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Unleashing The Stinger: Imagining Sting's Impact If He Debuted Earlier in WWE History

What if Sting signed with the WWE long before 2014?

As the WWE Universe settled into their seats for what they figured was to be a typical WrestleMania follow-up episode of Monday Night Raw, they would soon find that it would be anything but typical. With the “Attitude Era” being phased out and the “Ruthless Aggression” period starting to pick up steam, the WWE was looking to create a big bang and shake up the industry in a way that few could have imagined but many had hoped for. 

In the aftermath of WrestleMania X8, the first episode of Raw, which has traditionally been filled with new storylines, and memorable debuts would not be any different. As the third hour of the broadcast headed to a close after The Rock and Hulk Hogan vacated the ring following their tag team victory over Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, the Molsen Centre in Quebec, Canada would go dark. With the lights flickering it would not be the Undertaker or Kane, nor would it be Stone Cold Steve Austin. 

As the lights continued to flicker, a small spotlight found its target in the rafters as the beginning chords of Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy” reverberated over the speakers as the man called Sting was caught standing in the bright light. 

Following a brief second moment of darkness, “the Icon” would appear in the middle of the ring as the sold-out crowd went ballistic. What was Sting doing at a WWE event? Wasn’t he not just a WCW product, but their crowning jewel? 

The WWE Universe weren’t the only ones in a state of awe and bewilderment as commentators Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were caught on camera totally beside themselves with Ross closing out the night “By gawd King, it’s Sting! But what in tarnation is he doing here?” 

Rather than letting the six-time WCW World Heavyweight champion go to TNA or any of his competitors following the shutdown of Ted Turner’s product, Vince McMahon would step in and make Sting an offer that he could not refuse, one that would bring one of the biggest names in the industry under contract and potentially a long list of dream match opportunities. 

After leaving the wrestling fanbase in a state of wonderment for seven days, Sting would kick off Monday Night Raw at Pennsylvania’s Bryce Jordan Center. 

Clad in his black trenchcoat, trademark bat, and Crow-inspired facepaint, Sting grabbed the mic “Surprise, surprise ladies and gents, the Stinger is here to join the party and I hear the party is not complete without a little ‘sting’ in it!”

Sting’s arrival in the WWE would have an immediate impact on the storylines. Dream matches against the likes of Shawn Michaels and Triple H would come to be reality while teases of in-ring interaction with Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock had fans screaming. But it would be the ultimate dream match against the Undertaker that would slowly build. 

The Stinger and Mark Calaway (The Undertaker) actually did have a match

Taking the better part of a decade due to injuries and storylines, it would be on March 4, 2013, during the Undertaker’s appearance on Old School Raw nearly a year after his WrestleMania XXVIII match with Triple H that the match that every wrestling fan wanted to see would be made. Making the open challenge to anyone in the locker room to attempt to beat his legendary streak, names such as Big Show, CM Punk, Randy Orton, and Sheamus all took to the stage attempting to claim a spot in the match. Once again the arena would head to black as Sting’s logo and music hit. Parting the seas of wrestlers, the Stinger would simply raise his bat and point it toward the WrestleMania sign. 

Throughout his decade in the WWE, Sting would battle the biggest names in the industry and become a Grand Slam champion, but it would be the match at MetLife Stadium against the Undertaker that would be the icing on his legendary career. While cryptic messages and mind games are traditional pre-match psychological warfare by the two wrestlers, none would be needed as the build would be purely based on respect. 

With fans already wired from watching Triple H defeat Brock Lesnar and John Cena capture the WWE Championship from The Rock, Sting versus The Undertaker would be the nightcap to arguably the greatest WrestleMania card ever. As both men make their traditional supernatural-themed entrances to the ring, the sold-out crowd reaches a fevered pitch despite having sat through over three hours of action and two previous high-octane matches. 

In a showdown that fans once never thought would be possible, the match kicked off with a staredown that sent chills through the spines of everyone in the building. Throughout a match filled with both physical and psychological warfare, the masterpiece of storytelling saved for only the greatest in the industry did not let down. From Sting’s energetic offense to The Undertaker’s more methodical approach, the match showcased the unique styles of both legends. 

From signature moves to near finishes and kickouts the two performers put on a wrestling match for the ages. As the match entered its final stages, The Deadman summoned strength for one final Tombstone, the third of the match. With the referee’s hand slapping the mat for the first two counts of the pin, the third count seemed inevitable as The Undertaker had thrown everything in his arsenal at his opponent. Just when it seemed like the match was over, Sting, with one final surge of energy, definitely kicked out, shocking the entire audience. 

With both individual’s fuel tanks nearly empty, The Undertaker picked up Sting’s limp body from the mat only to slam him back down with a Last Ride before locking in Hell’s Gate. As the official twice lifted Sting’s arm heading into a third drop, the excruciating pain could be seen through the chipped facepaint and deep in his eyes. Able to keep his arm elevated for a mere second to avoid a forfeit and unwanting to tap out, Sting’s body would fall limp. 

Erupting into a thunderous ovation, the crowd showed their appreciation for the epic battle they had just witnessed. As the bell rang to signal the end of the match, an exhausted Undertaker would soon find himself helping his fallen opponent to his feet. In an exchange of mutual respect, the two warriors stood in the middle of the squared circle, embracing and honoring each other’s legacies following this unforgettable clash of icons. 

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