Throughout the late 1990s, nobody exemplified WCW more than Sting. Ever the loyal soldier, Sting watched many of WCW’s biggest stars, such as Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Dusty Rhodes, Sid Vicious, and others, go off to join WWE over the years, but Sting was the sole member of the roster who never made that jump while WCW was still in business.
Then, WCW closed its doors in 2001 and it seemed as though a jump to Vince McMahon’s company would finally make sense for Sting, but the big move didn’t happen at that time. The WCW invasion came and went in the summer of 2001 without Sting. It wasn’t until late last year, after years of wrestling for TNA, that Sting finally made his long-awaited debut in a WWE arena.
However, over the years, there were always several reports around WrestleMania time that Sting was close to signing with WWE. According to a former WWE creative team member, Sting was close to signing with WWE in 2002 for a match with Kurt Angle at WrestleMania X-8 in Toronto. There were also rumors of Sting competing for WWE in 2011 at WrestleMania XXVII and in 2006 at WrestleMania 22.
Now, though, another WrestleMania from years past has come into light with the recent release of WWE’s new book on the attitude era. In the book, titled WWE: The Attitude Era, Sting confirms that he was very close to signing with WWE in 2003. In fact, Sting talks in the book about being pitched the idea of coming in and feuding with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
“I [Sting] had been negotiating with Vince [McMahon], and one of the ideas was for me to debut at the end of WrestleMania XIX and confront ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. Negotiations fell apart and it never happened, but it makes you wonder, ‘What if?’ That was one of the times I was talking with Vince, and it would’ve been an incredible night that would’ve translated into some major, major rivalries and match-ups for years to come.”
Austin wrestled The Rock at 2003’s WrestleMania XIX, the third and final time the pair wrestled at WWE’s biggest show. Had Sting actually signed with WWE that year, the company would have been forced into an audible and been unable to place Sting in a feud with Steve Austin anyway. Austin’s match with The Rock at WrestleMania XIX ended up being the final bout of his storied career, as Austin made the decision prior to the bout that he would retire from in-ring competition following the WrestleMania match at Safeco Field due to years of neck problems.
[Image via BoxingScene.com]