The wrestling industry was met with significant news when Sting, one of its most celebrated figures and a WWE Hall of Famer, declared his intention to retire. This announcement, made during the October 18 edition of AEW Dynamite, set the stage for his final bow at the Revolution pay-per-view in 2024. Such a revelation from a stalwart of the industry naturally invites reflections on his expansive career, as well as questions regarding his future course.
Sting’s decision to retire has raised a series of queries within the wrestling fraternity. What does a legendary figure, who has been an integral part of the sport for decades, do upon hanging up the boots? The subject was broached during an episode of “The Wrestling Time Machine,” hosted by Mac Davis. WWE’s Teddy Long shared his perspective, stating, “I think Sting’s going to take him some time off and enjoy his life. I’m not saying he won’t come back, but I mean just get away for a little bit man, relax and get your head clear and get some of them aches and pains off of you, you know, and get yourself ready to come back.“
The essence of Long’s remarks emphasizes the well-earned respite that might beckon Sting after years of physical exertion. Wrestling, being a demanding sport, necessitates its athletes to be at their peak physical condition. And for someone of Sting’s stature, the accumulated wear and tear over the years is significant.
Beyond the physical aspect, there’s the matter of personal commitments and relationships. Bill Apter, a seasoned wrestling veteran, provided insights into Sting’s familial ties. Apter pointed out, “Remember he has three kids, three grown children too, so it’s time to get some time with the family because he’s been on the road most of his life, and most of their lives.” Given Sting’s long-standing commitment to his profession, his impending retirement might offer a well-deserved opportunity to rekindle and reinforce family bonds.
In the midst of these discussions around Sting’s retirement, AEW President Tony Khan added an element of surprise. During the October 25 episode of Dynamite, Khan hinted at a unique gift for Sting, leading to speculation. The eventual revelation that the gift was The Nature Boy Ric Flair, a long-time rival of Sting, was met with widespread intrigue. Flair’s entrance into AEW and his wish, as he stated, “to be by Sting’s side until Revolution so he can enjoy the ride with him,” added an intricate layer to Sting’s retirement narrative.
The interplay between Sting and Flair is of particular note. Flair, having retired in July 2022, understands the intricate emotions tied to such a decision. Furthermore, Sting’s decision to retire had its share of complexities. He revealed in an interview with Sports Illustrated, “I wanted to finish earlier, maybe in December. But now that Ric is here with me, I want to go longer, all the way to Revolution. All I can say for now is I want people to walk away and say, ‘Wow, what an ending. I’ll be three weeks away from turning 65 at that point. I want to leave people with a memory that will mean something.”
Reflecting on Sting’s trajectory, especially his AEW stint, offers valuable insights. The fact that his signing with AEW came after a medical setback due to spinal stenosis in WWE, and his successful collaboration with Darby Allin, are testaments to his resilience and adaptability. Additionally, his discreet exit from WWE, which became apparent after Mattel’s action figure cancellation, and his subsequent triumphs in AEW, showcase his enduring relevance in the industry.
As the industry prepares for Sting’s retirement, all stakeholders, from promoters to fans, await how AEW plans to navigate this iconic journey. With Tony Khan’s vision guiding the ship, there’s anticipation that Sting’s concluding chapters in pro wrestling will be memorable, encapsulating the legacy of a true legend.