Last November at the Survivor Series, Sting made his first appearance inside a WWE ring by attacking Triple H with a Scorpion Death Drop and costing his team a high-stakes match. The legendary wrestler was very close to joining the company a few times earlier in his career, but could not sign the dotted line.
“I’ve had great conversations with him (Vince McMahon) over the years and been real close on probably three or four different occasions of going up there,” Sting said in a 2012 radio interview. “But, there was always a need met or a desire of mine met with WCW and now with TNA, so I stay.”
On such occasion was 2003. In WWE’s recently released book on the Attitude Era, Sting reveals that he was in negotiations with Vince McMahon to join the company that year and was approached with the idea to feud with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
“I had been negotiating with Vince [McMahon], and one of the ideas was for me to debut at the end of WrestleMania XIX and confront “Stone Cold” Steve Austin,” says Sting. “Negotiations fell apart and it never happened, but it makes you wonder, ‘What if?’ That was one of the times I was talking with Vince, and it would’ve been an incredible night that would’ve translated into some major, major rivalries and match-ups for years to come.”
Austin says, “It would’ve been interesting to see Sting get a four or five year run in WWE when he was younger. I actually had no idea that he was that close to signing at one point, but it would’ve been a moment for the ages. As a wrestling fan and as a fan of Sting, it’s too bad that it never happened.”
Even if Sting did join WWE, the feud would not have taken place. Austin’s match against The Rock at the event, which he lost, was his last official wrestling match. The following night on Raw, authority figure Eric Bischoff “fired” Austin on medical grounds. The next morning, Austin gave an interview on WWE.com announcing his retirement from wrestling, although he stated that he and Vince McMahon had reached an agreement seeing him only appear in non-wrestling roles on a weekly basis. In reference to Bischoff firing him on Raw that week, he said that although his firing was for storyline purposes, he admitted the medical problems read out on Raw were real and mainly related back to his injury sustained at the 1997 SummerSlam in a match with Owen Hart, and had seriously plagued him since late 2001. He confessed wrestling against the advice of his doctors up to his departure in 2002, which forced him to quit wrestling, and cited this as the sole reason as to why he suddenly departed, with doctors advising an awkward or violent move performed on him could have resulted in Austin being permanently disabled or resulting in death.