Class of 2016
The Icon, The Franchise, The Vigilante, The Face of WCW
Hall of Fame Rating
9 out of 10
Survivor Series 2014. In a moment anticipated for years, Sting made his debut in a WWE ring. It was 13 years in the making since the death of WCW. One can even consider it to be 25 years in the making. Everyone came to WWE, except Sting. Sting in WWE was a surreal moment for sure. What made his entry in a WWE ring even stranger is that he’s always been the star of the “other” company, whether NWA, WCW or TNA. Sting, a main event talent around the world, was finally becoming part of the WWEized reality of professional wrestling. The other promotions’ guy was now a WWE guy…kinda.
Throughout his long and storied career, Sting has been in the main event, hovered near the main event, or been a franchise player. In WCW, he became the “face of the company” starting back in the early 90s. By the time WCW went out of business, there were few who had the longevity, name recognition or gravitas in WCW that was enjoyed by the Icon.
In TNA, Sting took on that role as well. He became a corner-stone of the organization when he joined in 2006/2007. He quickly became the elder statesmen, the good hand and the first TNA Hall of Famer in an organization which at its best…floundered.
One could easily say that despite “never making it to the big time” (aka the WWE…at least according to the WWE), it wasn’t for lack of opportunity. Sting easily could have joined the E in the 80s during his run as Surfer Sting (in fact there was some talk of bringing him in during 1988-1989 time period…at least according to Hulk Hogan….) and again upon the dissolving of WCW. Sting was very blunt as to why he didn’t join the company in 2001 during an interview with TNA
And Sting was right. If he had joined in 2001-2004, he would have been treated as lesser talent like many of his WCW brethren: DDP became the Stalker (huh) losing in a match to the Undertaker’s wife. Booker T went from the 5 time WCW champion to fighting Edge over a hair care product commercial (huh). Scott Steiner went from Big Poppa Pump to Triple H’s bitch and the list goes on and on. IF WWE were good at business and able to put personal feelings, and resentments aside, WCW would probably exist today, under the WWE banner. But Vince McMahon and company have never actually done what’s best for business, as much as what they feel. Just look at Roman Reigns….
So when Sting arrives in WWE, he is 55/56 years old, much too old to be a full-time performer. He is treated, like the Undertaker, Triple H and other main event players of yesteryear, as an attraction. That was a good choice and a smart way to use Sting. All seemed like it was leading to Sting having his Wrestlemania moment. And then at Wrestlemania 31, this happened….
Sting lost…to Triple H… in order to protect Triple H? Triple H has a history of making WCW talents feel lesser and that was the story WWE told. Sting was the last bastion of WCW that Triple H needed to beat. I’m so glad Sting waited 14 years to get buried….
Triple H did it to Booker T, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash and even Goldberg. He now proved he was better than Sting. Good for you Triple H.
Sting’s WWE record is 2-2, with two wins on the same episode of RAW (and one being a DQ victory over Big Show). At PPV, Sting’s WWE record is 0-2. And now he’s hurt and now he will retire. And that’s that. All in all, not a great run with the organization. And funnily, even since joining WWE, nothing has really changed for Sting. He is still the guy from the other company and now that’s he going into the Hall of Fame- he will be immortalized as that-the big name from WCW.
For those not in the know, Sting did not began his career in WCW. He began it in a tag team with this man…
As one half of the Blade Runners, Sting, despite his greenness showcased that he was clay to be molded. Both Warrior and Sting proved the old adage of the “Shawn Michaels of a team” wrong and had great success as singles stars.
Funnily, Sting and Warrior, in the late 80s/early 90s played the same role in their respective organizations. They both were the second tier star (after Flair/Hogan) who came into their own through their energy, character and passion. While Sting became a much better in ring performer than Warrior, it can be argued that he didn’t reach the pinnacle of popularity Warrior had in 1990/1991. And yet Sting did have something else Warrior did not have, longevity.
In WCW, Sting never fully reached that high Echelon marker in his time as Surfer Sting. He certainly held the world title and did serve as baby face for the company during 1990-1991, but WCW never fully believed in the Sting’s type of “WWE style” wrestler. He was for lack of a better word, a sports entertainer, in a company of wrestlers.
WCW officials always preferred Ric Flair and his ilk; good performers in the ring. Flair served as the go to champion, holding the belt for the most part from 1986-1991, when he took it to WWF.
Sting, after becoming champion, was a victim of bad writing, bad storytelling and lack of clear opponents. I am hesitant to even mention some of the Wrestling Crap Sting was put through during his reign.
Okay, I mentioned it. Still Sting, played the company guy and feuded with Vader, trading the US title with Rick Rude, hit Jake Roberts with a Coal Miners Glove and all in all was the solid face character up until 1994 when the landscape of WCW and Sting’s career changed.
In 1994, WCW got its biggest acquisition in history and brought Hulk Hogan to the organization. This changed everything for WCW. Gone were the wrestling days of WCW/NWA and the bizarre and terrible writing of 1992-1993 WCW. It was replaced with the Hulk Hogan show, featuring a group of extremely unworthy and terrible wrestlers jobbing to Hulk Hogan.
In that world, Sting was an after thought, as was Ric Flair. He pleasantly trucked along as tag partner of Lex Luger and did what was told. By 1996, while still beloved, it appeared Sting had peaked. He would remain an upper mid-card face who never quite made it in the main event long-term.
Then this happened
In 1996, WCW- everyone was joining the NOW, it seemed a day couldn’t go by without some star, both large (Randy Savage) and small (Mike Rotunda) joining. Lex Luger accused Sting of turning his back on WCW and joining the NOW secretly, mostly due to the fact that Lex Luger isn’t very good at noticing fake Stings.
Sting then said” Fuck ya’ll I’m going home” and had one of the greatest character changes and feud bookings in the history of professional wrestling. Sting became Crow Sting, a man who didn’t speak, carried a bat and was his own man.
Its easy to forget just how amazing it was when Sting finally used his bat on the Now. The build to Sting’s match with Hollywood Hogan at Starrcade 1997 was the best in the history of WCW. And they really didn’t pull it off. WCW, like current day WWE, was not good at the storytelling thing. Convoluted is a word and is what happened.
Sting’s win by cheating at Starrcade fizzled out his momentum and for the next few years, he fell back into doing whatever was asked of him, including joining the NOW Wolfpack for some reason, turning heel for some reason, and eventually having the final WCW match against his greatest rival, Ric Flair.
This easily could have been a career ender for Sting. He decided to wait out his Time Warner contract (as did Hall, Nash, Goldberg, Steiner and many others) and get paid for sitting home. Biggest difference is Sting didn’t go to the WWE once the money ran out. Instead he found god, and joined TNA.
Now, I don’t speak on TNA very often…because frankly it doesn’t matter. It is I think the only organization in history who has ever been able to squander not only Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Sting, Booker T, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Jeff Hardy but also its own homegrown talent. It’s just a poorly run place.
And Sting did very well there. He fell into his role, won the belt a bunch of times and that’s that. The reason I even mention TNA is it did help define and strengthen Sting as a performer, even if WWE will not admit it.
Sting added Joker Sting to his repertoire. It was a huge change to his character (and a basic direct copy of Heath Ledger’s Joker) and it worked. It, in my opinion, is one of the best things TNA has ever done.
And it funnily enough even came to WWE a little during Sting’s feud with Seth Rollins. Ah.. Joker Sting…
So what’s the conclusion here. There are some reports that Sting will retire live at the WWE Hall of Fame due to injuries sustained during his bout with Seth Rollins. Sting himself has said that those rumors are bunk, which probably means they are true.
Sting is, was and forever will be an amazing performer who changed himself in ways other main event talents have never been able to do. It’s a worthy headline induction.
Who else could headline in 2016? WWE will have tons of headliners upcoming, just not right now.
Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Triple H, Batista and John Cena are all upcoming, but first they needed the greatest missing 80s and 90s star.
Plus Sting is 57 years old, semi-retired and now with WWE. The E is happy with his two matches on PPV and are transitioning to more of legend mode for Sting.
Opens Door For?
The rest of WCW- DDP, Lex Luger, and Vader should join.
Also, others from TNA- Kurt Angle I am looking at you.
Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.
Sting not wanting to go in due to continuing to wrestle. WWE really does hate WCW, mostly because they couldn’t make it work due to their general incompetence.