The View From Down Here – A Sting In The Tale

 Yet again that that Internet thingy is a-buzzin’ with stories and rumours that some guy is heading to the WWE…  

Yes, it’s that time of the year again when every man and his dog (and even my mate Jim’s hamster) reckons Sting is heading to the WWE, the only big fish who hasn’t succumbed to the lure of the money du McMahon. This is due in no small part to the fact that Sting was featured in Raw on Monday in their infographic-style thingamibob about former great champions. Added to the fact that rumours have been circulating in cyberspace like a stray hair around a partially clogged drain ever since Sting was rumoured to be the Undertaker’s opponent at Wrestlemania XXVII (or was it XVIII? I get confused with hearsay) and suddenly fanboys are gushing over the prospect of Sting entering the land of the free and the home of the brave as the last of the great heroes…

Why?

Look, as I’ve made clear here time and time again, I preferred WCW over WWF/E in the 1990s, despite the ego-trip that was Hulk Hogan crapping all over everything from the greatest of heights (the start of the nWo excepted… but only the start), and part of my enjoyment was because I liked a huge number of the guys I saw on my screen. And one of those guys was Sting.

Fast forward a number of years and the last ever Nitro, the McNitro, and what was one of the matches of the night? Sting v Ric Flair. I knew a few would go to WWF/E and I hoped that Sting would be one of them. But he wasn’t. Then came the so-called InVasion angle and the return of Ric Flair… but still no Sting. Rumours as to his whereabouts swirled in the murkiness that was the ever-increasingly snarky IWC, but that was all they were – snarky. No, sorry, rumours. And then he turned up in TNA, the Jarrett self-promotion promotion. And it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before he jumped to the greener pastures of the ‘E, using TNA to get some match fitness back and to see if the people still loved him, really loved him. But he didn’t. And to this day he is still there, in the netherworld of the TNA.

But yet again the rumours are swirling up, a maelstrom of excitement in a sea of noninformation. So, should we be getting excited by this whole thing?

Again?

Well, first, Sting is 54, and if the past 5 years in TNA have shown us anything, it’s that Hulk Hogan’s ego will soon be the fifty-first state of the USA. But something else it’s shown us is that Sting may not be everything he was in the heady days of WCW. Of course, he might still be able to pull out a good match with the right opponent, and his selling is still one of his strong points, but do we really want to see a wrestler who was born before the Quarrymen became the Beatles fighting in a promotion dominated by a bunch of indy darlings and useless slugs, and with a Vanilla Ice wannabe their main go-to guy?

Sting is a step slower, and half the time looks as though he is just going through the motions. But then he pulls out a match like he did for the first half of his fight against Bully Ray at Slammiversary XI and it makes you think that if someone as broken down and slow as the Undertaker can be dragged into some more than watchable matches against guys willing to be bump machines for him, then surely a slightly more mobile Sting can be trusted to be enjoyable against some of the talent in the WWE at the moment.

Should he bite the bullet and join the WWE? I think once he retires he’s all but guaranteed a place in the WWE Hall of Fame. Hell, if Verne Gagne can get in, then surely Sting can as well. He’ll sign some sort of legends deal, get a nice DVD retrospective, have all 27 of his classic looks appear in some video game as unlockable characters so that desperate fanboys can have an entire Royal Rumble consisting of 27 Stings and 3 Mick Foleys and nerdgasm with every elimination they contrive. Surely that would be enough to entice him into the fold once all is said and done, shining such a glorious light on what would end up being a stellar career.

But that’s not what this is all about. This is about that section of the fanbase that wants him in the WWE, in the ring, fighting for his pretend life, right now, goddammit!

On the plus side, the final star from the 1990s to never have stepped foot in a WWF/E ring would finally be there. It would be quite the day, something for fans who watched the Jonah that was WCW be swallowed by the WWE whale. The match-ups could be good. Sting would most likely be motivated to get into the best shape he could get into and bring what he has shown flashes of in TNA to the ring. I could see some fine matches with the likes of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, the Shield members coming out of his time in the WWE. His presence in the ring, not just in the WWE, could help some of the younger wrestling fans understand just what an icon Sting was, and why older fans were hanging out for this day. It could be a nice cap to end a pretty damn impressive career.

Then again, on the other side of the coin, there are some negatives. Sting having the reputation as being the only man to hold out against the McMoney would suddenly find his principles had been all for nought. He would most likely end up in a feud with John Cena where he would be buried, or in a programme with the Undertaker leading to a match between two broken down old farts struggling to even stand up without popping a hip or a knee, or be placed against HHH where he would lose every match just to show the world who the daddy is, who has the bigger set of grapefruits, and why WWE is better than anything WCW could ever have hoped to be ever. Or he could end up on the YouTube pre-show fighting Sheamus in a 2 minute match where he loses to a brogue kick that misses by 3 feet.

What do I think? Well, really, it would be a damn shame for TNA to lose Sting, especially to the WWE. I’ve read that it might make people wonder just where he’d been for the past few years and so go check out the “opposition”, but I can’t buy that; if the return of Christian who was more current didn’t make people check out TNA, how is bringing in some legend that half the WWE fans thinks died in the great pancake syrup disaster of Buttflap, Minnesota, in 2004 going to help TNA’s brand recognition? Don’t get me wrong, I find TNA very much a curate’s egg of a wrestling show, and have gone on record liking their PPVs even when every other writer was going squeany over every single thing WWE did… including Sheamus v Mark Henry. Ugh… *shudder*… Anyway, the loss of Sting could well be something that could start the death knell for a promotion only kept afloat by Panda’s money and Dixie Carter’s bloody-mindedness. To lose such a name would really leave only Kurt Angle, Hulk Hogan and Hulk Hogan’s ego, and that’s really placing quite a deal on poor Angle’s surgically enhanced neck and allegedly chemically strengthened shoulders.

But it would be a huge win for WWE. They could get at least a year of fresh match-ups and story-lines. They would have a whole series of new DVDs they could put out, using the Stinger. Not only a Sting retrospective but a ‘Greatest Rivalries: Sting v Ric Flair’ set, and even a ‘Sting v Vader’ DVD in the series (is Leon White still on talking terms with the WWE? Surely nothing so bad that money can’t buy him back into the fold).

And what about Sting? What does he get out of such a deal? Well, he gets a Wrestlemania moment, which can apparently be used as currency in some Third World countries, African dictatorships and parts of Texas. And to make it more interesting, Wrestlemania XXX will be in Louisiana where he spent some of his formative wrestling years (according to that bastion of all things anti-knowledge, Wikipedia), after leaving Memphis, Tennessee, possibly with the help of long distance information, and this leads to a circle of life type of thing so beloved of chroniclers of all things biographical. And, let’s not beat about the bush, Sting would get a mammoth payday. I mean, so huge he could possibly go back to TNA, buy it from Panda, and have Hulk Hogan job to Robbie E every week just for shits and giggles. Or turn it into a church. Whatever.

Anyway, it’s just a rumour. And it’s a rumour that keeps rearing its ugly head, although this time with a little more cache – the Raw thing, Sting mentioning in interviews that he would like to wrestle Undertaker and be at a Wrestlemania, yadda yadda yadda. 

Will it happen? Well, I’m guessing about a 65% chance. Could it happen? Of course. Should it happen? That depends on what your thoughts are about TNA and about a 54 year old entering the WWE as a rookie.

So let the rumours continue!

And that’s this view.

 

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