While WWE fans were finally able to see Sting for the last year of his pro wrestling career, they could have seen him much earlier after WCW went out of business. Many former WCW wrestlers jumped ship to WWE in 2001 including Booker T who engaged in a feud with The Rock in which Rock dismissed Booker and anyone else who came from WCW.
Sting apparently saw the way that WWE had Rock and others disrespect former WCW wrestlers and decided that he didn't want to be a part of that; thus he didn't join WWE until 2014. Booker T responded to Sting's reasoning for staying away from WWE for so long on his Hall of Fame podcast.
"My thing is when I came over from WCW to WWE, I did the thing with The Rock where I came out as WCW Champion and The Rock asked me who I was and then he responded with, 'It doesn't matter what your name is.' I got hot about it and whatnot, but the thing is he did that with everyone, he didn't just do that with me," stated Booker. "The Rock, that was his character and it was something he was supposed to do. I don't think it was a knock to me or anything like that; it was entertainment.
"For me to come and do an angle with The Rock it was awesome because it was a great spot first and foremost to be in the same light doing something with The Rock and when I heard a comment from Sting I went, 'Wow man!' I never thought Sting would be the person to think that way because at the end of the day it's about the job. It's about being able to take care of your family. I think in WWE, now 18 years almost, I've been a part of that company and have been treated very well. And with Sting thinking that way, I think Sting missed out on a lot of great matches, great times, as well as a whole lot of merchandise money that he could have been making not thinking like that because at the end of the day it's about the job. When he finally came over, no knock to him or anything like that but he finally got his moment, which was his last moment so he didn't get a chance to enjoy his moment. So, in hindsight if you ask him that question now he would have a different answer?"
In between WWE's initial interest in Sting in 2002 and when he finally came over in 2014, he worked mainly for TNA and also did some acting on the side. When he made his WWE debut at the 2014 Survivor Series, Sting was 55 years old and way past his prime.
"I didn't dislike Sting or anything like that. Sting and I are friends; we've always been friends," said Booker. "I just think he really missed out more than anybody on that deal. I've always been able to speak up for myself and when it's a wrestling angle it's as real as we make it. It's Shakespeare; Romeo & Juliet which is how I've always viewed it. I never looked at the way Sting looked at it."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Hall of Fame Podcast w/Booker T with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.