At WWE Fastlane, WWE COO and leader of the Authority, Triple H, confronted the icon Sting, who had already previously dropped Triple H at WWE Survivor Series, preventing him from fixing the finish of Team Cena vs. Team Authority, and allowing Team Cena MVP Dolph Ziggler to pin Seth Rollins, temporarily vanquishing the Authority from power over the WWE.
For decades, Sting had been the last WCW hold out, resisting several offers from WWE during and after the revered “Attitude Era” to jump ship, staying loyal to the company that made him a household name in the professional wrestling industry, often citing WWE’s content, then far edgier and more salacious than it is as the present. Sting often said in interviews that he could not work for a company that produced a product he would not let his own kids watch, and following the purchase of WCW by WWE co-founder and Chairman of the Board Vince McMahon, ventured to TNA, where, for over a decade, Sting set about elevating the company’s younger talent, such as Bobby Roode and Magnus. Sting’s time in TNA helped the company in several ways. Sting provided a marquee name that let TNA present themselves as a legitimate alternative to the WWE. However, it often seemed that, creatively, he was an after thought. Perhaps the most interesting period of Sting’s time in TNA came when he “reinvented” himself from one comic book movie vigilante to another, temporarily switching his gimmick up from the dark and brooding Crow persona to a crazier, more unstable Heath Ledger-y Joker gimmick. While Sting portrayed the character with vigor and renewed energy and often cited in interviews his satisfaction with changing up his aged character, it would be short-lived, as Sting’s character became a casualty of TNA’s unreliable and ever-changing creative direction.
It appeared for some time that the perhaps the greatest wrestling character and in-ring performer never to step foot into the WWE would be forced to end his career having faded away into a dim sunset. Sting, now over 50-years-old, though acknowledged with a token induction in to TNA’s Hall of Fame, would last be remembered for having gotten out of shape, appearing feeble and with limited mobility in his match with Magnus at TNA’s signature event, Bound For Glory.
However, last year, hope was renewed when TNA signed a limited contract with WWE to allow his character to appear in the company’s most recent video game offering. That hope continued to grow as Sting made occasional appearances for the company, including during WWE’s yearly panel at San Diego Comic-Con, appearing alongside Daniel Bryan and Hulk Hogan, who himself had returned to the WWE with renewed vigor following an uninspired run with TNA.
Than came Survivor Series.
Sting made his first appearance in the WWE at the conclusion of what had become WWE’s top storyline. Following the appearance, Sting made his first appearance on WWE Monday Night Raw. Then, following the Royal Rumble event, Triple H challenged Sting to appear at WWE Fastlane to confront him. Leading into the pay-per-view, Sting’s greatest rival and Triple H’s greatest ally, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, appeared on Raw to caution Triple H about taking Sting lightly. The story became about Triple H taking glowing credit for bankrupting Sting’s beloved WCW, insinuating that Sting harbored bitter resentment. Triple H discredited Sting’s legacy, and even shoved Flair to the ground. Then, at WWE Fastlane, the confrontation took place, with Sting getting the better of Triple H, combating the COO’s patented sledge hammer with his own black baseball bat, and pointing to the WrestleMania sign, indicating that he wanted Triple H in a match at WrestleMania 31.
Upon WWE confirming the match for WrestleMania, they committed to presenting to the WWE Universe what could very well be the last dream match up in modern wrestling. Following WCW’s demise, NWO members Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hogan, as well as personalities like Goldberg and “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner, eventually migrated to WWE to participate in matches with the likes of The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Sting remained the last big name attraction not to appear in WWE, and with age and opportunity seemingly slipping by, it seemed like Sting in a WWE ring would not only never become reality, but also not make sense. Following Brock Lesnar’s defeat of the Undertaker at WrestleMania 30, interest in a match between Sting and the aged Undertaker seemed to dissipate. Who else would it make sense for Sting to face?
Triple H is a part time wrestler at best who, in his 40s, is still in excellent ring shape and capable of doing as he always has, providing one of the top matches on any card. Sting, now in his 50s, did not look impressive in his most recent matches, but, as seems to magically happen with WWE, has appeared reinvigorated since coming to the company, and when in shape, has shown flashes of the ability and talent upon which he made his legacy. Now, at WrestleMania 31, the WWE Universe gets what they always wanted, and Sting gets to end his legendary career in a manner deserving of his achievements and contributions to the industry. When Triple H and Sting lock up at WrestleMania 31, it may signify the modern era’s last marquee dream match.