From the time Sting’s contract with WWE expired in May, rumors were suggesting that the Hall of Famer might soon be moving to AEW more than four years after his last-ever match with his now-former employer. Those rumors became a reality on Wednesday night’s Winter is Coming special episode of Dynamite, when “The Icon” made his debut for the competition, and as a new report suggests, there were certain things that might have forced him to jump ship when the time came to renew his contract.
As cited by Sportskeeda, Dave Meltzer wrote in this week’s edition of Wrestling Observer Newsletter that one of the sticking points in Sting’s negotiations with WWE was the company’s alleged refusal to have him compete in a much-in-demand dream match against The Undertaker — or at least allow him to make regular appearances on television. This, as noted, was the opposite of what AEW president Tony Khan had offered the 61-year-old.
“WWE had no interest in him as a television character. Khan wants to make him a regular television character, although he very clearly has to be protected when it comes to not taking bumps. Still, it is known Sting wanted to do a Cinematic match with Undertaker, and for whatever reason, while fans have clamored for Undertaker vs. Sting for years, it has never been a match that appealed to [Vince] McMahon.”
As further noted, Sting won’t just be making regular appearances on Dynamite as part of the multi-year deal he reportedly signed with AEW. Due to the recurring neck issues that forced him to retire from active competition after he lost to Seth Rollins at the 2015 edition of Night of Champions, the legendary grappler likely won’t be asked to take any bumps. It also appears that he will be aligned with The Nightmare Family — the faction composed of Cody and Dustin Rhodes and Darby Allin, among other members.
Additionally, Sportskeeda pointed out another reason why Sting was brought in by AEW — so that Dynamite’s parent network, TNT, could attract lapsed fans of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the now-defunct promotion that was part of its programming until WWE purchased it in 2001.
Sting is far from the only retired WWE legend who is currently working for AEW, as the company had previously hired a number of legends to play key on-screen roles. Per CBR, these include Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who manages Lance Archer; Arn Anderson, who is aligned with The Nightmare Family; Taz, who heads his own eponymous faction; and Tully Blanchard, who serves as Shawn Spears’ manager.