Will Sting win the WWE title?
This Sunday at the Night of Champions pay-per-view, Seth Rollins will defend the WWE championship against Sting and it creates a very intriguing scenario, which will help boost subscriptions for the network, as another free month is offered to get as many fans to sign up as possible. The obvious question is, will Sting win the title to make history? The concern, especially for long time fans is, will this be another shot at WCW and Sting goes 0-2 in his WWE run, suggesting that WCW’s franchise just isn’t on the WWE level?
In hindsight, it’s somewhat understandable that the WWE brass and performers weren’t exactly thrilled or enthusiastic about bringing several WCW stars, many of whom were a part of the effort to put them out of business, onto the WWE scene in 2001. Even though many of WCW’s top stars had guaranteed contracts from the Turner company and were going to stay home to collect them, it’s almost unanimously thought that the WWE could have done more with the invasion angle. Essentially, WCW was beaten into powder and made to look completely inferior, and if a former WCW star had any major success, it was after they were given a WWE created gimmick, most notably when Booker T was repackaged as King Booker during his main event run in 2006. Regardless of the somewhat understandable resentment of WCW after the Monday Night Wars, the general consensus is that it was the wrong decision to minimize many performers that could’ve had a better run in the WWE, but weren’t given a chance to establish themselves on WWE TV.
Mike Awesome is a prime example of a competitor that WWE could have pushed and developed into a well-rounded talent with a fresh start after WCW gave him a goofy gimmick that halted the momentum he had as a monster in ECW. Reportedly, a time slot for WCW to remain its own product under WWE ownership, but after the train wreck of Buff Bagwell vs. Booker T on Raw, the spot was used for the “WWF Excess” show, which the WWE probably still doesn’t know exactly what it was supposed to be. Hypothetically, if WCW was given its own show until the main event stars were signed, it could’ve provided the platform for an invasion angle that was used to push the “super bowl of wrestling” angle that many fans were hoping to see after WCW was purchased, but as mentioned, WCW was squashed within a few months.
There’s also a WWE spin on most of the documentaries released, including the Monday Night War series that was aired on the WWE Network and again, it downplayed most of WCW’s success. The WWE narrative is that WCW was successful because the company “raided” stars that WWE created, but if you take a more objective look at it, there’s more to it than former WCW president, Eric Bischoff using Ted Turner’s check book to buy WWE stars. Hulk Hogan was the initial major Turner acquisition, but after the steroid scandal of the early 1990s, did Hogan really have a place in the WWE? Hulk got a fresh run in WCW and while his political power was one of the many reasons the promotion closed, it allowed him a heel run that wouldn’t have worked in the WWE in 1996. Randy Savage was similar in that he didn’t really have a place in the WWE in the early 90s and Vince McMahon actually wanted Savage retire from the ring, instead working as just a commentator. While Savage wasn’t exactly in the prime of his career, he had another run in the Turner organization and proved he was still a solid in ring performer.
It’s well documented that the wrestling business was in a slump after the steroid scandal and one of the ways that Vince rebuilt the image of the company was to showcase a new generation of stars, including Bret Hart and Shawn Micheals so did WCW really raid the WWE roster or did the events of the 90s allow Eric Bischoff to sign free agents? Even Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, who were top WWE stars at the time they left for WCW, were in somewhat cartoonish angles during their original WWE run. The Outsiders were more successful than Diesel and Razor Ramon would have been if they remained on the WWE roster, specifically because the NWO gave wrestling a boost. Another example of the WWE spin is that Bischoff took the luchadors from ECW, but international talent was booked in WCW prior to ECW’s existence and WCW provided more of a platform for the lucha libre style. Granted, WCW didn’t use the luchadors to their full potential, but that’s one of the well-known reasons, the promotion couldn’t compete on a long-term basis.
The bottom line is, WCW didn’t win the ratings war for a year and half because it raided other companies. They won the ratings war because they had a better show and the competition generated one of the boom periods of the wrestling industry.
Don’t get me wrong, the Turner company made many mistakes and that’s why it shut down, but the ridiculous mistakes that led to the demise of WCW could be seen without the WWE spin. Ted Turner owned the organization for twelve years and it was profitable for about two years so in the big picture, WCW had success and didn’t know how to build on it. Goldberg was the only major star that was a homegrown WCW talent and despite an entire roster of young talent that could’ve been used to build the company, the politics of the company kept the aging talent in the main event scene. Once the WCW product became stale, the audience changed the channel and the WWE took the lead. Again, anyone that watches some of the Vince Russo booking of WCW knows that the product was inferior to the competition without the WWE trying to completely bury the entire organization. It should be noted that despite the goofy booking, there was a lot of solid talent on the WCW roster before the promotion folded so it doesn’t make sense to bury the entire company. The point being, the WWE was a better company from a talent, business, and production aspect, but burying WCW could indirectly limit the revenue the brand could generate for DVDs etc.
That is what creates the question about the chance that Sting wins the title at the pay-per-view and if he doesn’t, what’s the point of his WWE run? He did the job at Wrestlemania and if he loses again, what did he really accomplish in the WWE? I think Sting should win the title because it would be a rare opportunity for wrestling history and it’s one of the few things he hasn’t done in his career. That being said, if Sting wins the title it should be a short run because of his age and he probably didn’t sign to work many matches. Since his age, some might suggest that it wouldn’t make sense for Sting to defeat the younger champion because Seth Rollins is at the prime of his career, but it’s pro wrestling and if it’s done right, it could work. Sting could win the title and Sheamus cashes in the money in the bank or it could build to a rematch with Rollins, which could get more mileage for the title run. Either way, it should be interesting to see what happens because the result of the title match will be another jab at WCW or there will be wrestling history.
photo credit – WWE
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