One of the main subplots of WrestleMania XXVII season was built around the pipe dream of a Sting WWE debut. At the time, Sting's status with TNA was in doubt. A teaser video showed a figure donning a trench coat and boots, walking into a house. Like Sting. The setting was dark and eerie. Like Sting. The figure even had a baseball bat and face paint on a makeup counter inside the house. OK, that last part wasn't true. But the stars had aligned for the non-WWE icon to finally make a WWE debut in the most high profile of capacities. The mystery figure turned out to be The Undertaker. It was one of those rare exceptions where The Undertaker's arrival around WrestleMania season was considered disappointing.
This summer series will examine talents, moments and matches that crumbled under the weight of their immense potential.
When it comes to wrestling stars never to have worked for the WWE, the list begins and ends with Sting. As much as Sting defines that list, special consideration must be given to Sting as a top-10 candidate. Sting lies somewhere in the top five and is even a strong argument at No. 1. Rounding out the top three is Sting, followed by Sting but not to be outdone by Steve Borden.
Google "2.21.11," which marked the 2011 return of The Undertaker, who challenged Triple H at WrestleMania XXVII.
Sting dominated the headlines in terms of speculation. The narrative of this storyline was simple. Sure, the mystery man is probably The Undertaker. But...but what if?
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter had reported that Sting's contract had expired at the end of 2011. This gave fans of big moments a fresh batch of hope. This could have been the year that Sting ended his impressive drought of never accepting a dime of Vince McMahon's blood money.
Whether or not there were serious discussions between Sting and WWE, WWE knew what it was doing with the vignettes that would air early in 2011.
Will Sting ever wrestle in a WWE ring?
The dark, almost supernatural nature of the 2.21.11 teasers could have been one of two men. Sting or The Undertaker. Once the first of these promos was aired, the rumor mill went into piranha mode. Hopelessly speculating—if not rooting—for the former.
Maybe WWE didn't know who the mystery man was and was leaving a slight window of wiggle room given the possibility that the company could land Sting.
The euphoria created by the initial video package was solely inspired by a wish. A wish for the ageless icon to have his first meaningful professional wrestling match in over a decade.
But as the vignettes continued to air, all signs pointed to The Undertaker. The crushing blow was one particular package where fans were able to catch a glimpse of The Phenom.
Taker would make his return on 2.21. As somewhat of a make-good, Triple H made a surprise return immediately after. This set up an Undertaker-Triple H WrestleMania match that, in all fairness, supremely exceeded its deflating appeal.
To this day, Sting still hasn't set foot in the WWE. TNA even trolled WWE fans with a spoof of 2.21.11 soon after Sting re-signed. Fans must now face the unthinkable reality that Sting may end his career as a non-WWE performer. Maybe you can say never in the pro wrestling business after all.