One of the most shocking pro wrestling moments of 2020 occurred earlier this month when Sting debuted on Dynamite and signed a multi-year contract with AEW.
I certainly didn’t expect that Sting would be the big reveal for AEW’s “Winter is coming” tagline. And as the Young Bucks explained on David Penzer’s Sitting Ringside podcast, most of the wrestlers in the promotion also had no idea that Sting was going to be there.
Nick Jackson first mentioned that it’s really hard to keep secrets in pro wrestling from leaking, so it was great to see the whole thing play out off the grid. Here is the transcript, courtesy of Post Wrestling:
“Yeah, keeping secrets in wrestling as you know is almost impossible these days so, when you can keep one and make it exciting like that and it’s so worth it because man, people love it and you know what’s funny? There was a very limited amount of people that even knew about it. Probably what? Five to seven maybe, Matt? So we knew it was happening and you could feel — that show, we billed it as a big show so we knew it was gonna happen then but none of the boys knew. They just thought it was a big show. So when he walked backstage, every wrestler turned their head and went, ‘Oh my God’ and when you could pop the boys obviously, you’re doing something right.”
Matt Jackson then revealed that the Executive Vice Presidents (EVPs) and Tony Khan were essentially the only people who knew about what was going down with Sting’s debut on the Dec. 2 episode of Dynamite:
“We knew for what? A couple months, Nick? That he was doing it. It was Tony [Khan’s] idea and he wasn’t going to do it until he got the thumbs up from all the EVPs and we were in a room, I remember a couple months ago and he told us and immediately, we all literally gave the thumbs up. We were like, ‘Hell yeah, that sounds awesome’ and he was excited because Tony, he ultimately, he’s a fan. He’s probably the biggest wrestling fan I’ve ever met in my life. So him getting to work with a guy like Sting, someone who he grew up watching, I could just see his eyes just light up.”
So a handful of the top decision makers in AEW knew this was happening for months and kept it secret from the rest of the roster. As a fan, it was pretty cool to see the entire scene unfold live as it happened.
Do you think there is any potential downside in the EVPs and Khan keeping this kind of major news away from the rest of the AEW roster for roughly two months? Or is this how it has to be to keep surprise moments alive in pro wrestling today?