Welcome to the next weekly installment in a look at the Tops and Flops in professional wrestling this week.
Top – Sting Makes Official Debut for WWE
Sting is one of the top two or three names that will instantly pop in your head the instant someone says the phrase “WCW.” The man was all over their television, their events, their merchandise, and even appeared in that David Arquette movie no one wants to remember. One might say he was the “franchise” of WCW.
Since WCW closed down, Sting went on to wrestle for nearly a decade in TNA, which is so well known to this day that I frequently have friends asking me what Sting has been doing since he retired. To the casual wrestling fan, the vast majority of the millions of viewers that tune into Raw each week, Sting retired after WCW to never be seen again.
The real backstage story behind Sting never coming to WWE after WCW closed down has been loaded with speculation with many rumors pointing to the Invasion angle’s poor handling souring Sting on the idea. That part would at least make sense, as many WCW stars failed to reach their former status within WWE that they once held in WCW. True or not, no one but the Stinger knows the real situation.
What we do know, per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, is that Sting has been in talks with WWE to come in for a long time (around a year) and it’s all come down to a few minor details in his contract. While WWE works with Sting on a more permanent deal, 2K Sports brokered a deal to make Sting a focal point of the new WWE 2K15 video game, set for release later in the year. Sting will be a pre-order bonus, a good incentive for those who are sure they want to buy the game in advance.
On this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw, the trailer (seen above) was revealed to the live and home audience, showcasing an orchestral version of Sting’s iconic theme music leading up to the big reveal of the former WCW star. Reports from the Richmond Coliseum suggest that the crowd was excited for Sting up until they realized it was just for the video game. You want your proof that today’s audience hasn’t forgotten Sting? There it is.
Now, should Sting be on TV wrestling matches every week, possibly souring the mystique of a WCW icon? No, but he can show up once in a while and remind us of how the Monday Night War felt and how exciting it was to be a part of. That should be Sting’s role moving forward and one I will be glad to see.
Flop – Ric Flair’s Pointless Raw Role
This past week on Monday Night Raw, Ric Flair was announced as appearing just before the show was to go on the air. While we did not know what role “the man” would be taking on, an appearance by Flair is fairly rare these days, so I was intrigued by what his role might turn out to be.
Flair came out in the bottom of the 10 PM hour, just before the announced main event of John Cena & Roman Reigns vs Kane, Randy Orton, & Seth Rollins. Flair looked to be in good shape, looking many years younger than the last time we had seen him a few months ago. A good night’s sleep can do wonders on anyone I guess.
Ric came into the ring and talked for just a few moments with Renee Young, asked who he endorsed in the upcoming WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Battleground. Flair endorsed all of the competitors one way or another but seemed to be more interested in flirting with Renee than doing anything else. Renee had to spend most of her time trying to keep Flair on track which did not seem to work all that well.
Flair eventually ended his interview, claiming that he believed John Cena would be winning the fatal four way match on Sunday. At this point, Roman Reigns made his way to the ring, acted like he was annoyed with Flair, and then the two just shook hands as Flair left.
This segment came off as totally useless to this Raw, Sunday’s match, or really anything else. Flair is a legend of the business, so to see him reduced to a role as pitchman for John Cena is not only a waste of Flair, but a waste of any rub Flair could possibly produce. When is WWE going to realize that you can’t put over John Cena any more than he already is? Flair should be putting over the newer talent on the rise, not the man who’s been on top, headlining events for more than 10 years.