Look for Sting to be a part of WWE beyond appearing in a video game.
The potential drawing power of a man who never appeared or wrestled for WWE is too great to not tap into. The WWE 2K15 involvement should prove to just be a gateway to more, Sting making his way onto Raw, stepping into the WWE Hall of Fame and singing his in-ring swan song.
Recent interviews and backstage reports point at Sting's desire to fully embrace the WWE chapter of his career. Vince McMahon is too opportunistic not to milk that.
On the July 14 Raw, fans grew quiet when a video aired on the big screen. The shadow of a man wielding a baseball bat cut across the floor.
An unsettling, face-painted orchestra played as he turned toward the camera.
This was Sting's WWE debut, but not really. It was only a promotional video for the upcoming WWE 2K15 video game.
As fun as it will be to insert him into the virtual WWE world when the game comes out, the focus quickly has shifted toward questions about his future. What else will Sting do for the company? Will he actually wrestle?
Sting reportedly told TMZ that his contract doesn't involve him wrestling but that he wants to get a deal done that would get him in the ring. A WWE source clarified to F4WOnline that the current deal is with 2K Sports, not with WWE.
Still, it's clear that a relationship is blossoming between both sides.
Earlier in the year, Sting reflected on his relationship with the late Ultimate Warrior for a special that aired on the WWE Network. WWE also featured a video playlist of Sting's dark side on its website. His shirts have gone up on sale on WWE's website.
Triple H mentioned him in an interview with Michael Cole, responding to a question about Sting wrestling for the company by saying, "Never say never."
This is after years of generally not recognizing his existence. It appears that fans are nearing what they once thought was impossible—Sting in a WWE ring.
Raw, Hall of Fame
With as friendly as WWE and Sting's relationship has become, it seems a safe bet that they will work something out. WWE can boost its WWE Network numbers with Sting nostalgia at a high level. It can sell more Sting merchandise.
So often, Raw's special guests from the past are wrestlers fans have seen not all that long ago. Ric Flair has been on the show several times. Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley don't go long before showing up on Raw again.
Sting, though, has spent his entire career working elsewhere.
There's no bigger star that WWE could bring into its fold for the first time. WWE welcomed most of WCW's biggest names when it bought the rival company out in 2001. Most of ECW's standouts have been a part of WWE as well, and the majority of TNA's stars were with WWE in the past, even if it was just briefly.
That creates a unique and intriguing scenario. Sting debuting on Raw, even in a non-wrestling capacity, would be one of the biggest moments in the show's history.
How much that would affect ratings is too powerful of an incentive for WWE to pass up.
McMahon and company apparently have more in mind that just trotting out the former WCW and TNA star in a segment on Raw. According to PWInsider (h/t WrestlingInc), there has been talk of inducting Sting into the Hall of Fame in 2015.
That would have him follow his former tag-team partner Ultimate Warrior's lead, using a video game deal as a segue into a Hall of Fame induction. The fact that the ceremony would happen in Sting's home state of California makes the timing more fitting.
Would WWE induct someone into its Hall whose accomplishments were for another company?
History says yes. The WWE Hall of Fame welcomed Abdullah the Butcher, who plied his trade in Japan, Puerto Rico and various NWA territories, but not WWE.
Much of Gorgeous George's career predates WWE's existence. Verne Gagne not only spent the bulk of his career with the AWA, he was its owner and promoter, a rival of McMahon's.
The possibility of Sting getting a Hall of Fame nod came up in a recent interview with the Mirror. In it, he said, "Obviously it would be a great honour to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. It's nothing that I would say no to, that's for sure."
With as much buzz as Sting joining the Hall of Fame would create, it's a safe bet that WWE will award him that honor.
One More Match
Fans are most concerned, though, if Sting is going to wrestle again. Despite him being 55 years old, there's a lot of anticipation surrounding him stepping between the ropes for WWE.
In the aforementioned interview with the Mirror, Sting said, "I think, or at least I'm hoping, that Taker's still going to come back and that he's not done. If he's not done, and he would consider doing it, I'd love to work with him one time. I'd love to wrestle him one time before I call it quits."
He reiterated that to David Shoemaker (The Masked Man) on Grantland.
Sting called him going up against Undertaker a dream match and said that he was "hoping for an opportunity" to face him. When Shoemaker asked him how much he had left in him, he responded, "One more match. That's what I’m hoping to do, and I'd like it to be Taker, and then I'll hang it up."
All that talk comes as no surprise.
That match has been a source of speculation for years. Sting's age won't allow him to go on a sustained run, so a singular in-ring bout makes sense. There are signs, however, that Sting's farewell bout may be with someone else, though.
One concern is Undertaker's health.
After his match with Brock Lesnar, Undertaker spent the night in a medical facility suffering from a severe concussion. Every year as of late has forced fans to wonder if it's Undertaker's time to retire.
Injuries, surgeries and Father Time keep threatening to end his storied career.
He looked to be in bad shape during the Lesnar match and was clearly worse off when it ended. The fact that WWE seems to be gauging fan interest in other potential matches is a possible sign that officials doubt that Undertaker is coming back.
WWE.com listed five potential dream matches for Sting. With John Cena, Triple H, Kane, Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt as the options, the company also posted a poll asking which opponent fans would like to see Sting face.
As of this writing, Wyatt leads the vote with 31 percent. Cena sits right behind him at 29 percent.
There is no mention of Undertaker.
Count on either Wyatt and Cena being the choice for Sting's opponent. Wyatt offers a young, promising talent, and he'd benefit greatly from being the man to last topple Sting.
Sting appears to a be fan of him as well. He told the Mirror that Wyatt was an "unbelievable talent on the microphone and in ring, a very physical guy."
The Stinger also said that he "always wanted to work with the likes of The Rock, John Cena and Randy Orton."
Cena has been WWE's go-to choice for incoming big stars. He faced Brock Lesnar after his return and The Rock at two straight WrestleManias. Cena certainly doesn't mind the rub that would come with taking on Sting, but his star power makes it an intriguing collision.
WWE is going to have choose between boosting an emerging star or banking on an established one when it decides on Sting's foe. He's only got one bullet left in the chamber.
He'll create some memorable moments in front of WWE cameras before shooting it.
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