When current AEW star rejected WWE (and how Vince McMahon reacted)
Vince McMahon obtained the contracts of several WCW stars after buying the wrestling promotion in 2001. The WWE Executive Chairman initially wanted Sting to join his company, but the WCW icon opted to sign with TNA/IMPACT instead.
Sting spent 11 years in TNA between 2003 and 2014 before finally making his WWE in-ring debut in 2015. He lost against Triple H at WrestleMania 31 before unsuccessfully challenging Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship at Night of Champions 2015.
In 2020, Sting spoke on the AEW Unrestricted podcast about his decision to reject Vince McMahon's contract offer in 2002. He also revealed how the legendary wrestling promoter reacted to the bad news:
"Vince was in the picture once again, and I'll never forget it," Sting said. "I'm talking to him on the phone and I said, 'Vince, I'm going to go to TNA.' [And Vince says] 'The thought of you and the legacy that you leave behind, and you going to TNA is just… BLEGH.' [laughs] He literally said BLEGH.' Yeah, and then I'm working for him a few years later." (H/T WrestleZone.com for the transcription)
Sting's WWE contract expired in 2020, four years after he retired as a wrestler. The veteran later signed with AEW, where he returned to the ring as Darby Allin's tag team partner.
Why Sting rejected WWE and Vince McMahon in 2002
On the August 2, 2001, episode of SmackDown, then-WCW World Heavyweight Champion Booker T exchanged words with The Rock in a promo segment. The Great One famously asked his rival, "Who in the blue hell are you?"
Sting spoke about the moment on his 2015 WWE DVD, Sting: Into The Light:
"That one little comment is all it took to just bury somebody like Booker T. 'Let's let the world know that you're a WCW guy and you're a peon here.' It was gonna require lots of work for Booker T to try to come back, and he did because he's a talented guy, and after all the years that I'd put into wrestling up to that point, it just seemed like a gamble to me. I didn't trust how I would be used."
Sting was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016. The 63-year-old recently revealed that he plans to retire from in-ring competition again in 2023.
Do you think Sting should have accepted Vince McMahon's offer in 2002? Let us know in the comments section below.