Sting is now “All Elite” after making his debut on Dynamite last Wednesday night and signing a multi-year deal with AEW to make him a regular on TNT for the first time in almost twenty years.
It was a cool moment, there is no denying that. The fans on social media went crazy. Sting is back. But what annoys me is this promotion is meant to be different from WWE. They have told us since day one that it is a young man’s game, that they’re here for the future, not nostalgia. Yet they go and bring in a 61-year-old to boost ratings.
WWE is often rightly ridiculed for bringing back stars of yesteryear for a rating pop, but now AEW is doing the exact same thing. Yet their audience now seems to think it’s great. When I say AEW fans, hypocrites of the highest order, this is what I’m talking about.
Sting signing for WWE in 2014 was decades in the making. He was always hesitant to work for Vince McMahon in fear of how he would be booked, so he spent ten years in TNA instead… dressed as a clown. His run in WWE was decent. His debut was epic, his showdown with Triple H at WrestleMania was everything it could’ve been, although The Icon should’ve gone over. He had a WWE Championship Match that ended abruptly due to serious injury which was unfortunate. He then entered the WWE Hall Of Fame. He completed his bucket list except for that one dream encounter with The Undertaker.
Apparently, Sting is only in AEW because WWE vetoed a match between him and Undertaker. I do believe that bout is better in our heads than it would be in reality. It would’ve been cool to see them have at least a face-off, but I doubt that will ever happen. For whatever reason, Undertaker has never been keen on working with The Stinger.
Responding to a fan’s question on IGN’s YouTube channel, The Deadman said: “Sting stayed down in WCW for so long, and then he went somewhere else, and that window kind of closed. I know he kind of showed up at the end. The way people see that it looks much better on paper than it actually would’ve been. It’s one of those matches that people will talk about forever”.
In 2018, Sting confirmed to TJS Sports that the only man he wanted to come out of retirement to face was indeed The Undertaker: “I would only consider one opponent. The Undertaker. And that’s it. Anyone else at this point…why? But, I’ve always loved the idea of the Taker/Sting thing. So many ideas in my head, you know. How to make it just a night that people would never forget.”
I’m not sure whether Sting can even medically take bumps, but I won’t be surprised to see him wrestling in multi-man matches. AEW won’t be able to help themselves. If he does wrestle, then I guarantee that within a year he will win their World Title. I wonder if AEW fans will react the same way then as they did when Goldberg won the gold in WWE.
AEW are no different to WWE, they’re just another second rate WCW knockoff. People think they have a great show. It’s good at best. Who on that roster would walk into WWE and be a WrestleMania headliner? Possibly Sting. I jest, but you get my point.
They have no true mainstream talent. They have no global superstars. Sting is indeed an icon. But he is in his sixties. You could argue Chris Jericho, but he’s in his fifties, and I still doubt many non-wrestling fans even know who he is. I think Cody Rhodes is great at what he does, albeit a second rate Triple H but he has a good mind for the business.
Kenny Omega will never get over with the mainstream audience because he acts like a goof and wrestles like a cartoon character. Dean Ambrose/Jon Moxley lost any chance of major success when he made a mockery of himself on the Stone Cold podcast. The rest of the roster is WWE and Independent rejects.
AEW can’t even double the figures of WWE’s third-ranked which has no stars on it. They have also managed to lose viewers since their opening episode. Now they’re attempting to grab the lapsed fans’ attention with the signing of Sting, forgetting that those same people have already seen it all in WWE. They want something different. Something AEW promised to give them.
People can enjoy AEW, and as I said, some of it is really enjoyable. Jericho as the idiotic heel is a riot, MJF is a tremendous old-school villain, Moxley is a believable badass, the tag team division is electrifying, and the commentary is on point. However, they have a lot of major problems including an identity crisis, trying to justify why they still don’t have over a million viewers, the mess that is the women’s division and trying to be this generation’s version of WCW. Dynamite is a good little show, but if WWE cancelled NXT and Smackdown, brought the entire roster under one umbrella for Raw every week, I genuinely believe it will wipe the floor with AEW.
I don’t hate everything about the company. They do a lot of things right, but so many things wrong. It could be so much better, but they’re just making the same mistakes as everyone before them who tried to take on Vince McMahon. It will also end the same way – the majority kissing WWE’s asses to get a job.
This Wednesday night on Dynamite, Tony Schiavone will conduct a sit-down interview with Sting. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a Nitro replay from twenty-five years ago. Wrestling has no stars. They’ve lost the will to create them. This goes for all promotions. This is why they keep going back to the well, but that well is quickly drying up. All these legends from the past are reaching pension age. It’s sad that they’re still the biggest and coolest things about professional wrestling.