Pro wrestling fans were quaking in their boots when talk began to surface of Hulk Hogan's possible return to WWE. Nothing was official, mind you, but the timing -- as well as the backstage chaos at TNA Impact! -- was enough to suggest it could happen.
And who knows, it still might.
WWE is going to have a hard time finding a "name" to headline the "granddaddy of them all," now that it has already cashed in its Rock chips for a pair of John Cena feuds at WrestleMania 28 & 29. True, there are a handful of existing stars, but the organization is obsessed with "moving the needle."
We know that John Cena is going to be in the main event, because he's the biggest star in the company (for better or worse). The idea of watching him battle Hulkamania is something that even I can't champion, but that doesn't sound like it's panning out anyway, so we can come down from the ledge.
Besides, there is another match at WrestleMania 30 which is just as important.
I'm referring, or course, to "The Streak." The Undertaker is now 21-0 at the organization's annual pay-per-view (PPV) blockbuster, having successfully defended against CM Punk in New Jersey. It garners just as much attention as the main event and as such, requires a star who can balance the scales.
Sorry Ryback, it's not you (yet).
Arguably the most recognizable name in the modern pro wrestling era to never work for WWE is Steve Borden, better known as "Sting," who was one of the biggest stars of WCW throughout the nineties. He later hooked up with TNA in the early days of the upstart promotion and kept his distance from Vince McMahon.
In short, he didn't trust how McMahon and Co. would use him and was concerned about the legacy of the character he worked nearly 20 years to define. You can argue he's lost a bit of his luster as a part-time pillar for Dixie Carter, but at least he's never had to join the "Kiss My Ass Club" or anything degrading like that.
But things are different now.
There is no mass "Invasion" that left WWE Creative with a roster full of talent it didn't know how to use. And we've already seen over the past several months what happens when old stars get a second chance in the new-look WWE. Goldust has redefined his career and Rob Van Dam found a reason to love wrestling again.
Sting, however, doesn't need to borrow against his nostalgia equity for a hey-remember-me curtain call. Number one, I don't think he'd want it and number two, there hasn't been anything that spectacular from the Stinger in recent years to warrant such a return. There needs to be something sizable to refresh his fame, like a shot at The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30.
Think it's merely a fantasy? Think again.
The WWE brass "feel there is a decent chance they may end up being able to get Sting for WrestleMania next year," according to Bryan Alvarez of the F4W Newsletter (subscription required). And it's not like the interest has been completely one-sided.
Sting was sniffing around as recently as last July.
He's even named The Undertaker as the one guy he still wants to wrestle and admits he already came close to signing a WWE deal once before. At 54, he's no spring chicken, but then again, neither is the 48-year-old "Deadman." By comparison, Hogan is already 60.
And Dixie Carter seems to have resigned herself to the fact that Sting is competing on borrowed time.
Borden's contract is up in January and if he was going to make a WWE debut, it would probably have to be this year. The Undertaker's days are numbered and there just comes a point when you have to bow out gracefully (unlike some people). Part of what makes it so hard to remain optimistic is the fact that we've had this conversation several times in the past and nothing has ever panned out.
Still, the idea of Sting rappelling from the rafters to eliminate The Undertaker from the Royal Rumble is enough to keep me cautiously optimistic. Actually, screw optimism, I'm going all in.
Who will join me?