With one cryptic tweet, the man known as Sting set the Internet ablaze with speculation.
By posting the date of tonight’s Monday Night Raw, Sting brought himself back to the forefront of WWE fan consciousness. The WCW mainstay is the biggest player from The Monday Night Wars to resist joining the WWE, favoring the creative control afforded to him by the indies and TNA Impact.
This January, however, the game changed. Written off Impact at the beginning of the year, Sting agreed to (but still hasn’t officially signed) a highly lucrative deal with WWE. The deal would be a merchandizing bonanza for WWE, which has struggled financially since the launch of the WWE Network. After failing to strike the distribution deal they wanted with NBC Universal, Vince McMahon lost $750 million of his net worth in two months, including $350 million in one day according to Forbes. A formalized deal with Sting would certainly help Vinny Mac move back to the billionaire’s club.
In April, Sting appeared in WWE’s documentary, Warrior: The Ultimate Legend. At the end of May, Sting was finally added to the WWE alumni page. So by reading the tealeaves, we can see a pattern. It’s not a matter of if, but when, Sting will reappear. Tonight should be the night.
In advance of Summerslam, WWE traditionally teases the latest installment of their videogame franchise. In recent years, especially since 2k took over as the publisher, they have featured a signature legend in pre-orders. Mike Tyson appeared and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Brock Lesnar was released and made his return at the post-Wrestlemania Monday Night Raw. Last year, The Ultimate Warrior was the featured legend and ended his acrimonious relationship with McMahon and returned to the fold. Additionally, the rehabilitated Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Scott Hall, aka Razor Ramon, appeared in 2K and found their way to the Hall of Fame. John Cena may be the cover boy, which certainly will help sales, but Sting would pull in the disillusioned “smark” fanbase that zoned out after CM Punk left and Daniel Bryan was sidelined.
While wrestling fans can still dream of a one-off match between The Undertaker and Sting that would ultimately retire the pair at Wrestlemania 31, tonight they will probably get their first true glimpse of Steve Borden under the WWE banner. Last month, a casting call for a promo called “Orchestra” featuring musicians and a String body double was released. Notably, the call was put out by a company working with WWE licenses (read 2K). “Orchestra” should be what Sting was teasing, which means The Icon will be heading to consoles this October.