AEW's Sting Plans, CM Punk on WWE's Original Shield Booking, Priest Praises Ruff

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2020

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - WWE Superstar Sting makes his first ever WrestleMania appearance at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday, March 29, 2015 in Santa Clara, CA. WrestleMania broke the Levi’s Stadium attendance record at 76,976 fans from all 50 states and 40 countries. (Don Feria/AP Images for WWE)
Don Feria/Associated Press

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.


AEW Plans for Sting to Wrestle

Sting made his AEW debut on last week's episode of Dynamite, and there are reportedly some big plans in the works for The Icon.

According to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, there are plans for Sting to eventually wrestle in AEW, although it won't be a regular occurrence, and it isn't yet clear when that match or matches will happen.

The 61-year-old Sting hasn't wrestled a match since facing Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship at Night of Champions in 2015. During that match, Sting suffered a neck injury on a buckle bomb, which seemingly ended his in-ring career.

With WWE unwilling to clear him, Sting was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and wasn't seen or used much after that.

Per Barrasso, Sting wanted to return to the spotlight, and AEW was willing to give him that opportunity far more than WWE was.

Barrasso also noted that Sting will have a "collaborative" working relationship with AEW President Tony Khan, which suggests he will be able to get precisely what he wants out of the final years of his wrestling career.

Khan announced last week that AEW signed Sting to a multiyear, full-time contract, which suggests he will appear regularly on AEW programming even if he doesn't often wrestle matches.

It is undoubtedly fair to have some level of concern for Sting's health given his age and recent injury history, but there may be ways to work around it, including having cinematic matches, which don't necessarily require him to take any bumps.

Regardless of how Sting is used, AEW has a legendary professional wrestler on its hands, and he should be an asset based on his star power and name recognition alone.


Punk Talks WWE's Original Plans for The Shield

The Shield changed the landscape of WWE forever when they made their debut at Survivor Series 2012 in the main event Triple Threat match between CM Punk, John Cena and Ryback.

During an appearance on Renee Young's Oral Sessions podcast (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), Punk divulged that WWE's original plan was to have two veterans already on the roster interfere on his behalf: "They were like, 'We want to have some guys with you to protect you so you can be a chickens--t heel.' I was like, 'Great,' and he said, 'Daniel Bryan and Big Show.'"

In response, Punk said he told WWE to use "guys that nobody has seen before instead of guys who have already had this on-screen history who, for better or for worse, had already been beat by everybody, probably even me at that point."

WWE's solution was to bring three Superstars up from NXT in the form of Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose. The Shield showed up at Survivor Series and attacked Ryback and Cena, which allowed Punk to retain the WWE Championship.

The Shield continued to help Punk in subsequent months, but it was never definitely revealed that The Shield was working for Punk, and Punk ultimately turned face and feuded with The Shield.

Debuting The Shield in such an impactful way was huge for the careers of all three members, as they are among the biggest stars in the wrestling business currently.

Reigns is a multi-time world champion and the face of WWE, who is doing the best work of his career on SmackDown currently.

Rollins is also a multi-time world champion, who has won the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania and even beat Brock Lesnar for the world title at WrestleMania 35.

Ambrose won the WWE Championship once, and although he is no longer with the company, he is one of AEW's biggest stars and is fresh off an AEW World Championship reign.

The Shield truly set Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose up for success, and they may all owe Punk at least a small debt of gratitude for the fact that they ended up in that position.


Priest Praises Ruff After TakeOver Match

Fresh off an entertaining Triple Threat match for the North American Championship against Johnny Gargano and Leon Ruff at NXT TakeOver: WarGames, Priest complimented Ruff.

During an appearance on WWE Hall of Famer X-Pac's 12360 podcast (h/t Upton), Priest noted that while he wasn't initially all in on the storyline that saw Ruff shockingly win the North American title, he ultimately came to appreciate and enjoy it in part because of his belief that Ruff deserved a push:

"When we first started [the storyline], I wasn't 100 percent invested in it. I didn't know what to expect and, of course, everybody has a better idea and everybody is the best booker ever. In my head, I had other ideas and I didn't know him. 'What are we doing?' We did and got it done. Then I got to be around him a little more and have conversations. As we progressed and everything happened, I couldn't imagine a cooler storyline that wasn't about me but actually elevated and helped someone else, deservedly. I really like Leon Ruff. He's just as loveable, humble, and respectful [as you see on TV]."

Ruff was never used as anything more than an enhancement talent in NXT until several weeks ago when he shockingly beat Gargano for the North American title thanks to interference from Priest.

Despite Ruff's win, neither Priest nor Gargano took him seriously, which led to Ruff standing up to both of them and declaring that he would defend the title in a Triple Threat match.

Gargano won the title back thanks to help from Austin Theory in disguise, but Ruff acquitted himself well and is now in a position where he may be able to sustain himself as an important part of the NXT roster moving forward.

If Ruff does enjoy long-term success, the unselfishness of Priest and Gargano will play a key role, as they agreed to helping get him over at their own expense.

Now, Priest and Gargano can continue their rivalry as well, meaning everything has essentially come full circle.


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