Throughout essentially the lifespan of WCW, Sting was the face of the promotion. He was nicknamed "The Franchise", won 13 WCW titles and was the third Triple Crown Champion.
For what he meant to WCW, Sting – along with Ric Flair – was chosen to be a part of WCW's final match in 2001. Vince McMahon had just bought the company so Sting and Flair had one last match on the final Nitro to send off WCW. Now, with AEW, Sting recalled Vince McMahon buying WCW when he joined AEW Unrestricted.
"It was surreal because it was like we were the second-class citizens for many, many years – second to WWE. We launch Nitro and kill it for so long. We almost put WWE completely under and out of business, and all of a sudden, you've got these Monday Night Wars and these ratings are coming out," Sting said before mentioning hearing rumors about WCW being bought out.
"Then you find out Vince McMahon might be buying us out. Then, sure enough, Vince McMahon is going to buy us out. They show up [to Nitro] in Panama City and they want Ric and I to leave the fans with something good and positive, so we had a short little match. It just felt like the enemy came in and took the women and children. There was pillaging and raping and there was just chaos. It was like, 'What is happening here!?'"
He discussed when Ted Turner met with everyone when he bought WCW and told them he liked wrestling and had "deep pockets." But in the end, WCW was put on the chopping block and sold for next to nothing.
While many WCW stars jumped ship to WWE after Vince bought the company, Sting was not one of them. He would eventually join WWE, but it came 13 years after leaving WCW. However, Sting revealed that he and Vince McMahon did have talks about him joining earlier but nothing ever materialized.
"After [WCW] ended, we never did talk. There was never any discussion, at least not immediately after. It was, maybe, a year after that Vince reached out and we had a conversation and talking with Vince was always good," stated Sting. "But then you get his group of attorneys and my attorney and it all kinda falls apart. Long story short, I wasn't willing to make the commitment that he wanted."
After about two years on the sideline following WCW's closure, Sting eventually joined TNA where he worked for over a decade. But before agreeing to join TNA, he and McMahon had another talk and Sting revealed what Vince told him that still sticks with him today.
"I was called by Jeff Jarrett. The guy who gave me my break originally – Jerry Jarrett [in the Continental Wrestling Association] – his son, Jeff, all those years later struck some deal with Dixie Carter. He said, 'Hey, do you wanna come and just do a show?' And I did one. Then it was, 'Do you wanna do another one?' 'Alright.' Then it was, 'Can we get you to sign a deal and maybe do something with us,'" recalled Sting.
Sting said it took some twisting of his arm to agree to a deal but Vince was in the picture during that time.
"I'll never forget, I'm talking to him on the phone and I say, 'Vince, I'm gonna go to TNA.' He said, 'The thought of you and the legacy that you leave behind! And you going to TNA is just BLAH!' He literally said, 'BLAH!' Then I end up working for him a few years later."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.