Top-Down Smackdown: Is Sting's Inevitable Deal Too Little, Too Late?

By Luke Y. Thompson in TV
Monday, April 28, 2014 at 5:09 pm

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With Sting recently appearing on WWE Network, and being featured all over WWE.com, it seems imminent that he will - or already has - sign some sort of deal. But at this point, does it really matter?



In a legacy sense, yes. If you want a Sting DVD set that includes all his best matches and Sting himself adding commentary, he has to sign with WWE, as they own all the footage. They can do a set without him, of course, as they did with Goldberg and Randy Savage, but having him onboard is a lot of added value.

Likewise, for collectors of toys and merchandise, it means more Sting stuff. Not that there's ever been a dearth - after Jakks lost the WWE license and took the TNA one, they made a Sting figure very quickly that was compatible with their old WWE figures. Mattel's figures are better, however, and pricier.

But what value is Sting as an active wrestler? That's the real question. The '80s dream match that fans wanted - Sting versus Ultimate Warrior - is no longer possible. The modern era dream match - Sting versus Undertaker - seems like more an more of a nightmare after Taker's subpar performance at WrestleMania. And Sting's no sprout either: the last time I saw him wrestle for TNA, his gut and thinning hair were the most noticeable things about him (now, don't get me wrong - the guy's still in way better shape than I am. But for an athlete, he looks like he's not maintaining in the manner that he used to).

Mystical/magical characters don't age well in wrestling. Undertaker's recent weakness is shocking because his entire gimmick is as a dark spirit immune to pain. Baron Von Raschke managed to briefly segue into a manager role for the Powers of Pain when he hit ring retirement age, but that didn't last; and I'd prefer to forget the Road Warriors' latter years. Sting, whose persona has gone back and forth between mystical and real, needs to come back, if he does at all, as his real self, or as "real" as the ring allows. Like Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair, who debuted with acknowledgements of their past in a time when WWE never mentioned the competition, Sting has to enter already as an MVP. Maybe he shows up to be a celebrity guest commentator, and some younger punk like Damian Sandow challenges him to a fight. He pleads retirement, but then announces that's on hold until he can teach the intellectual savior of the masses a lesson.

That aside, are there any dream matches left for Sting? Does anybody want him to be fed to Brock Lesnar, for example? Is a match with Triple H a sufficiently significant blast from the Monday Night War past? Does a predictable victory over Kane - or defeat at the hands of John Cena - matter? Or is he perhaps of value in making new stars, let's say wrestling Cesaro to a 30-minute match that ends in a very narrow defeat?

I'm not sure I need to see Sting in action in a WWE ring. The question is, does HE need to?

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