his career in the mid 1980s as a tag team with the man who would eventually become the Ultimate Warrior. After the two split ways, Sting started to become a star in the UWF promotion. That promotion was eventually bought by the NWA: Mid Atlantic promotion, which was then bought by Ted Turner and became World Championship Wrestling.
While "bigger" stars like Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan took the spotlight for themselves most of the time, Sting was considered the backbone of WCW. He was a multiple time WCW World Champion and the biggest "homegrown" star. Ric Flair was a star for nearly 20 years before there was a WCW. Hulk Hogan was the biggest star in WWE during the 80s. Aside from a couple rookie years spent in different territories, the man known as Sting became the public face of WCW among wrestling fans.
A deeply religious man, Sting had stated during several interviews that he was not a fan of WWE's adult-oriented material. So, when Vince McMahon bought WCW in 2001, most did not expect Sting to appear in a WWE ring. Even if Sting wanted to, he had a very rigid contract that basically kept him on the sidelines and earning a big payday. "Diamond" Dallas Page was the most notable big-name WCW wrestler to negotiate a buyout of his WCW contract to appear for WWE. Most of the bigger names like Sting, Goldberg, and Kevin Nash chose to sit by and collect their money.
Sting did eventually get the urge to wrestle again, making a few 2003 appearances in NWA: TNA, the biggest rival promotion to rise up against WWE since WCW's demise. He was treated like a legend on his retirement tour and people really believed Sting was done.
Near the end of 2005, rumors came out that Sting was negotiating with TNA. It became unofficially official when random black bats - Sting's weapon of choice - began showing up during TNA broadcasts. Sting made his official TNA debut in early 2006.
Sting, in his late 40s and early 50s in TNA, completely rejuvenated his career. While he couldn't go as hard as he did in his prime, Sting definitely wasn't phoning it in. In the ring or creatively; Sting added new elements to his in ring career and even changed up his character. For the first time ever, Sting began showing up without his trademark face paint, and he even tweaked his character and adopted a "Joker" like mad man edge to his character and paint.
Knowing that each year might be his last, Sting only signed one-year contracts with TNA. A couple times, Sting would take a sabbatical around October each year due to his current contract expiring and a new one not being done yet. And that was around the time each year that the "Sting to WWE" rumors began.
The last couple years, the rumors were at a fever pitch. He's getting much older and he needs to do something. It eventually happened. Sting lost a match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship with the stipulation being that he retire if he lost. He lost, which meant he was written out of TNA.
It came out that Sting was negotiating with WWE. As Spring turned to Summer, nothing new had come out except that WWE had sent Sting a contract and he had yet to sign it. It now looks like that contract is signed, as Sting has a spot in the latest WWE video game, a merchandise line, and he made his first official appearance with WWE at the San Diego ComicCon.
To steal a line from Sting: finally, it's showtime.