Ricky Steamboat was one big star who never turned heel. Others come to mind. But in that conversation, Steamboat is always in the forefront. Good thing, too. Going bad wouldn’t have worked. Steamboat was a babyface 24/7.
That was the intent, anyway. When Steamboat embodied “family values” and brought his wife and kid to the ring during his 1989 feud with Ric Flair, he/they got booed. That series of matches didn’t draw despite overwhelming quality.
Wrestling fans live vicariously. Given that choice, they would rather live vicariously through someone that’s limousine-ridin’ and jet-flyin’.
Sting is one big star who never went to WWE. Is that about to change? Will Steve Borden’s 29-year wrestling career now lead him to WrestleMania?
The rumors are hot and heavy. That’s happened before. But this time, they seem more than mere rumor. WWE and Sting are talking. WWE is confident.
There’s some value in being the one legit superstar that never went to WWE. Sting is a legit superstar. Clash of the Champions I. World champ when it meant something. One of Ric Flair’s best rivalries. “The Crow.” A WCW icon. Sting has lots of credibility. TNA stinks. But when I see Sting on TV, I pay attention.
But you can’t spend credibility at the grocery store. Sting’s biggest last payday in fake wrestling can be had in WWE. No place else. TNA bid Sting farewell on this week’s Impact. If TNA re-ups Sting, it will be at a much lesser rate. That’s TNA’s policy, and should be. Sting can’t tangibly help TNA. No one can.
If Sting goes to WWE, he’s not going there to be a star. He’s going there to get one huge pop and put somebody over. It won’t be long-term. Vince McMahon wants Sting just to prove he can get him. To prove that everybody has his price.
Sting is 54. He’s made his money. Sting doesn’t need to bleed wrestling for meager paydays. He won't work indies. Sting doesn’t move so good in the ring any more, though there’s no doubting his intensity and energy. The makeup helps. Like Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, Sting still looks like Sting.
If it’s up to me, I want Sting to stay away from WWE. Be the one guy that did.
If I’m Sting, though, I go to WWE. Wrestling is about money, period.
But it’s Sting’s call. His decision, period. He’s earned that, and a whole lot more. He’s earned our respect no matter what he does. I wasn’t the biggest fan, not for a while. But Sting grew on me. He’s a real icon and a good man. If Sting does walk that aisle at WrestleMania, I’ll be at home giving him a standing ovation.
It sure beats one minute longer in Dixieland.
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX