2014 has been a huge year for WWE. The return of Batista and Hulk Hogan to the company, Wrestlemania XXX and the beginning of WWE’s Reality Era, and of course the launch of the WWE Network.
Among these big announcements was an acquisition that WWE fans have been waiting literally decades for. We sat glued to our screens on July 14 as an orchestra played the recognizable theme of the man in black who had his in the rafters of WCW for years, and without speaking a word, captured the collective imaginations of wrestling fans the world over. Sting had signed with WWE.
Since that time, the details of Sting’s contract have remained as mysterious as he was in 1997. All we know for sure is that he will be appearing in the upcoming WWE 2K15 video game and will have his own merchandise deal. While the thought of finally having a Sting DVD collection is exciting, most fans aren’t excited to relive his past. They want to know about his future. They want to know if Sting will compete in a WWE ring.
With Sting’s increasing age, a full time schedule seems not only silly, but impractical. If we fans are very lucky, we might get a handful of pay per view or Raw matches, but if we’re to be honest, it’s more likely that we will only get one WWE match from Sting. This poses a question that has had various reactions from fans the world over: If Sting only gets one match in WWE, who should his opponent be?
There really isn’t a correct answer to this question, as there are several fantastic choices, and it really comes down to personal preference. With that being said, I have put together a list of opponents that I would pay to see step into the ring with “The Icon”.
Let’s get this one out of the way immediately. When fans talked about dream matches during the Monday Night War, this was the match at the top of everyone’s list. The similarities in the two men’s character were too strong to ignore, as both were brooding anti heroes that acted as the conscious for their respective companies. Back in the late 90’s, this match could have easily headlined Wrestlemania or Starrcade without much objection, and surprisingly, that still might be true. While both men are much older now, and have visibly lost a step or two, it is one of the few dream matches from the Monday Night War that has yet to happen and with both men employing a more theatrical style, it could still be highly entertaining.
While we’re on the subject of theatrical characters, the terryifying Bray Wyatt would be perfect antithesis to the moral Sting. Both men have a reputation for mind games, and while Bray Wyatt has been used to holding a psychological edge over his opponents, Sting might actually be the first opponent to throw a curve ball that Bray doesn’t expect. Wyatt could potentially meet his mental match in Sting, and the psychology showcase these two could put on would be quite the spectacle. Wyatt has been proving himself against a number of top tier WWE talent in the last year. A win over Sting would cement his legacy in an eerily similar fashion to Ric Flair making the career of Sting years ago.
Another dream match that would not have seemed out of place during the attitude era was Triple H versus Sting. Of course, a lot has changed since that time, and many of those changes would make a match between The Game and The Icon even more interesting today. The biggest of these changes is the position of power Triple H finds himself in. With very few exceptions, Sting has been the moral centre of any organization he has worked for. The actions of Triple H in the last year haven’t exactly been moral. If Sting was to object to the Cerebral Assassin’s abuse of power, I imagine the drama created by Helmsley’s position as Sting’s boss would lead to a captivating showdown between good and evil.
Some might balk at the idea of Dolph Ziggler having a match with Sting, especially if Sting was limited to one or two matches inside a WWE ring, but there are also a number of subtle tremendous upsides to this match. For starters, the match is mutually beneficial to both participants. Dolph Ziggler gets an incredible boost by competing against one of the biggest stars in the industry’s history, while Sting gets an opponent that can take his minimal offense and make him look as good as his fans remember. Although Dolph is loved by the fans, Sting has the loyalty of millions and it would be easy for Dolph’s cocky personality to turn him heel or at the very least, give him a hard edge. The only question is, if these two were to square off, would it be show time for Sting, or show off time for Dolph Ziggler?
If you’re going to only have one match in WWE, why not have it against the best that WWE has to offer? While neither man’s style appeals to the purists who watch WWE, there is no denying that these two have a connection with the crowd that can’t be compared. If this match was to happen, it would be smart to demonstrate the similarities between the two. Both men who got their start in body building before breaking into professional wrestling in the California scene. Both men were white meat baby faces with the same look an offensive style. Both went through an edgy evolution en route to becoming the franchise player for their respective companies. It creates a unique dynamic that Sting wouldn’t have with any other opponent.
Early on in Sting’s career, he was faced with a number of challengers who posed a physical threat due to their size. Then, he met an unstable lunatic who used his own body as a weapon and pushed him to his limits. That man was Cactus Jack and those matches would not only help Sting evolve as a character, but they were pretty entertaining too. It’s easy to not only draw comparisons between the madman of Truth or Consequences New Mexico, and Dean Ambrose, but it’s also easy to assume that this clash of styles would be highly entertaining, if not compelling television. We’ve seen that Ambrose is not above pushing his rivals to the edge, but how hard would he need to push before Sting’s own crazy side comes out to play? A better question might be if the Insane Icon and the Lunatic Fringe were to fight, would there even be winners, or only survivors?
Although not the match that would immediately come to mind when thinking about opponents for Sting, make no mistake about it, this showdown between two of the most charismatic personalities of all time would be both highly anticipated and exciting. Since returning to action from Hollywood, The Rock has competed against other men who attacked him head on to prove their supremacy. With Sting, the mental game of The Rock would need to be sharper than ever before, as not only would it be an opponent he has never ever faced, but he would be facing a man with a style that he hadn’t encountered since battling the Undertaker over two decades ago. The Rock’s reactions to Sting’s psychological warfare would be worth it alone.
“Mr. Money In The Bank” (at the time of this writing) has been on a crusade for two things in 2014: the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and respect. While the Money In The Bank briefcase has helped Rollins get closer to his first goal, the second one is going to be more difficult, especially if he continues to “buy in” to Triple H and the Authority. Sting has proven in the past that when it comes to hungry talent on the rise, he’s more than happy to act as the test for any up and comer. Could Sting’s commitment to justice cost Seth Rollins his chance at WWE World Championship gold, leading to a revenge fueled Rollins attacking the legend? If one of Rollins’ goals is ruined, then perhaps his next strategy would be getting the respect he craves, by beating it out of the legend.
WWE’s “Apex Predator” hasn’t had a great 2014. He has suffered many humiliating losses and been made to look a fool. If Randy Orton wants to both get back on track while impressing The Authority, then what better way to make an impact than by dusting off one his former nicknames, that of legend killer? If Sting wants to prove that he can still hang with the best, regardless of age, then Randy Orton is a great opponent for the Icon. Both men would have plenty at stake in terms of personal pride. In addition, the man who walks away with his arm raised would need to be considered one of the all time greats. That in itself makes this potential match up intriguing.
I will provide full disclosure and confess that the only reason Damien Sandow made this list is because I find his recent impersonation character to be a hoot, and I think it would hilarious to have Sandow dress as Stings from various eras to get under the skin of the Icon. I know that idea is nothing new, but where those previous attempts failed was their earnest approach. With Sandow, everyone is in on the gag. His strategy is to mock both us and his opponents with his antics. Adding to that fact is Sandow’s history with WWE Legends, which is exemplary. If a match was to occur between these two, it could be an opportunity to put the spotlight back onto Sandow in his most high profile encounter yet. If not, then the interactions between Sandow and Sting may be reason enough to tune in on Monday nights.
Sting is a legend in the world of professional wrestling, a fact that will not change if he chooses to never step foot into a WWE ring as a competitor. However, if we are granted the pleasure of seeing Sting wrestle in WWE, even for just one match, he has plenty of options when it comes to opponents that will give him a moment decades in the making.
What did you think of my list? Do you agree with my choices or do you think there are some potential opponents for Sting that I missed? Feel free to comment below or give your own #StingOpponent on social media.
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