Despite being one of the most legendary wrestlers of all time, “The Icon” Sting only wrestled four different matches in the WWE – against five different Superstars.
The former WCW Champion refused to sign for Vince McMahon‘s company in 2001, after the WWF bought out WCW following a period of very poor ratings for the Southern-based company. He turned down the offers from the company to become a legend in TNA, joining in 2003 and spending a decade in Florida feuding with the likes of Kurt Angle, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe.
He became famous for his rivalry with the NWO during the Attitude Era in WCW. His matches with Hulk Hogan made both the biggest stars in wrestling, even if their biggest battle was one of the most controversial matches of all time and contributed to the downfall of the company completely.
After years of refusing to come and work for the WWE, he finally signed on the dotted line at the beginning of 2014. Joining the company in preparation for a huge match at Wrestlemania 31, Sting made his WWE debut at Survivor Series 2014. He helped Dolph Ziggler defeat The Authority‘s team in the classic five-on-five elimination tag match, attacking Triple H and Seth Rollins to give Team Cena the win and oust The Game from power once and for all (for a few weeks, it turned out).
After his debut, it was time to step into the ring. He only wrestled four times for the company, due to injuries sustained in his fourth and final match (which we will get to later in the article) forcing him to retire from wrestling. He would later be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame but make a full recovery from injuries when he debuted in AEW in 2020, forming a tag team with Darby Allin that continues into 2023, with The Icon now well into his 60s.
Now, let’s look back at Sting’s WWE matches and rank them to see which one was the best. Sting wrestled four matches in WWE in 2015, which were;
- Sting vs Triple H – Wrestlemania 31
- Sting vs Big Show – Monday Night Raw
- Sting & John Cena vs Big Show & Seth Rollins – Monday Night Raw
- Sting vs Seth Rollins – Night of Champions 2015 (WWE Championship)
Keep reading to find out where we rank Sting’s WWE Matches from worst to best.
#4. Sting vs Big Show – Monday Night Raw
Sting wrestled his first match on Monday Night Raw against… somebody he wrestled about 20 years before, on Monday nights on live TV. Former WCW colleague The Big Show, who back in the day wrestled as “The Giant” (also billed as the son of Andre The Giant) in WCW, and did battle many times with Sting during their time in the promotion together.
The match, which took place prior to Night of Champion 2015, was billed as a throwback match. It promoted both men as veterans of World Championship Wrestling, something which appealed very little to contemporary WWE fans. Anyone who cared about this match-up had already seen it many times, and would much rather have seen Sting go up against somebody he’d never wrestled before, like John Cena, Randy Orton or Dolph Ziggler.
The match on Raw against Big Show was a short one and actually made Sting look great. He dominated Big Show throughout, mainly with punches, chops and kicks. He took his opponent to the corner and punched him in the head for most of the short match, much to the delight of the crowd. He also hit his signature “Stinger Splash”, before taking his only bump of the bout (a DDT on Big Show). However, just as he looked set to win the bout, WWE Champion Seth Rollins ran in to attack Sting, giving the Icon the victory by disqualification in his debut match on WWE Monday Night Raw.
He proceeded to be beaten down by Rollins and Big Show before WWE legend John Cena ran in to make the save. He evened the score and helped the legend to fight back against the two heels, and set up his second ever Raw match as a tag team bout – taking place right after this match.
#3. Sting & John Cena vs Big Show & Seth Rollins – Monday Night Raw
After his DQ win over Big Show, Sting teamed with John Cena to take on the duo of Seth Rollins & Big Show. Rollins was Sting’s opponent for the following WWE Pay Per View that would see the Icon challenge for the WWE Championship for the first time in his career. It was made a tag team match to help make Sting look better, as the 55 year old would struggle to work two singles matches in one week, let alone of the same night.
The match followed a very typical formula. Cena was beaten down by the heels for the majority of the match, whilst Sting stayed on the side-lines and patiently waited for his chance to get tagged in and tear the house down. After what felt like an agonisingly long time, Cena eventually got the hot tag on The Icon, and the former WCW Champion tore the house down with an explosive attack on Seth Rollins and The Big Show.
Sting won the match for his team by forcing Seth Rollins to tap out to his Scorpion Death Lock (also known as the Sharpshooter). Rollins had attempted the Pedigree on Cena, but Sting reversed it into a Scorpion Death Drop before locking in the submission move, forcing his Night of Champions opponent to tap out. This gave him a real chance to actually win the WWE Championship, which at 55 would have made him the oldest WWE Champion of all time.
#2. Sting vs Seth Rollins – Night Of Champions 2015
The final match of Sting’s WWE career was also the first (and so far only) time that he challenged for the prestigious WWE Championship. In the main event of the show, the legendary figure of wrestling for 40 years had his first ever championship match in WWE history, and the stage was set to see him lift the gold.
Earlier that night, Seth Rollins had wrestled John Cena. Rollins was both WWE and United States Champion, but was forced to defend both in separate matches at the event. Having already lost the US title to Cena, a tired Rollins was then immediately forced to wrestle against Sting for the WWE Championship, in what would be one of his toughest challenges yet.
The match was a good one. Rollins bumped around all over the place for Sting, helping to cover the 55 year old legend’s physical shortcomings inside the ring. Sting had the upper hand from the start, but the impressive performance by Rollins soon helped turn the tide and make it an even more entertaining and fair match.
However, disaster would soon strike. A powerbomb into the corner injured the neck of Sting, who briefly lost mobility and was in visible pain for the rest of the match. He couldn’t stand up straight from the pain, hunching over when trying to execute moves like the Scorpion Death Lock, as fans awkwardly watched as their childhood hero looked close to quitting, but for real.
Seth Rollins managed to work around this horrible injury and rolled Sting up to retain his title. While Sting looked great in the match, the injury took away from the bout and made this match one you would not want to watch again. Due to this, we put it second on the list of Sting’s best WWE Matches, just behind his debut match for the company earlier that year. After this bout, he was forced to retire from wrestling and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, although he would come out of retirement to wrestle for AEW in 2020.
The match was also famous for Seth Rollins’ white attire, which is regarded as one of the best looking costumes in WWE history.
#1. Sting vs Triple H – Wrestlemania 31
While many different aspects of this match made very little sense (which we talked about extensively on Atletifo.com), the match between Sting and Triple H was, if anything, a spectacle. It embodied the very thing Wrestlemania was built upon – big stars showing up and appearing in various roles despite making very little sense.
Why was Mohammed Ali an outside official at Wrestlemania I? Who knows. Why did Mike Tyson turn on DX to help Steve Austin at Wrestlemania XV? Unexplained. But maybe the most confusing yet thoroughly entertaining was about why the NWO helped Sting at Wrestlemania 31.
The match was Sting’s first in the WWE. He had been courted by Vince McMahon back when WCW closed down in 2001, but the Icon held out after seeing how badly the company treated fellow alumni like Buff Bagwell and DDP. He opted against signed for the promotion, joining up with the WWA and later TNA, where he stayed until late 2013 – the latter of which he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
He signed for the company in early 2014, debuting at Survivor Series and setting up a huge Wrestlemania match with Triple H. While the feud had literally nothing to do with Sting’s former company, they made it to be a battle between WWE and WCW – 14 years after the war really ended.
Sting wrestled Triple H in his debut match at Wrestlemania 31 which, despite it’s shortcomings, is Sting’s best wrestling match of his WWE career. He entered to an Asian-inspired drum group leading him into the match, a special entrance never given before to a WWE superstar. He looked good in the ring as well, wrestling without a t-shirt (as he had done at the tail end of his TNA career) as many expected he may.
The match was made a no-DQ match right off the bat, with Triple H making use of his sledgehammer, although Sting evened the odds with his trusty bat. After getting the upper hand, the Stinger was interrupted by the entrance of D-Generation X. Triple H’s former stablemates Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac ran into the match, attacking the Icon and putting The Game in control of the bout.
Suddenly, the memorable sound of the NWO’s theme song blared from the speakers and the Hall of Fame trio of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall evened the odds. The New World Order evened the odds, despite the fact that Sting was famously the NWO’s biggest rival and the trio had nothing but disdain for the former WCW Champion. Nevertheless, seeing NWO vs DX battling, even briefly, inside a WWE ring was a memorable moment for fans from the last 20 years that they would never forget.
If you thought that was enough tomfoolery, Shawn Michaels made one last appearance to hit Sting with the superkick before Triple H pinned him for the victory and give Sting his first loss in WWE – on his debut bout of all days. Even though the actual booking of the match was nonsensical, the result ruined a great moment and the entire thing was utterly pointless (Triple H only won because WWE planned for him to wrestle The Rock next year), it was still a thoroughly entertaining and fun match – exactly what Wrestlemania needs. Nobody got hurt and it was exhilarating to watch, which for me makes it the best of Sting’s four matches he had in WWE/