Sting’s Final WWE Journey: The Retirement of a Wrestling Icon


We as wrestling fans always dreamed of the day Sting would once grace us with his presence within the confines of a WWE ring. The rumors would always circulate year after year, but the visions of it actually happening faded more with each passing birthday. Sting was one of the major icons of professional wrestling since the 80’s and made his WWE debut in 2014, shocking the world by appearing at Survivor Series. It seems as now he will announce his retirement from the sport he gave everything for and at the right time for the iconic legend.

Sting (Steve Borden) rose from the indie wrestling circuit in the late 1980s, using his trademark Stinger Splash and Scorpion Death Lock to take down a litany of opponents. This is a man whose career spanned 30 years, and whose journey took him from the Continental Wrestling Association to World Wrestling Entertainment.

There was a great deal of excitement surrounding Sting, so it was understandable that he arrived at Jim Crockett Promotions like a twister that found immediate success with every high speed wind. With a chiseled out physique you only see in Men’s Magazine, bleach blonde hair and a painted face that endeared him to kids, it didn’t take very long to anoint him the main attraction of a federation that already was solidified by the likes of “Nature Boy” Ric flair.

At the time of Sting’s arrival, Flair was the Gold Standard of WCW (or NWA at an earlier time) and needing a fresh face to do battle with was something that was sorely needed. Obviously, the constant battles with The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and the epic events of The Four Horseman were solid entertainment, but Sting was new life in a locker room that was beginning to show its age. Sting had talent and a desire that couldn’t be taught. His undeniable chemistry with such a polished wrestler like Flair showed his uncanny ability that was more natural gift than acquired skill.

As he continued to solidify himself as the future and Franchise of WCW, his in-ring character got a huge revamp in the mid-1990s when he traded in his beach blonde hair and surfer boy image for a dark sadistic character with longer hair. He continued to play the role of the savior and after the shutdown of WCW, his character was risen again within the confines of TNA. TNA was an alternative to WWE and Sting gave the brand a much needed exposure to broker some very important television deals. His contributions to the company and its continued success are indisputable. His long tenured image and credibility were as vital to the history of TNA Wrestling as founder Jeff Jarrett or breakout star AJ Styles.

Once the deal was signed with WWE, it wasn’t known if we would ever see him in the ring. There was some speculation that he would be a figure in name only the same way Hulk Hogan was in the late stages of his career. By appearing at Survivor Series and initiating a rivalry with corrupt authority figure Triple H, we then knew we would finally see the icon do his thing on wrestling’s grand stage.

At WrestleMania 31 he lost to Triple H in a match that became less about him saving WWE from the furious rule of The Authority and shifted more to a counter-based storyline that basically brought us back to the Monday Night War days. After his surprising loss, we were left wondering if he would ever step into the ring again. All the questions were answered when he returned to battle the Authority’s Golden Boy, Seth Rollins. Their match at Night of Champions was infinitely better than expected, but it saw Sting suffer the injury that would ultimately end his career.

According to reports, Sting’s wrestling career is now all but over due in large part to a neck injury that he suffered during this same match at WWE Night of Champions in September of last year. The match which could have developed into one last memory of wrestling’s most sought after icon, quickly took a turn for the worse after a devastating turnbuckle bomb. While the injury happened a while ago, the 56 year old wrestler was never able to completely recover from it.

Sting was reportedly diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis which can cause extreme pain due to its effect on the nerves. It is worth noting that this is the same injury that forced the retirement of WWE superstar Edge back in 2011. The same reports say he consulted with several doctors and unfortunately their advice was to retire from wrestling for good.

Looking back at his unexpected, but brief tenure in WWE, there are many questions left unanswered. Questions like, “What were the actual plans for the ending of the match with Seth Rollins” and “What were his plans going forward.” Would there be one more match in the cards? We always talk about the Undertaker match and now it will only be a topic of conversation for the foreseeable future.

On April 1, as part of the WrestleMania 32 festivities, he will join his greatest rival, Ric Flair, in the Hall of Fame. As the main event inductee, the ceremony will be a celebration of his accomplishments and is sure to be a defining sendoff to The Man They Call Sting. We will forever debate his role during the late stages of his career and what could have been done differently. Even if we don’t agree with how he was used or if his WWE run even mattered, Sting will forever be known as the man who stood up against authority and a wrestler that consistently pushed himself to the limits to get the job done. Whether the show was stagnant or the crowd was out of sync, once the Stinger’s music hit everyone knew it was SHOWTIME!

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