They did it. They really did it. All Elite Wrestling built a buzz on the back of a rumor, leaked out just enough information to get people really jazzed about it but also leave (just a tiny bit of) room for other possibilities, and have the whole thing pay off in a way that was near universally satisfactory when CM Punk walked down the ramp at the United Center.
Even a jaded cynic like me can see that CM Punk’s return to wrestling was just about as perfectly executed as such a thing can be. But that’s all in the past now. Now we know the answer to “what’s going to happen” and wrestling fans have moved on to “what’s going to happen next?” There are more rumors, more hints, and more conspiracies, but there’s one gift that AEW can give wrestling fans that nobody’s talking about. It’s a gift that AEW would have to do very little work to give, because it’s a gift that they already have, and it involves the man against whom CM Punk’s return match is.
More Professional Wrestling
- When Kevin Sullivan Separated Dusty Rhodes From Virgil Runnels
- What Kind of Cologne Does Sting Wear?
- CM Punk Is Back. I Am Happy.
No, I’m not talking about Darby Allin. I’m talking about the other guy. I’m talking about another wrestler with a history deeply tied to the very building to which Punk made his return. I’m talking about everyone’s favorite Sad Rafter Clown; The Man Called Sting. “But Sting is already a part of it,” I can hear you say, and you’re right. But what I want–what professional wrestling needs—is the return of the bleach-blonde neon facepainted “surfer” Sting.
I know Sting’s facing the effects of age and gravity. We all are. But I firmly believe he’s got one more “classic Sting” run left in him. Besides, nostalgia doesn’t have to be good to work, it just has to be recognizable. Imagine a packed arena—maybe somewhere in North Carolina or Georgia—filled with fans who know nothing other than the fact that they’re in for a surprise.
The spotlights whip around and focus heavenward, on a catwalk where Darby Allin stands, alone. Just as the fans begin to wonder whether Sting has forsaken Darby, Allin gestures to the entrance ramp just as pyro explodes and the opening chords of the WCW Classic “Man Called Sting” ring out. If AEW can license “Cult of Personality,” they should have no trouble securing the rights to this, but if they do, well, there’s always “Seek and Destroy.”
Remember the fan reactions at Punk’s return? I’m not here to say the return of “surfer” Sting would be as earth-shattering, but I can guarantee there are thousands of wrestling fans in their 40s and 50s who would explode in the face of this spectacle. Remember that shot of the person in the AEW crowd crying as CM Punk walked to the ring? I would weep enough tears to fill an ocean the first time Sting cupped his hands to his mouth and gave a resounding “wooo!” to all of his Little Stingers. Couple this with Tony Schiavone’s voice on commentary, and I’d be an emotional wreck for weeks.
Not only would this tap a deep vein of nostalgia, Sting deserves it. His victory lap should involve being able to play with his character a little bit. I’d even be okay with a (brief) return of “Joker” Sting if it meant we got Venice Beach Sting one more time. Come on AEW, give the fans (me) what they (I) want. Let’s let “Classic” Sting catch one more wave.