WrestleMania 31 was home to the long anticipated WWE debut of Sting, who faced Triple H in a match that became WWE vs. WCW. The match ended up being a disappointment for most and featured NWO vs. DX with Triple H pinning Sting in his WWE debut.
When asked about Sting and his debut at WrestleMania 31, Arn Anderson noted that Sting’s WWE debut came way too late.
“Well, I thought it was 15 years too late,” Anderson said. “I’m the guy who thinks Undertaker should still be riding the wave of his undefeated streak. You only get one crack at some stuff and Sting being the last hold out would’ve been nice if Sting would’ve came across when WCW was done and be pushed like the star that he was.”
“It was meant to beat you over the head with: ‘We are WWE, we won the war. Here’s your big star, well he ain’t a big star here tonight.’
During the match, DX came out to help out Triple H while the NWO assisted Sting. This was strange too many people because for anyone who knew anything about WCW, the NWO’s biggest rival was Sting during their peak.
Anderson talked about the awkward move to bring out these two factions and how funny it was to notice all the guys involved had more of a connection to Triple H than Sting.
“Everyone on both run ins had a relationship with Hunter in some capacity,” Anderson said. “Sting is the only WCW guy, his biggest nemesis the entire look of the show for however long was Sting vs. The NWO. Why would they come down on his behalf?”
Talking about the decision to pin Sting clean in his long awaited WWE debut has been a topic of discussion since the moment WWE made this decision. Anderson talked about WWE’s move to pin Sting clean in his debut.
“If you decide you aren’t using Sting in any other capacity, Hunter is going to be there, you know that next year and the year after that,” Anderson said. “Okay, you go Hunter’s way, Hunter is going to win the match. That’s what it is if you’re not going to use Sting anymore. But if you want to get that Sting – Undertaker match and you want to get another match out of him and possibly get several television appearances out of him, what would be wrong with putting Sting over with his finish?”
After the match, Sting and Triple H would shake hands. This also confused Anderson because the finish of the match involved Triple H using a sledgehammer to Sting’s head. Anderson also talked about whose idea the match was and noted that Triple H could never override Vince when it comes to the decisions on a match.
“After all that bullsh**, run in, abuse, hit me in the face with a sledgehammer, I’m just going to shake your hand and walk out,” Anderson said. “It’s another one of those deals with WWE beating you over the head with ‘This is a work, guys it’s just entertainment, it doesn’t mean s–t, match is over now, we’ll go back to being just entertainers.’ I don’t think the audience needs that, I don’t think they want it.
“I know that Hunter will never be able to override Vince’s idea no matter how good his is that he has,” Anderson stated. “If Vince has an idea, the harder you push against him, the harder he pushes back and he just happens to have a lot more weight behind his push. Why would you kick out of Shawn Michaels superkick on top of Triple H’s pedigree and all the other finishes you piled and piled on top of each other? You’re not building anybody, you’re killing everything off.”
“I don’t understand why guys of this era don’t understand your finish is the one thing you should have sacred. Once you hit your finish on the guy, he’s beat, that’s why it’s your finish. If you didn’t have confidence in it, because it didn’t have a proven record, why is it the move that you chose to win the match? It’s real simple, go with what your best stuff is to try and win a match. Hunter got out of Sting’s finish, Sting got out of however many finishes and after getting hit in the face with a sledgehammer, he was up a minute later shaking the guys hand. It just s–ts on everything.”
The idea of WCW vs. WWE was something that was sold during the match. The commentary team continuously put that over while putting over the WWE guy and burying the WCW star. Anderson talked about the continuous comments regarding Sting not being able to live up to the hype in this moment and how they buried Sting repeatedly.
“I’m sure they were being fed that,” Anderson said. “To just go on and on and on and on putting Triple H over and dumping on Sting and the comparison being this guy’s a pro and you’re sandlot, you’re little league, this guys an all pro in the NFL and you’re on peewee league. That was the premise of it all. Other than building the match, as the match was building, it was like tunnel vision. ‘Okay dip s–t, we finally got you on board now we’re going to just bury you,’ and that’s pretty much what happened. The comparisons were just brutal, and they weren’t doing anything to build the character of Sting and I’ve never been a fan of that. You don’t say old, you don’t say too small, you don’t say fat, find something in your opponent that makes him special, so when he beats you, he really beats you. Otherwise, a little guy beats you or an old guy beats you or a fat guy beats you, it’s just common sense.”
“The reality is this: It was the last nail that Vince could nail into the coffin and say okay it’s done, we’re the superior company. They said they were going to put us out of business, they led for all those weeks but in the end, here’s your last remaining guy and he was your biggest star and we just crushed him before your very eyes at the biggest event of the year. It is now officially done. It’s like WCW never existed now, that’s what would’ve been going through his mind. It’s the last vestige of WCW and we just squashed him.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit ARN with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.