Friday 28 November 2014

The Man Called Sting

Last Sunday was a significant day in pro wrestling history. After 29 years in the business Steve ‘Sting’ Borden stepped foot in a WWE ring for the first time. Okay, so he’s not worked for a bona fide major league company since 2001 and hasn’t been in anything that resembles a career prime since the 90s. And yes, the camera crew managed to miss Sting actually stepping foot into the ring. But it was a memorable moment nonetheless.

I’m not a big fan of Sting. When I first got into wrestling WCW was dying. It was shunted around very late night slots and as a result was hard to find. That didn’t really make me want to bother watching that often, but I’d record it when I could because I wanted to see as much wrestling as possible. I’m pretty sure the first time I saw Sting was when he was feuding with Vampiro. I’m sure that didn’t represent the man at his best, but it gave a terrible first impression. And that’s stuck with me.

I know I’m in the minority with this. The reaction he got at Survivor Series demonstrates that there are people out there who still care about ‘The Stinger’. That (disappointed) kid dressed as him the night after WrestleMania XXX proves the same thing. Although he’s not been relevant for years and will struggle to put on a worthwhile match it’s clear there are people willing to pay to see him. So it’s silly to argue that bringing him in wasn’t a good idea on WWE’s part.

This is exciting television, apparently.
Setting him up for a future clash with Triple H was a good decision too. ‘The Game’ can still get a passable match out of most guys and they’re big enough names that their meeting can be legitimately billed as a “dream match”. Not that lack of legitimacy would stop WWE, but it helps to have it.

Triple H versus Sting could happen either at Royal Rumble or WrestleMania 31. I imagine it will depend on how many matches Sting’s agreed to wrestle. If it’s one then they’ll clearly hold off until WrestleMania. If it’s more than one then it could happen at the Rumble, leaving Sting free to have that match with The Undertaker so many people want to see for some reason.

Personally I think he’ll wrestle at the Rumble and ‘Mania. It seems just a bit too much to expect the company to draw out his in-ring debut until March. Although that’s what I’d prefer, because I’m not really interested in seeing him wrestle anyone and I’m happy to wait as long as they want or not see it at all.

As good an idea as bringing in Sting is, two things puzzle me about Sting’s debut. The first is why he wasn’t used on the November 24 RAW the night after Survivor Series. He wasn’t announced for the show but considering he’d made his much anticipated first appearance the night before it seemed reasonable to expect him to show up, even if it was just to stand around looking confused. It’s extra strange when you look at how bad the post-Survivor Series RAW turned out: they didn’t even omit him in favour of doing something good.

The other thing is Sting’s storyline reasoning for moving to WWE. Why now, after all this time? Why at all, considering it was the nWo, originally presented as WWF invaders, that tipped happy, smiley, bleach blonde babyface Sting over the edge and sent him up into the rafters to become the brooding Crow rip-off he remains to this day? He was, more than anyone else, the embodiment of WCW. What is it that’s made him think now is the right time to turn up in WWE? Shouldn’t he hate WWE for destroying WCW all those years ago?

Hey, perhaps he does. Sting didn’t actually say anything during his brief appearance. And he did attack a WWE executive. Maybe he’s moved to WWE to try and bring the company down. That he’s waited over a decade to do this, killing most of that time in TNA, is puzzling but maybe he’ll say he was “biding his time.” That would be suitably naff and anticlimactic.

In all honesty this is something WWE is unlikely to touch on, even though they really should. For the sake of their own plot logic if nothing else.

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