Jim Ross has discussed the possibility of Sting joining WWE for WrestleMania 27, which was held in World Championship Wrestling’s home city of Atlanta in 2011.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, the WWE Hall Of Famer devoted a show to WrestleMania 27. During the conversation with co-host Conrad Thompson, Ross was asked if Sting coming to WWE at the time was a viable option.
JR wasn’t hopeful, as he detailed:
“I think it was wishful thinking. Sting was not a WWE original, his legacy and his fame were created elsewhere. I think that the thing that really slowed that progress down was Sting’s run in TNA. I don’t think there was many issues regarding Atlanta and WCW. But I do think it was a situation where he had that long run in TNA which I think, maybe in McMahon’s eyes lowered his profile. There was no serious conversation that I was a part of but again in that era, I was a little disconnected. I wasn’t involved in all that day-to-day horsesh*t. It’d drive you crazy.”
Ross then discussed the ease in which Sting could have been brought in as WrestleMania emanated from a city that was so familiar with WCW’s ‘Icon’:
“It’d have been great, can you imagine the pop he would have got in Atlanta? And you send him out and get him a win. You don’t overthink it. How hard is it to figure out what to do? You book him with a good heel that’ll take care of him physically. Won’t abuse him, won’t take any unnecessary chances, and have a good, solid match. […] I think the match would have been great, the ovation would have been great. But you need to get him over – win, in other words – and he’s gotta beat one of your guys and I don’t think that was gonna flush. It didn’t flush for a long time.”
“Then when they brought Sting in it was kinda like an afterthought. ‘Ok, we’re gonna book him but we’re not gonna book him great. We’re not gonna make him look like the major star that he is and magnify his merchandise sales and all those things because that’s gonna take some creativeness and to be more objective.’ The only guy that’s ever been developed outside WWE that got any kind of half-ass break is Goldberg.”
Jim Ross then elaborated on his thoughts on TNA. Sting competed in that company for eleven years between 2003 and 2014.
“TNA, no matter how bad or good they did. The better they did the more they were perceived as a quasi-structured indy. They never got the respect they probably deserved quite frankly. No one wanted to admit they were a viable contender for their share of the marketplace. That their productivity would adversely affect the growth of WWE. I believe that the more you can promote all companies it enhances the overall health of pro wrestling. It’s not like we’re the most popular entity in the world – we’re not the NFL.”
The current AEW announcer then finished his thoughts by saying he thinks Sting might have sacrificed some money for that special WrestleMania moment at that stage of his career:
“I’m sure [Sting] got paid well. Our business is unique, it’s more about just the payday. I know I say it’s not just about the money, it’s all about the money and that’s largely true. But there’s an emotional attachment that we in the business have developed. […] At Sting’s position, I’m thinking, he probably would have traded a little bit of the money for the moment at that stage of his career. Some of the money, I’m not saying come and do it for free of charge but he might have been willing to compromise on the cash to enjoy more the creative at that stage of his life.”
Sting made his All Elite Wrestling debut in December 2020. He and Darby Allin then defeated Brian Cage and Ricky Starks in a street fight at the Revolution pay-per-view in February.
Jim Ross also discussed his role at WrestleMania 27. ‘Good Ol’ JR’ explained why it was the ‘most unwelcome’ he had ever felt in WWE.