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If you were big into wrestling during the 1980s and 1990s, then there’s a good chance you, at one point or another, dyed your hair blonde, spiked it, and screamed “Woo!” in people’s faces, or maybe you painted your face white, threw on a trenchcoat and started waving bats in people’s faces. I am, of course, referencing the squared circle legend Sting, whose recent resurgence in the WWE was cut short during a match last year that left him with a neck injury, and now it appears that injury was serious enough to force the athlete to retire from wrestling completely.
Sting – real name Steve Borden – was reportedly diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck, which causes painful and debilitating nerve problems. That definitely isn’t the kind of injury that makes it easy to put people in suplexes or get bodyslammed out of the ring, and even though it’s sometimes impossible to keep older wrestlers away from their career, the risks were apparently too severe for him to continue in the same capacity.
It’s rumored that he may officially announce his retirement next month, according to TMZ, during the Hall of Fame ceremony happening the day before WrestleMania 32 in Arlington, Texas. Sting was already going to be there, since he’s getting inducted this year as only the second active wrestler to be included – Ric Flair, who will induct Sting, was the first. Maybe he’s waiting on the announcement to keep that distinction intact.
Sting, whose retirement comes relatively soon after that of recent superstar Daniel Bryan, was injured during WWE’s Night of Champions back in September 2015 during a match with Roman Reigns. The facepainted legend was put into the signature Buckle Bomb move and hit the turnbuckle in the worst way possible, and it was immediately obvious that the pain was all too genuine. You can check out that specific moment below.
Sting rose from the indie wrestling circuit to the then-NWA in the late 1980s, using his trademark Stinger Splash and Scorpion Death Lock to take down many a foe. (You can even play as this version in WWE 2K15.) His in-ring character got a huge revamp in the mid-1990s when he traded in his surfer attitude for a something far darker and drearier, adapting his still-going look of white-and-black facepaint with longer hair. He later finally got to feud with fellow legend Hulk Hogan and then teamed with the nWo Wolfpac for a while. He and Flair fought in the very last WCW match before it got lumped in with the WWE, and Sting spent the next decade-plus in other federations like Impact and TNA before returning to the big stage of the WWE in late 2014. He quickly became a big name in the sport again, making his eventual injury all the more disheartening.
Sting’s injury is the same one that caused Edge –real name Adam Copeland – to retire back in 2011. Copeland was seen last year as a villain on The Flash, so maybe we’ll soon see Sting getting into the live-action comic book world. His look is more suited for Arrow, though.