When WWE announced Sting vs Triple H, fans let out a tepid cheer. They were excited, sure it was a big match. And they wanted to see Sting finally in WWE. I guess there were other options for “The Icon” to face, but against a legend like Triple H he could have a great match that got all time he needed.
So, fans were disappointed that another opponent (we’ll get into that match later) wasn’t chosen, but that was okay. Sting vs Triple H at Wrestlemania was a massive match, and once Sting beat Triple H it would solidify him as a top wrestler to the younger fans who weren’t around for WCW, or had never heard of TNA.
If you know anything about the Sting vs Triple H Wrestlemania match, you will know one thing. It was the most ridiculous, unnecessary and fun match in WWE history. It was overbooked as a match can be, made no logical sense and put a smile on everyone’s face that saw it.
Sting vs Triple H at Wrestlemania 31 was by far the stupidest booking decision they’ve made. And not just because of what they did book, but because of what they didn’t book.
Sting vs Triple H
Sting was signed to WWE in early 2014, but they held off his debut until later that year. He made his long awaited first WWE appearance at Survivor Series 2014, attacking Triple H and helping Dolph Ziggler pin Seth Rollins and end the Authority’s reign over WWE.
The Authority were eventually reinstated, and Sting was scheduled for a match with Triple H at Wrestlemania. The match was interesting in a number of ways, and was one of the best matches on the card whilst making literally no sense.
The match had no stakes – Sting didn’t take away Triple H’s power or anything if he won. It was more of a grudge match, but Sting didn’t really have a grudge against Triple H – they hadn’t interacted on TV ever.
Despite Sting stating in a promo that the match “isn’t about WCW”, WWE made it entirely about WCW. It was billed as WWE vs WCW, the last stand of WCW, WCW’s great hero against “the guy who used to wrestle The Rock and Steve Austin”. It was frankly pathetic and insecure from Vince McMahon, who had to make it clear it was him that killed WCW in 2001. (It wasn’t, you can read what happened in Death of WCW book.)
When a legend comes into your company for the first time, with incredible hype behind and literally decades of anticipation, what you don’t do is have him lose his first match back.
That is, unless you’re WWE and you’re booking Sting vs Triple H. Sting lost the match to Triple H, in the first of his four WWE matches. Seeing Triple H covering for the win after waiting nearly 15 years for him to finally set foot in a WWE ring was as nonsensical as it was pointless.
Fans had flocked to see Sting for the first time in years. Most had no idea he had been wrestling the whole time in TNA, and many fans thought he had simply disappeared once WCW folded.
Sting was famously the one wrestler who never signed for WWE after WCW ended. He was worried about the treatment fellow WCW alumni’s like Booker T and DDP suffered, which made his sceptical of joining the company.
However, by 2014 he had accepted Vince’s genuine offer and thought he would be treated better. How wrong he was.
WWE vs WCW
Speaking of nonsensical, WWE decided to really hammer home the WWE vs WCW angle by introducing two groups of old men to the match.
While Sting vs Triple H was a huge draw itself, it featured some incredible surprise returns which in hindsight made less-than-zero sense. First, Sting was about to win before “Break It Down” blared through the arena speakers. Triple H’s former team mates in D-Generation X ran down to the ring, trying and failing to fight off Sting.
Due to the distraction, Triple H gets on top of the match. He looks like he’s about to get the win, until that famous guitar riff hits and the trio of Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash slowly make their way to the ring. They brawled with Billy Gunn, Road Dogg and X-Pac, drawing the lines of WCW vs WWE.
Which made no sense. The NWO were famously anti-WCW. That was literally the entire point of their gimmick. While it was an incredible moment, finally seeing NWO vs DX, they had no place interfering in Sting vs Triple H.
I do have to reiterate though, it was amazing. Shawn Michaels also interfered toward the end, helping Triple H steal the win from Sting.
There Was A Reason Why Triple H Beat Sting
Triple H beating Sting made literally no sense in the story, but if you listen to WWE management it actually does make some sense. Any fan could see Sting should have won – it was his first WWE match and he was the overwhelming babyface in a match that Triple H, semi retired and in charge of the company, could afford to lose.
However, if you look into it, it’s not as simple as it seems. It has been said that Sting was considering retiring after that match. Already in his mid 50s, the match was set to be his swansong, wrestling for Vince McMahon for one match before calling it a day. Obvious that wasn’t the case and he has wrestled into 2023, 8 years later, but at the time it made no sense to have him win in his last bout.
The other issue is that Triple H could not afford to lose. According to Road Dogg per Busted Open Radio, Triple H was being built up for a huge match at Wrestlemania the following year, against long-time rival The Rock. The bout had been teased during a promo on the 15th anniversary of Smackdown, hinting a Wrestlemania match between the two.
Once again, we know this didn’t happen but you can see the logic. Having him win to build up a match against a legendary wrestler like the Rock made perfect sense and goes a long way to explaining why Triple H beat Sting.
Triple H beat Sting because Sting was considering retiring after the match, and WWE needed to build up Triple H for a big match against The Rock the following year.
Sting vs Undertaker
The elephant in the room here is the fact that Sting and The Undertaker wrestled on the same Wrestlemania pay per view. They wrestled minutes apart, and yet WWE never sought to capitalise on this and book the match both Sting and every single wrestling fan desperately wanted.
You can read exactly why Sting vs Undertaker never happened in WWE in our article down below.
Not booking this dream match is criminal. Instead we got Sting vs Triple H and Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt. Both great ideas for matches, but when you have the chance to book a real all-time dream match, you take it.
By all accounts, neither The Undertaker nor Vince McMahon were keen on a match between the two icons. I’m not sure why, but not even have the two men meet at any point on WWE TV is a ridiculous and frankly stupid move. A staredown between the two would be incredible, without either men saying a word.
Here’s hoping for Sting vs “Mean” Mark Callous in AEW.
What do you think about WWE’s attempt to do Sting vs Triple H? Did the match make less sense than you remember, or was the NWO vs DX battle too cool to even care? Let us know in the comments or click next article to keep reading.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.