Vince's Shovel Week 3: Burying Sting in WWE
This one really makes my heart hurt. I'm a part of the minority population who actually thought it was pretty cool that Sting held out for so long and hadn't gone to the WWE. He was one of the biggest superstars in the history of pro wrestling, and he did it all without any help from the Sith Lord himself, Vince McMahon.
Sting famously rejected going to the WWE for many years, even after Vince purchased WCW and started bringing in all the biggest names from his competition. Many at the time were baffled as to what Sting's reasoning was behind declining Vince's offer. Why would one of the biggest names in pro wrestling not want to be part of the biggest company in pro wrestling?
Makes sense to me. After watching Vince get his pound of flesh from WCW stars after years of back and forth competition, it seemed like a legacy-preserving move for Sting to play keep away with his persona.
Sting, instead, opted to go with TNA for many years, and we all know what kind of nonsense that devolved into.
Sure, TNA provided some memorable moments for Sting, but ultimately, he squandered his remaining years of skill and relevance there in what could be considered, at best, the minor leagues.
Flash forward to 2011, and the entire wrestling world holds its collective breath with the release of this teaser image:
Sting coming to Wrestlemania to end the Undertaker's streak? Now that's an angle even the most novice wrestling fan can get behind. Two dark and mysterious figures clashing for the first time ever on the grandest stage of all?
Ultimately, the teaser was a bogus, but the hype surrounding it really created a "what if" buzz regarding Sting and the WWE. There are a ton of possibilities to sift through, but Sting vs the Undertaker was unquestionably the most exciting.
Flash forward again and it's 2014. Sting makes a few promotional appearances on behalf of the WWE, and we can all see the writing on the wall that we are approaching the moment wrestling fans have been waiting for: Sting will wrestle for the WWE! What will his first appearance be like? Will he jump right into a fued with 'Taker?
Ok, it's not what quite what we wanted, but it does make more sense than a fued with The Undertaker. The Dead Man is beginning to look more and more like an actual cadaver with each passing year, and Sting isn't exactly the portrait of youth and athleticism either by this point. That fued will forever have to remain a 90s dream match. Sting decides to butt heads with The Authority here, and already we are beginning to see a story which has played out time and time again in the WWE: Triple H is going to be at the center of this new and exciting angle. Not looking good for the Stinger so far.
Following Sting costing The Authority another match, Triple H issues a challenge for Fastlane.
That was actually pretty cool. I love the old school vibe of Sting's acceptance of the challenge (it harkened back to some early 90s Undertaker fun) and it leaves some room for optimism. I guess Sting and Triple H will get their business out of the way at Fastlane and we can reserve Wrestlemania for a Sting angle that feels a little more fresh.
Sigh...okay then, I guess we're just dead-set on doing this, huh? Really not interested in seeing Triple H bury yet another interesting angle again, but we might as well fasten our seatbelts because Vince's son-in-law is unquestionably going to do just that. Also, did anybody else notice how easy it would have been for Triple H to smash Sting in the face with that sledgehammer rather than throw it out of the ring in submission? Didn't really make sense, and I'd be lying if I said I was surprised by that.
Anyhoo let's see how things shake out at Wrestlemania. Maybe...just maybe...the WWE will see value in not making Sting look like a joke after all the time, effort, and money they have spent on making everyone aware that he is an icon of the sport.
Good lord. There is a lot to consider here. First of all, the match is what it is. As soon as they made it clear that it would be Triple H vs Sting at 'Mania, it was basically a foregone conclusion that Sting was getting buried. Next, while I love seeing the nWo and DX making appearances, especially at Wrestlemania, this one just didn't make any sense. Sure, DX helping out Triple H sounds about right, but why would the nWo, particularly Hall and Nash, interfere against Triple H? The WWE has made it pretty damn clear over the years that Nash, Hall, Triple H, Michaels, and X-Pac are all good friends outside of the ring, and have all been long time members of the backstage faction known as The Kliq. Shit, WWE even released a DVD set chronicling the history of their friendship!
Lastly, and most blatantly ignorant, is the finale. Being wrestling fans, we are all expected to suspend our disbelief on a regular basis for the sake of entertainment, but does Vince really expect us all to see Triple H and Sting shake hands at the end of the match and just accept it? Triple H (AGAIN) smashes someone in the head with a sledgehammer to win the match in controversial fashion. Fine, I accept that even though it's annoying. But are you telling me that Sting would actually decide to chalk that up to just the end result of a rivalry and be willing to shake hands with the man who delivered an assault on that level? Forget the fact that no human being could withstand such a shot and still even know what a handshake was, but last time I checked, striking someone in the head with a fucking sledgehammer could be considered attempted murder. But Sting decides to let bygones be bygones, and I am truly repulsed.
Following the boner-deflating Wrestlemania outcome, there is actually a little room for optimism, as Sting gets into a fued with red-hot superstar Seth Rollins. A little Past vs Future angle might be just what the doctor ordered to bring Sting back to life in the WWE, and when he makes Rollins tap out to the Scorpion Death Lock on Raw, there is legit reason for excitement going into their match at Night of Champions. Finally, WWE will treat Sting with the dignity and respect befitting a legend of his age and pedigree.
And so ends the in-ring career of The Icon. With the uneccessary high-spot, Rollins legitimately almost paralyzed Sting and put his short lived WWE run to bed. I wish I could say I was shocked, but with all of the forthcoming articles I have to write about Vince burying talent, it's pretty hard to have any emotion other than disgust.