Sting took part in his first WWE match amid much ballyhoo at Wrestlemania in March.
It was a major coup when WWE finally landed the superstar, its final major holdout and one of the top names of the WCW era, for the company’s biggest event of the year.
The problem was, however, is that it came years too late. And Sting’s first opponent wasn’t The Undertaker, the fans’ overwhelming choice for “dream match” candidate, but instead WWE executive Triple H.
So it probably wasn’t a surprise when the WCW legend fell at the hands of Vince McMahon’s formidable son-in-law. While the battle between the two companies ended more than a decade ago, pouring a little more salt into an old wound had to be highly satisfying for WWE.
All the bells and whistles disguised a carefully orchestrated match heavy on gimmicks and interference. A handshake at the end might have been a nice touch for some contests, but not necessarily for a grudge match that involved a sledgehammer as a weapon.
It was Sting’s long-anticipated Wrestlemania moment, but one that should have been with Undertaker years earlier.
While the bout may have been of historical import, many fans questioned why Sting would have waited all those years to finally join WWE, only to lose. Some suggested that the outcome was politically motivated and represented a final “WCW burial.”
The Stinger, who made a surprise appearance on last week’s Raw to crash the unveiling of a Seth Rollins statue, has another chance to redeem himself. A match between the two has been signed for WWE’s Night of Champions pay-per-view next Sunday in Houston, along with a Rollins U.S. title defense against John Cena.
While it wouldn’t make sense to put the world title on Sting, 56 years old and a part-timer at best, it would certainly be damaging to have him lose a second straight bout and left still looking for his first win as a WWE performer. After all, it only took late NWA icon Dusty Rhodes less than a week to win his first match after being relegated to the yellow polka-dotted “Common Man” in his 1989 WWE (then WWF) debut.
While Sting hasn’t yet been forced into such a humiliating situation, he badly needs to save face with a victory at Night of Champions. Otherwise his stock will undoubtedly fall.
On the other hand, Rollins needs to continue his run as world champion. Something has to give.
With unconfirmed reports that WWE has set in motion an initiative to start selling Cena U.S. championship shirts again, it would appear that Rollins might be losing at least one title at Night of Champions.
If Sting drops his second straight high-profile WWE match, it just might explain why it took so long to get there in the first place.
WWE’s Lana, who has been preparing for an actual wrestling match, suffered a broken left wrist while training last week before a live event in Fairfax, Va. She underwent surgery Thursday and is expected to be out of the ring for at least four months.
Lana was scheduled to appear at the Night of Champions teaming with on-screen boyfriend Dolph Ziggler against Rusev and Summer Rae. While the injury is expected to delay her in-ring debut, she is expected to return to TV soon in her role as Ziggler’s love interest.
The “Ravishing Russian,” whose role is played by Florida State grad Catherine Joy “CJ” Perry, had been earmarked for a major push and a top spot in the divas division. But a watered-down storyline with Ziggler, coupled with the fact that the two have lacked chemistry together, has only served to derail her momentum.
Still considered a potential hot commodity in WWE circles, Lana boasts an impressive resume.
An accomplished singer, dancer, model and actress, the 5-7 blonde-haired beauty was among a group of four women at FSU (that included sportsgirl Jenn Sterger of Brett Favre sexting scandal fame) known as “The Florida State Cowgirls” who regularly attended football games wearing cowboy hats and skimpy clothing. In 2005, during a nationally televised FSU-Miami game, commentator Brent Musberger remarked — when the four women were shown on screen — that “1,500 red-blooded Americans just decided to apply to Florida State.”
Perry, 30, was born in Gainesville, Fla., to parents of Portuguese and Venezuelan descent, but spent much of her early years in Latvia where her father worked as a Christian missionary. Perry and her family remained in Latvia after it declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.
She attended Vaganova Ballet School and the Riga Choreography School in Moscow and, upon coming to the United States, danced for various institutions in New York City. She later majored in dance and acting at Florida State, where she became the most downloaded “Hot College Girl” on the AT&T and Sprint cell phone networks in consecutive years.
As lead singer of the girls band called No Means Yes, she once proclaimed, “My true passion is to glorify my creator through the arts and inspire others to dream beyond the sky. No Means Yes will be the platform for me to spread my wings and we will soar.”
Perry, who trained as an actress at The Groundlings School in Los Angeles and went on to appear in a number of roles, had no prior experience in the wrestling business when she tried out for a WWE divas audition. She got the job at age 28, and was on her way to landing her most successful role to date.
She and her real-life boyfriend, the Bulgarian-born Rusev (Miroslav Barnyashev), live together on a 12-acre estate in Nashville. The former Miller Lite model also once dated NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski.
Reach Mike Mooneyham at (843) 937-5517, or follow him on Twitter at @ByMike Mooneyham and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MikeMooneyham.