survivor series

First, WCW… Now, Sting saves WWE from the Authority

What an ending, the rumors were true (finally). Sting, the Franchise – the Icon, officially made his WWE debut last night at Survivor Series. And, for as awesome a moment it was – I couldn’t speak during or for about 5 minutes after Survivor Series went off the air.

It was the perfect setting – the perfect time, Triple H and the Authority running roughshod over the main event and seemingly nobody in sight to stop the inevitable. At 10:50 PM I tweeted out “I hear voices in my head…” followed by the punch “they’re telling me the WWE trolled us, again” in regards to a Sting debut. It was also a slight bit of anticipation of Randy Orton returning in his hometown to save Team Cena.

So as the inevitable played out and Triple H pedigreed Dolph Ziggler through the mat, it was now or never for a regime change. Triple H proceeded to roll Seth Rollins on top of Ziggler and called for a ref to come out and count the 1-2-3. Cue Scott Armstrong.

Sliding under the bottom rope, Armstrong got in to position as Triple H rolled up he sleeves.

1…

And then I noticed something … The most awkward coil up of an officials arm. It was almost as if Armstrong’s arm was being held back by gravity. “OH SHIT!” I exclaimed… And then the sound of a lightning strike with thunder and a crow’s cry.

I jumped out of my chair and a half, clutching my phone as I proceeded to tweet… “#StingWatch ahahahahhdjfkfjfjrffndksldkfkfjdjdj wooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!”

THE MOMENT I HAD WAITED FOR WAS NOW. Realizing it, the anticipation I had for Sting for years, especially this Survivor Series Sunday, my wife said “just enjoy it” – knowing I would likely be live tweeting it. But even with her thoughts, I wouldn’t have tweeted… I couldn’t tweet. I was frozen. I was in awe. I was reliving my youth – from the 1990 Great American Bash, Super Brawl 1991, Starrcade 1992, Beach Blast 1992, Starrcade 1997… All the matches with Ric Flair, Vader, Ric Rude, Muta, Cactus Jack, and even Hulk Hogan, ran through my mind… AND THEN –

I blinked, and then – he appeared.

For starters, the horror-movie music was a great touch. Part of me wanted his old “Turbo Charged” theme to blast the arena and out would come sting with bleach-blonde hair, but the other part of me said ‘this is right.’

As the cameras got up in his face, followed by a great zoom out – I then began to hear Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL commentate this moment. This was mistake number one, and it was a big one.

Aside from Jim Ross, there should have been no one speaking as Sting made his way to the ring. This should have been a moment to listen to the music, the crowd reaction, and the visual excellence which the production of the moment was. All I would have liked to have seen added would have been smoke or fog rising as he walked through to the ring.

Back to the trio of announcers.

Cole: “Oh my God.”
Lawler: “What?”
Cole: “It’s Sting!”
Lawler: “What!?”
Cole: “Stinger’s here!”

And then, ruining the moment, JBL proceeds to give us a Wikipedia rundown of Sting’s accomplishments.

JBL: “A six-time WCW champion. The two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion. The Icon, the Franchise.”

Lawler: “But what the hell is he doing here?”
Cole: “The man who’s never stepped foot inside WWE’s arena before.”
JBL: “Well what a hell of an impact he’s made the first time he did. Hoah, God.”
Cole: “But why is Stinger here?”
JBL: “It’s none of his damn business I’ll tell ya.”
Cole: “This is incredible.”

As I watched back more than 2 dozen times already I am more and more troubled by the announcers involvement in the entrance and spectacle of Sting’s debut. Not so much Cole and Lawler (since King couldn’t get a word in), more so JBL.

This was supposed to be a ‘surprise’ moment. A ‘saving’ moment for the WWE against the Authority. Cole set it all up perfectly. He gave us the WOW, Lawler gave us the SHOCK, and then JBL gives us… a resume! As great a wrestler and as storied a history Sting has had, why would it be natural for JBL to tell us his career accomplishments? Then, the next time JBL speaks he says “Well what a hell of an impact he’s made the first time he did.” He hadn’t yet made any impact. He made an appearance. And then after Cole asked why Stinger was here (which I am totally thankful for every time he is referred to as STINGER, since it is his proper character name) JBL bloats out “It’s none of his damn business I’ll tell ya.”

Did JBL know what Sting was doing? Did he know his intentions? How could he speak to Sting’s business when the man literally just appeared less than thirty-seconds prior? Had JBL stayed silent or been muted the commentary would have been.

Cole: “Oh my God.”
Lawler: “What?”
Cole: “It’s Sting!”
Lawler: “What!?”
Cole: “Stinger’s here!”
Lawler: “But what the hell is he doing here?”
Cole: “The man who’s never stepped foot inside WWE’s arena before. But why is Stinger here? This is incredible!”

I am sorry, but JBL took away from the moment for me. But moving on…

Sting approaches the ring and Armstrong comes out to confront him for some reason, not sure why. Immediately, any doubt as to what Sting’s intentions were were erased. If Triple H sent Armstrong to encounter Sting, then Triple H knew he was the intended target.

Sting gets in the ring. Hunter looks unsure of the situation, yet stern in staring in Sting’s eyes. NEITHER BLINKED as the crowd chanted “Holy Shit!” I didn’t chant, I was still speechless, taking in the moment. Everything was surreal. Trench coat, face paint, black and white ring gear – everything was how I remembered it… but then, I blinked. And I blinked again. And again.

This was the first shadow of doubt I ever had with Sting’s WWE debut. My first question – “Is this going to hurt his legacy?” “Does this feel right?” And I asked myself this because it was the first time I saw Sting as a 55 year-old man, in the ring. This WASN’T the Stinger from Starrcade 1997. There was no flowing black curly hair, no youthful face under the paint. Every part of the gimmick was great, but the man playing the part wasn’t who I remembered.

Sure, we all see our hair recede at some point, but I couldn’t get away from this fact with Steve Borden, the man. As I began to pry the doubt away from my mind, Sting then rotated his back to the hard camera only to reveal a very thinning scalp and hair line on top.

The doubt returned… “Is this best for Sting? Is it worth it?”

As the stare down proceeded with NO SOUND from the announce team, I began envisioning the next action sequence… And it began with Triple H clearly questioning “WHAT” Sting was doing, not kindly to say the least (I am sure you can read lips). After a brief acknowledgement from Sting, Triple H pulled back looking to unload on Sting, who ducked the punch – gave a fierce kick to the gut and a seemingly atomic Scorpion Death Drop!

As Sting shot up, he adjusted his coat to the right side on his left knee – got up and rolled Ziggler on top of Rollins. He proceeded to walk past a downed Triple H, through the ropes, and out of the ring as the ref magically appears after being out for 10 minutes to make the 1-2-3 count signifying the end of the Authority!

So, how do I truly feel? How did I truly react?

I felt an adrenaline rush. I felt weightless as I stood in front of my TV, neglect to any of my surroundings. It wasn’t too much, and it wasn’t too little – as far as the spot, it was just right (aside from JBL). Sting didn’t speak words, rather actions. It was the culmination of what Vince said would be a historic Survivor Series at the beginning of the night.

For as happy as I am that Sting has stepped foot in a WWE ring, I am thrown a bit, and only a bit in my thoughts by the fact that it is a 55 year-old version of the man. A month shy of 17 years ago at Starrcade 1997 is the ‘Crow’ Sting I want to remember. I am sure these thoughts of doubt will pass the more I see Sting’s WWE run play out, but I never thought I would DOUBT this moment. And, for a few seconds I did and, might still be.

So where do we go from here? Does Vince kick off Raw tonight and introduce a new authority figure(s)? Does he bring out Sting? Does he reference Sting? Does Sting start the show? Does Cena start the show? Do we see Triple H and Stephanie at all?

The most important question – Does this lead to Sting vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania 31? For all the talk about Sting vs. Undertaker – and even Triple H vs. The Rock, is this the match-up we will see in 4 months? If so, I am fine with it – ONLY if Sting wins.

I think this is truly the best option for Sting. He and the Undertaker wouldn’t be as athletic as Sting and Triple H. Sting and Bray Wyatt wouldn’t make sense from a historical standpoint. But the power of Vince McMahon on two fronts – overseeing HIS company and FINALLY signing Sting, makes this match-up much more enticing. I think Triple H can pick Sting up on the big stage and, Sting himself will seize the moment.

I have so many more thoughts on last night and I will join @JustinLaBar on Wrestling Reality – heard of SportsTalk TribLive Radio tomorrow at 2:00PM – SportsTalk.TribLive.Com

THE ONLY THING FOR SURE ABOUT STING, IS NOTHIN’S FOR SURE….

IT’S SHOWTIME FOLKS!

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