Raw Top Five 8/31/15: Sting Sets His Sights on Gold
Anyone who has followed my commentary, during my days in the gulag of NXT to my current stint on Monday Night Raw, knows that occasionally, as the situation warrants, I'll forgo a standard review in favor of posing an important question. This is one of those special occasions.
For those who wonder, Raw was okay, not great but not awful. The beat the clock challenge matches featuring the best of the Women's division was a great change of pace, and Kevin Owens and Cesaro put on a great show as always... but there was one segment that stood out among the rest. Even the Dudley Boyz couldn't top Sting and John Cena confronting current United States and WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins.
Cena was given a chance to blather on and on, eventually alluding to cashing in his rematch clause. However, Sting would go on to make an interesting case in his tirade. Although Rollins was handled with very cushiony kid gloves, Sting suggested that he is, and should always have been, the Number One Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. This brings us full circle to that special and important question: Why shouldn't Sting win at Night of Champions.
For the uneducated, I invite you to read up on Sting's legendary career and come to admire this man's undying loyalty to the company that made him a living legend. To those in the know, I do not need to discuss the implications of even suggesting that Sting is wrestling for a WWE championship, let alone the World Heavyweight Title. This is literally a once in a lifetime situation that cannot, ever, possibly happen again.
Sting even setting foot in the match would be news enough, however he's entering a match with one of the most polarizing Champions since The Miz. Seth Rollin's reign has been marred by the likes of J&J Security's bumbling antics and the snore inducing Corporate Kane character. Title matches featuring Rollins have fallen into two camps: Bullshit, Dusty Finishes featuring interference, or Bullshittier finishes featuring a knocked out ref, or other wrestling nonsense.
Unfortunately for fans, Rollins is a talented and accomplished wrestler, a trait main roster fans haven't had much experience watching. Most are familiar with the loud mouth, chicken-shit side of Seth Rollins... the kind of character who's matches are difficult to watch, and getting harder and harder to get excited about.
After months of witnessing Rollins devolve from cunning architect to an egotistical pussy has been a tough pill to swallow. Gone is the Rollins to be feared due to his unpredictable and ruthless nature. In his wake is a mic hogging wind bag who's hyperbolic statements regarding his perceived greatness have gone from a classic heel tactic, to another reason to fast forward in record time.
With a track record of hard to swallow victories from the current heel champion, his match with Sting feels a tad flat. Why should I be excited when I'm conditioned to the WWE mentality and the McMahon/Dunn modus operandi. Sting has already competed in a historic bout along side Hunter Hurst Helmsley in a match that, for all intents, should have ended in the Vigilante's favor. However, politics and egos made sure that simply wasn't the case.
So... history has established, through a combination of Rollins' character development and WWE procedure, that it his highly likely Rollins will retain at Night of Champions, and will do so through dubious methods. However, is this truly what is best for business®?
Sting has shown, through his epic match at Wrestlemania 31, that he can still wrestle with the best of them. If the intimidating “You still got it,” chants weren't enough proof, perhaps the diving crossbody to the outside is enough proof that Sting still has what it takes to carry the load as champion. Being champion requires the ability to perform at a level higher than your peers, and Sting possesses that in spades.
With that proven talent comes a very important side effect. Much Like Bray Wyatt and The Undertaker, even a loss can prove important to the career of a rising star like Rollins. Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar and even the mighty John Cena have all fallen to Rollins. Imagine, in five years time, that the only black mark on Rollins first title run was a loss to the legendary Sting? A win here solidifies Rollins as a main event performer, and gives credence to the fact that he could, someday, find himself among the company of true wrestling legends.
Rollins isn't the only one that receives validation from a Sting victory. The man himself has done it all... except one important thing. Sting may have won them all, but he's never won the big one. Capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship gives fans, both young and old, a chance to rejoice over both the closure, and new beginning of a storied career. WWE claims they are in the business of telling stories, and what better story to tell than that of one man reaching the top of the mountain for one last shot at stardom.
While the build to this title shot has been sudden and a bit underwhelming, a fact that can't be ignored is the financial implications from a Sting title reign. While I'm hardly the first commentator to make this point, its no secret that ratings are in the toilet and show no signs of picking up. Save for an actual return of Shawn Michaels or Stone Cold Steve Austin, is there a better way to get us long time fans chatting about wrestling again?
To share an example from real life; I've been talking about wrestling to a very good friend of mine recently. This person, similar to myself, was a long time viewer, however they became disinterested as WWE began to lose it's way. After Undertaker vs Lesnar at SummerSlam, his interest was piqued. Once I told him about Sting vs Rollins for the title, he immediately put in for the night off at work and invited me over to his house to watch. He didn't have the network before that conversation.
There is no way to overstate the gravity of this match. Sting is history. Sting is wrestling, or at least a huge part of it. Sting wearing the gold does wonders for this sport, and gives fans a reason to tune back into a product that hasn't been on the strongest path for sometime. To save not only his modern career but Rollins' future, and give a much needed shot in the arm to WWE's bottom line, Sting must win at Night of Champions.