Sting will take his place among professional wrestling's biggest legends on April 2, WWE announced Monday:
The former WCW stalwart is the first inductee in the 2016 class for the WWE Hall of Fame. Sting provided a brief statement on Twitter:
"We are truly honored to have Sting take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame," Triple H said, per Bobby Melok of WWE.com. "His contributions to our industry are unprecedented, and we look forward to celebrating his incredible career with fans all over the world."
Triple H and Dolph Ziggler were among those to congratulate The Icon on social media:
This honor is long overdue for the nine-time WCW/NWA world champion. Once he made his first appearance in WWE during Survivor Series 2014, his induction was only a matter of time.
The number of world and United States title reigns doesn't go far enough to properly describe Sting's legacy in the ring. His feuds with Rick Rude, Ric Flair and Vader are some of the best of the 1990s, and no story was better than Sting's battle with the nWo over the course of 1996 and 1997:
His move to WWE allowed a new generation of fans to fully appreciate his contributions to professional wrestling:
The Hall of Fame induction this spring could be Sting's first on-screen involvement with WWE since his defeat to Seth Rollins at Night of Champions last September. In that match, Sting suffered a serious neck injury that required surgery.
"I've got two spots in my neck that are troublesome. I guess it's called cervical spinal stenosis," Sting said in an interview on Flair's Wooooo! Nation podcast (via Sean Ross Sapp of WrestlingInc.com). "That's what it is. I have two areas in my neck where the spinal canal, which holds the spinal cord, it's kind of choked off in two different locations."
In an interview with WWE.com's Greg Adkins, Sting was unable to say whether his match with Rollins would be his last in a WWE ring: "I hate it when I'm asked that question because the answer truly is a question mark. The question mark is as bold as it could ever be at this point."
No Superstar is more deserving of a call to the WWE Hall of Fame than Sting, and if his in-ring career is over, at least fans got to see him finally wrestle under the WWE banner before he hung up his boots.