Sting, WWE 2K15 and the Company's Relationship with WCW's History

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Sting, WWE 2K15 and the Company's Relationship with WCW's History
Credit: WWE.com

As part of WWE 2K15, Sting will bring his WCW resume to the video game world, continuing WWE's strange relationship with the company it bought out in 2001.

When it's financially beneficial to do so, WWE will tap into WCW's past. There's money to be made in mining history.

At times, though, Sting's old stomping grounds has served as a punchline.

WWE boosts its DVD, T-shirt and video games sales with WCW nostalgia but isn't above pointing at the company's low points and laughing. Expect that aspect to slow down as WWE looks to pump up Sting's legacy.

As fans found on the July 14 edition of Raw, WWE 2K15 will feature Sting.

 

Poking Fun

WWE has no issue making fun of itself, but when it reflects back on WCW's history, it's often been harsher and more dismissive.

WCW's worst decisions and moments were a staple of the now-defunct YouTube show Are You Serious?. Josh Mathews and Road Dogg would dive into clips of wrestling's many lows, and that often included mocking WCW

In one episode, Road Dogg and Mathews dumped on the World War 3 Battle Royal concept, Sting playing volleyball and Barry Darsow's "Mr. Hole-in-One" gimmick. Both men noted how "crappy" WCW was in general.

The hosts even tried to get the #WCWRuinsEverything trending.

Through this show, WWE made sure fans didn't forget that Jay Leno wrestled at a WCW pay-per-view or that Robocop once saved Sting. There seems to be a special pleasure in deriding WCW.

A recent Five Things video focused on bad match ideas from WWE's old rival.

Reflecting on a San Francisco 49ers match and the Chamber of Horrors' silliness is fine, but the division of mocking is far from equal. Try searching for WWE's Kennel from Hell terribleness, and one gets redirected to WCW's King of the Road match instead.

There is little mention of Kizarny's tepid first appearance, but WWE has shown the disastrous debut of The Shockmaster several times over.

WWE doesn't wish us to disregard WCW completely, though. It wants to take full advantage of fans pining for the past via merchandise of various kinds.

 

Merchandise

When Vince McMahon officially won "The Monday Night War" by buying out WCW, the purchase not only included the contracts of wrestlers like Booker T, it also meant that WWE owned every piece of footage WCW had in its vaults.

That has led to countless WCW-focused DVDs going on sale.

WWE recently released United We Slam: The Best of The Great American Bash, highlighting a WCW pay-per-view. Sting features prominently on the cover right next to Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair.

The company is also set to release OMG: Vol. 2 - The Top 50 Incidents in WCW History and Sting - The Ultimate Collection. The fact that Sting is no longer with TNA and is now working with WWE for its upcoming video game, it's not surprising to see these DVDs come out to capitalize on that.

It took no time at all for WWE to stock Sting T-shirts on its website.

Look for even more of an influx of WCW material on its shelves. It won't be items like The Rise and Fall of WCW that highlight WCW's flaws, though.

For WWE to make the most of Sting's presence, count on it playing up WCW's best moments. Sting can't appear to be a megastar debuting if WWE presents the company where he first thrived as an inferior promotion.

The WWE 2K15 deal can just be the start of a partnership between Sting and WWE.

Ultimately, the goal will likely be to drum up interest in the WWE Network. WCW's history is already a big draw of the streaming service, as it allows fans to watch any of the pay-per-views that the company has produced.

The Network allows fans to relive WCW history.

With Sting around, older fans will likely be inspired to look back at his matches with Flair, Vader and Hulk Hogan. Younger fans will have an opportunity to learn who he is via his contributions to WCW.

A documentary on Sting is likely to be a part of the WWE Network as well. Recent specials focused on Vickie Guerrero and The Ultimate Warrior, Sting's one-time tag team partner.

The WWE production can no doubt put something stunning together to celebrate Sting, adding to the reasons to subscribe to the Network. Should that come to fruition, expect there to be a gap from 2001 to the present in Sting's career.

 

Convenient History

History is malleable, especially when a single entity controls how it's presented.

That has proved useful for WWE and will in the future with Sting. The World Heavyweight Championship that Randy Orton defeated John Cena for at TLC 2013 is not the same championship that Harley Race once won, but that's not the story WWE told.

To better add to the stakes of the title unification match between Orton and Cena, WWE merged the NWA and WCW's history with its own. 

It claimed that the title Cena took into that battle was a derivative of the NWA's world title and the WCW heavyweight belt. 

WWE used the same design as the title last held by Booker T in WCW, but it's a different championship altogether. That one merged into the WWE title, thanks to Chris Jericho. Eric Bischoff crowned Triple H in 2002 with a belt with a new lineage.

When WWE wants to get fans to laugh, it has often pointed at WCW, demeaning the defunct promotion. When it's time to elevate the prestige of a championship, though, as we saw before Orton vs. Cena, it's time to start showing clips of WCW's top stars and talking the company up.

Expect a lot more of that for Sting's benefit.

Although, the way his career will be presented will be incomplete. His TNA years are vital to his legacy, encompassing over a decade of his time in the business.

None of that will come up on WWE programming, though.

That rival company is still running. Playing up what he did from 2003 to February of this year would only give TNA free press.

TNA is still battling for wrestling fans' attention. Should it lose that fight and McMahon comes offering a buyout, all of its best and worst moments will then become a means to sell merchandise or to hype the WWE Network.

WWE will laud, mine and insult its history, just as it has with WCW.

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