Earlier this year, many wrestling fans were buzzing over Sting’s free agent status and the potential for him to show up in All Elite Wrestling. Those wishes were realized when The Icon made his shocking debut for AEW on last night’s (Dec. 2) episode of Dynamite. Sting slowly walked to the ring, the heels ran away, and he stared down all of the babyfaces before letting out his signature call to the fans in attendance. The commentators made a huge deal out of this being Sting’s return to TNT for the first time since 2001.
For some fans, this was a fantastic piece of nostalgia. Others are worried that AEW is falling into the WWE trap of bringing in older stars on a part-time schedule to take the spotlight away from the younger talent on the roster.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer chimed in on what you can expect to see from Sting in AEW. It sounds like the Stinger will have a regular presence on television going forward.
“They timed this for Christmas, right before Christmas. They’re churning out that Sting merchandise for Christmas. But he has signed a multi-year contract. He is going to be a regular on the television. It’s not like WWE where he’d show up once every year or whatever...They wanted the idea of the big star from the old generation TNT being back as a regular. Obviously whatever physical stuff he does they’re going to have to do very safely. There will be physical stuff, but I don’t think he’ll be taking any bumps or anything like that. But he’s in, he’s going to be a character in some form.”
Meltzer further explained that the idea is to bring back lapsed fans, in an attempt to grow the AEW audience:
“It can work. He’s a star. I mean, I know they want to bring back lapsed fans. The problem is that lapsed fans don’t stay, usually. But the idea is you bring back the lapsed fans and then they see the rest of the guys. There is logic to it, for sure...The mistake that TNA always made is that they would bring in those guys and they would put them over all of the younger guys. And Sting ain’t gonna be beating younger guys left and right, for sure...you can’t put him in the ring and do much. It’s not just 62 [years old], it’s 62 with spinal stenosis.”
Do you think AEW can find a way to use Sting to bring back some of these lapsed fans? Or will the likelihood that he won’t be doing much physical work in the ring at this stage of his career make it difficult to accomplish that goal?
Most importantly of all, will you be buying any of that sweet Sting merch during the holiday season?