Sting Had His Reasons For Not Signing With WWE Until 2014

Sting is a true icon of professional wrestling who has always found a way to keep pace with the ever-changing industry. From his surfer gimmick and the vaunted Crow-styled antihero to his legendary TNA/Impact Wrestling run, The Man They Call Sting has seen and done it all, maintaining a consistent sense of professionalism through it all.


It is that same professionalism that gave Sting, whose real name is Steve Borden, pause when he was initially contacted by WWE following WCW's collapse in 2001. Sting focused on how WWE had erroneously portrayed a number of WCW stars after the latter company's closure, including then-WCW World Champion Booker T.

In an interview from the WWE-produced "Sting: Into the Light" documentary, he recalls a particular moment early on in Booker's WWE tenure where he had a face-off with The Rock in mid-2001, seemingly setting up for a titanic clash, only for Booker, in Sting's eyes, to get shorted in that rivalry. "They come back-to-back and they turn around and they look at each other and The Rock looks at Booker T and he said, 'who are you?' ... That one little comment was all it took to just bury somebody ... let's let the world know that you're a WCW guy and you're a peon here. It was gonna require lots of work for Booker T to try and come back ... after all the years I'd put into wrestling at that point it just seemed like a gamble to me."


That lack of professionalism by McMahon and company led to the first of many denials when it came to signing on with WWE, including the heavily-rumored clash between Sting and The Undertaker at WrestleMania 27 in 2011, which saw Triple H square off with 'Taker after Sting refused.

Sting Finally Signs With WWE...But Was It Worth It?

Sting re-signed with TNA afterwards for another three years after turning down 'Mania. He parlayed this loyalty to himself and his fellow wrestlers into a high-profile feud with Jeff Hardy and introducing the surreal "Joker Sting" gimmick that would become part of his legacy.


Sting would eventually make his way to WWE's squared circle in 2014 in spectacular fashion, upending Triple H and The Authority at that year's Survivor Series Pay-Per-View and sparking a feud with "The Game" that culminated in a heavily-anticipated match at WrestleMania 31. Sting's overall time in WWE, however, proved to be rather anticlimactic, losing out to Triple H in what was little more than a glorified "WWE beats WCW again" match. 

Sting temporarily retired following a spinal injury during a WWE World Title match versus Seth Rollins at the 2015 Clash of Champions PPV. Sting's later induction into the 2016 WWE Hall of Fame as its headlining member did little to allay the notion that his concern of being shafted by WWE, like his WCW compatriots before him, had ultimately been confirmed.