One of the major highlights of WrestleMania 31 was the first (and possibly only) Fed match for stalwart WCW company-man Sting, one of the final wrestling superstars we never thought we’d see in a WWE ring. He lost to Triple H, and a 1990s-themed gang war broke out.
According to a story from The Attitude Era, released earlier this month, Sting’s WWE debut almost happened 12 WrestleManias earlier. The book states that Sting almost signed with WWE in 2003, and would’ve made his debut at WrestleMania XIX against Stone Cold Steve Austin. Here’s the blurb, with a hat tip to John Canton over at What Culture:
“I had been negotiating with Vince [McMahon], and one of the ideas was for me to debut at the end of WrestleMania XIX and confront ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. Negotiations fell apart and it never happened, but it makes you wonder, ‘What if?’ That was one of the times I was talking with Vince, and it would’ve been an incredible night that would’ve translated into some major, major rivalries and match-ups for years to come.”
As you might know, WrestleMania XIX featured Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock in what ended up being Austin’s final match. While Austin/Rock is one of WWE’s defining rivalries, Sting and Austin had a long history, as well: The two worked together often in WCW in the early ’90s, when Sting was a top babyface surfer and Austin had floppy blonde hair and called himself “Stunning.” The dynamic would’ve shifted tremendously at Mania, and it’s a shame that didn’t come to pass.
At least we got Terminators and drum bands and X-Pac, though, right?