Last night, I met dear friends for pizza and beer. Afterwards we headed to Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indy for what we hoped would be an unforgettable night. Instead, what we got was an unmemorable night that might have crushed our hearts if not for the absurd amount of alcohol we had consumed.
Just twenty-four hours off what could be described as one of the biggest moments in the history of WWE, Raw was poised to explode. The final match of the Survivor Series pay-per-view set up so many interesting angles and storylines that we were all drooling with anticipation. Sting made his debut! Dolph Ziggler was the sole survivor in a big push during a main event! The Authority lost! Big Show knocked out John Cena! And even with all that, Randy Orton wasn’t even at the pay-per-view. Are you kidding me? I will pay $9.99 for that sort of finish any day. Unfortunately, the tower crumbled, fell, caved in on itself.
Raw began with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon saying what I am now really, really understanding, “You will all be begging for us to return!” By around 10:35PM, I believed they were correct. Daniel Bryan came out, getting a huge pop from the crowd. And it was clear from that moment that Sting most likely wasn’t going to be there. Then later in a Rusev segment, the WWE brought out Sgt. Slaughter, of all people. And that was when the more savvy of wrestling fans read between the lines and realized Sting definitely wasn’t showing up.
To make matters worse, the main event featured Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble wrestling in their suits and putting on their best Dumb and Dumber impressions. Raw ended with the Anonymous GM chiming for a good 30 seconds. Really? We went from standing on the highest peak of Mt Everest looking at the whole world to wearing a pair of low heels and struggling to see over a brick wall. As wrestling fans, we are accustomed to the highs and lows, peaks and valleys, and literal mountains of shit we have to eat in order to get a big payoff. But this one really takes the cake. For the WWE to raise us up so high at Survivor Series only to throw us plummeting towards the earth without a parachute at Raw is an atrocity.
You don’t bring back an icon like Sting only to basically pretend he never even showed up. You take away The Authority and replace them with the most hated Raw GM ever, an Anonymous laptop email account. You let the crowd anticipate seeing Sting for the first time ever on Raw and instead shove Sgt. Slaughter in their face to get a bunch of “USA!” chants from the rubes in the crowd. For those who weren’t live in attendance last night, the dark match after Raw went off the air was John Cena teasing us for ten minutes about Bryan fighting only to literally be told by the ringside doctor that he isn’t medically cleared.
So here’s the tally for those keeping score. WWE brought back Brock Lesnar to end The Streak, win the title, and then let him disappear. WWE brought in Sting for the first time ever, let us get amped about it, and then let him disappear. WWE brought in Daniel Bryan, giving us a bleak moment of hope, only to remind us he needs more surgery, isn’t coming back anytime soon, and after last night’s Raw, are letting him disappear. Randy Orton started getting on point, acting crazy, and becoming The Viper of old, and WWE let him disappear. All we’re left with now are Fandango (a guy from Florida) and Rosa (a Canadian) being booked as Latin heartthrobs circa Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado, and Adam Rose beefing with a man in a Bunny costume.
As of today, the rumor buzz online is that Sting is only here for limited engagements. Much like Brock Lesnar (you know, that one guy with that one title…) Sting will not be at any live events such as Raw or TV tapings. They are only going to use him for “big events” and he is likely to only wrestle one or two matches, if any. Now, this might just be an ultimate blunder on WWE’s part. Maybe Stinger isn’t physically fit or able to go to war in the ring. Maybe this is just a “too little, too late” sort of thing in terms of booking this iconic superstar. But to me, it honestly feels like WWE dangling a teaser in our faces in the hopes that we will all go out and buy their new poorly constructed video game that features Sting. The timing is just a little too right for this to be anymore than a publicity stunt. We’ve waited more than a decade for this only to get it and see one of our greatest desires pulled away and swept under the rug. I’d have preferred Sting just never came to WWE if this is the sort of gimmick we are being handed. Forgive me if I don’t get excited about a steamy turd dipped in 24k gold, but the WWE Universe and Sting deserve so much better.
As always, the WWE does a magic show. While blinding us with the flair of Daniel Bryan they hope we don’t notice that Sting is escaping the wooden box and exiting stage left. Leaving geeks like @THEUNDERWALLY on Twitter hash-tagging us as #WorstCrowdEver and calling us boring. Can you blame us? In a single night we saw two-thirds of the three stooges in a main event, an Adam Rose match, and a Fandango match; and this coming off a Sting appearance? No, we won’t stand for this, and we certainly weren’t about to falsely cheer the arena for a deflated show. They even ruined a classic Vince quirk. Where in the past he would come to the ring and give the patented, “You’re Fired!”, he instead was only shown on the jumbotron backstage telling Triple H and Stephanie that he was disappointed in them. Then he got in a limo and drove away. We didn’t even get to see him come out to the ring.
In a single day, WWE did a 180-degree turn. They took away the greatest heel of the last twenty years in Triple H. They reminded us that we may never see Daniel Bryan in a ring again. They showed us our childhood hero and then tucked him back away in the “Retro 1997” file. And they gave us what was essentially one of the worst Raw main events of the year. As fans, we expected more. As lifelong fans, we deserved more. We knew elation. For one special night, joy filled our hearts. And in typical WWE fashion, they trolled us once again. Vince McMahon keeps collecting our money with a smile on his face, snickering as he swims through his gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker