Arn Anderson spent 17 years as a producer for WWE. Before that, he had a legendary in-ring career for Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW.
That experience didn’t just make him qualified for his current job with AEW. It means Double-A is eminently qualified to speak on the WWE/WCW war. And that’s exactly what he did when talking about WrestleMania 31 with Conrad Thompson on his ARN podcast.
2015’s Granddaddy of Them All featured a lot of things - Seth Rollins had a nice night in Santa Clara, we got our first glimpse of Ronda Rousey: Pro Wrestler, and Rusev got to drive a tank. In the midst of all that, we saw Sting’s long-awaiting WWE debut match, where he faced off with Triple H.
It ended up involving members of D-X arriving to help Haitch, while the nWo (nonsensically) arrived to help Sting. Because Monday Night War. That came later, however. It was right at the start of the match that Anderson says Vince McMahon’s intentions became clear:
“All it did was give the announcers - and I know this was fed to them - they just buried Sting. ‘Minnow in a big pond,’ you know. Just total condescending - ‘Guy’s out of his element,’ ‘This is WrestleMania now,’ ‘You’re just a small minnow in a huge lake.’ Whatever all the commentary was, it was meant to just basically beat you over the head with ‘We won the war. We’re WWE, we won the war. Here’s your big star, well, he ain’t a big star here tonight.’”
The finish was Trips hitting Sting in the face with a sledgehammer before pinning him. It’s something which could be seen as protecting the loser, but even that was watered down when Hunter and Sting shook hands after the bell. That maddened Arn as it reinforced the “none of this is real” approach WWE takes these days, but it could also be seen as a move that further reinforced the six-time WCW World Heavyweight champ was a non-factor in Vince’s company.
As the headline indicates, none of this is surprising. It’s still interesting to hear Thompson and Anderson pick the show apart, though (Conrad tells a story about talking to Kevin Nash backstage before the show where Big Sexy revealed the nWo run-in (or walk-in, as Nash called it) was booked on the fly... he didn’t even have his knee brace with him as he was only planning to walk on stage at Levi’s Stadium to wave with the rest of the Hall of Fame class of 2015).
Anyway, give ARN a listen here.