This is a man who was not created by the WWE. This is a man who was not created by Vince McMahon. This is a man who had a 25+ year career in different promotions, one of which he carried on his back for the better part of a decade; that same promotion almost put the WWE out of business back during the Monday Night Wars. This is a man who stayed away from the WWE machine for almost 14 years because he was worried about how he would be handled, how he would be treated, how they would treat the legacy he built during his career.
Sting is a man who was right to be worried. Last Sunday at WrestleMania, we saw one man’s ego tarnish another’s legacy.
The build-up to Sting’s Mania match was done correctly and told a specific story. He was used sparingly; it wasn’t a matter of overexposing an attraction so that no one was interested in it when the big moment came around. He was there to take down Triple H and the Authority, helping out younger stars in the process. He flat out said that was why he came to WWE. He flat out said he wasn’t there to represent or fight for WCW. He flat out said that would be stupid because WCW was dead and gone.
WrestleMania rolls around and what happens? It’s WWE vs WCW all over again….14 years later.
I could tell right from the entrances that something wasn’t right. Sting gets a couple of drummers, something that looks reminiscent of some odd Kabuki Theater. He gets into the ring with a big smile on his face, acknowledges his children at ringside, and plays to the crowd; you could tell he was thrilled to be there. Then, we have his opponent’s entrance. Triple H’s entrance came and what does he get? He gets movie clips, an Arnold introduction, a cast of characters, and a Terminator outfit.
he mood completely changed, and the look on Sting’s face reflected what a lot of us were feeling…. A mix of a bit of disgust, confusion, and a lot of WTF?? Add to that JBL’s lovely commentary of trashing WCW, Sting’s previous events for them, and Starrcade in particular right from the minute Sting stepped into the ring, and a lot of people could see where this was going to go.
It wasn’t Sting vs Triple H. It was WCW vs WWE.
The match itself was pretty good. Sting looked better in this outing than he did during his entire last year in TNA. There was no t-shirt. He moved well. He sold well. He showed he still had it. Trips was no slouch, either. These two men proved that old wrestling adage true: you are only as good as you make your opponent look. These two men made each other look really good. Then, all hell broke loose.
DX shows up. The NWO shows up. The sledgehammer shows up. The baseball bat shows up. A pretty decent match turned into a car wreck. Trips hits Sting with a broken sledgehammer, pins him, and it’s over.
At least until that ridiculous handshake. Who shakes the hand of someone that just whacked him with a sledgehammer? It made no sense.
As I was watching, I could almost hear Vince sitting back in the gorilla position, cackling with glee over beating WCW yet again….14 years later.
Yes, the appearances of the NWO and DX were nostalgic and entertaining…in the moment. But, truth be told, all it did was show the fans that lived through the Monday Night Wars how the Invasion angle could have been back in 2001 if WWE had done it correctly. It turned the match into one big cluster, and took away from the two men in the ring. It took Sting’s Mania moment and turned it into a reunion for Trips and his buddies. Plus, the NWO spent most of their time warring with Sting, so it made no sense from a storyline standpoint….
Until you realized that the whole situation was not for Sting. It was for stroking the WWE’s collective ego. It was for letting Vince beat WCW one more time….14 years later.
The commentary was horrible. JBL trashed WCW and Sting during the entire match. True, he was probably repeating the words Vince was feeding him, but it was just plain insulting. Before the match even happened, it was made very clear that this was not about WCW, but WWE just had to make it into a reliving of the war. The one thing WWE had never done was beat and demean WCW’s standard bearer. Last Sunday night, they were finally able to do just that, with the commentary, with Trips’ later burial of Sting by saying he owned him, and finally, by having him show up as an afterthought after Raw went off the air.
In a less than 5 minute segment on the Network, you had an icon basically say, in the middle of the ring, that he’d settle for whatever scraps WWE saw fit to give him. Then, you had him almost equally embarrassed by having an interaction with a wrestler who doesn’t even rate midcard status in the company. Maybe it was just me, but the disgust on Steve Borden’s face during that segment was pretty easy to see, even through the paint.
Would it have been so terrible to have Sting win that match? I don’t think any other legend in this business would ever have been treated like that. I think that the fact that he was the face of WCW proved to be too much for the WWE to swallow. They couldn’t swallow a loss to the face of a company they helped put out of business. They could not allow that to happen. Their egos couldn’t handle it. So, they took what should have been a great moment for Sting and his fans, and they made it about them and winning a meaningless war again….14 years later.
Steve Borden has always been described as one of the most selfless people in professional wrestling. He has said he never wanted to get involved in the politics of the business, and he rarely, if ever, even skirted the edges of that minefield in either WCW or TNA. He was happy to go out there, entertain his fans, and help younger guys coming up in the business. He was a locker room leader in both WCW and TNA, he was never an egomaniacal drama queen, and he was happy to do whatever was needed for the betterment of the company he worked for.
Did Trips beating Sting last Sunday better the WWE or did it just tarnish the legacy of a man who never needed the WWE machine to succeed?
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
You can find me on Twitter @AbbeyBrooke2121.