Sting in the dying days of WCW.
Over the last few weeks, with Sting's TNA contract having expired, there's been more talk then ever of him signing with WWE to...well, do something and remove his status as one of the biggest pro wrestling stars never to go to WWE. Since it's WrestleMania season, even though most of the main matches seem to be mapped out, a lot of fans are holding out hope that he may have a match at the biggest show of the year.
According to a report from Mike Johnson at PWInsiderElite.com (h/t WrestlingInc.com), WWE is taking their time in negotiating with Sting. Not in a bad way, mind, you: It's more that having him in a match at WrestleMania XXX is not a big priority. They want him in the company, especially for the sense of finality it gives to WCW, as well as the merchandising opportunities. He may be signed in time to at least appear at WrestleMania and wrestle occasionally after, perhaps leading to a Hall of Fame induction as the main eventer of the 2015 ceremony.
For a number of reasons, this is a good idea. Some of the push for Sting to go to WWE is strictly novelty, for him to wrestle a match, any match, before he retires for good. Another is that if he wants to have a big showcase WrestleMania match against The Undertaker or anyone else, he probably needs a lot more than a month or two of preparation.
I'm not judging the guy, but he's 55 years old and has been wrestling in a T-shirt for awhile, and that's not going to work in a WrestleMania main event level match. He needs time to get into "WrestleMania" shape and/or get new gear to work around the issue. "WrestleMania shape" doesn't just refer to his physique, either.
Sting has not really been able to have much in the way of good matches for several years. Again, he's 55 years old and has been wrestling since the end of 1985. The coasting on his name and a handful of trademark spots he was able to do in TNA isn't going to cut it in some of the biggest matches of the year in the biggest promotion in the world. That's even more true if he's going to end up working with The Undertaker at a WrestleMania, where, for the last several years, there's been an expectation of a great, "match of the year" caliber bout.
A Sting who's well-rested and able to focus on training is much more likely to deliver that great match. Look at The Undertaker: He moves slower and slower every year, but he still has enough in the tank to have a great match annually. In general, wrestlers who are able to take more time off are able to sustain working at a higher level for longer. Whether it's Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam in WWE or Akira Nogami and Hiroshi Hase a decade ago in Japan: The time living normal lives away from the pounding of taking bumps refreshes them in a way that you don't see from other middle-aged wrestlers who never took breaks. Hell, when Sting was more of a special attraction in TNA, he could be used an an example, too.
Patience is a virtue.
David Bixenspan has been Bleacher Report's WWE Team Leader and a contracted columnist since 2011 and is now part of the team putting together Figure 4 Weekly, available to F4WOnline.com subscribers along with other content including the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and variety of audio shows. His article about WWE's 1984 expansion from regional powerhouse to national juggernaut is featured in the newly released issue #102 of Fighting Spirit Magazine, available worldwide online and in print in the UK. You can follow him on Twitter @davidbix and check out his wrestling podcasts at LLTPod.com.