This week’s “ARN” podcast with Arn Anderson and Conrad Thompson covers WWE WrestleMania 31 and all of the news stories that occurred around that time.
It was on this show when Sting made his first and only WrestleMania appearance just a few months after signing with the company.
“I thought it was 15 years too late,” Arn said on WWE signing Sting. “We can all look back and wannabes and I’m a guy who thinks Taker should still be riding the wave of his undefeated streak. You only get one crack at some stuff. Sting being the last hold out would have been nice if Sting would have came across when WCW was done [and if he was] pushed like the star that he was.”
Arn gave an interesting tidbit about the Sting vs. Triple H match from that show. Sting was the last major name from WCW to sign with WWE so his first and only WrestleMania appearance was a huge deal to fans but WWE seemed to focus more on the WCW vs. WWE aspect of the storyline, even though Vince McMahon bought WCW 14 years before this show.
“They had the right idea in possibly having to start over and start wrestling. If I was sitting in the back and I’m going ‘ok they just had the ladder match and they just had Randy’s match with a pretty incredible finish but got to settle the [fans] a little bit.’ Ok that might work. I’m trying to put myself in the head of the talent and stuff but as I saw a tackle, dropdown and hiptoss and those type of spots to try to reset the audience, all it did was give the announcers – and I know this was fed to them, they just buried Sting. A minnow in a big pond, just total condescending ‘guy’s out of his element, this is WrestleMania now, you’re just a small minnow in a huge lake.’ Whatever all the commentary was exactly, it was meant to basically beat you over the head with ‘we won the war, we’re WWE we won the war. here’s your big star? Well, he ain’t a big star here tonight.’ [Everything] other than continuing to put the guy over and put some mystery of the match.
Arn said there are plenty of ways to get a heel over while putting the babyface over but that is not what happened during Sting’s match with Triple H. He added, “To just bury him on the commentary – if you go back and watch it and listen to it, they just buried him. As it turned out, they prostituted each other’s finishes which I’m not a fan of because guys don’t have finishes anymore…”
Conrad Thompson says Kevin Nash told him that the NWO run-in during that match was a last-minute decision. In fact, he had planned to fly home and he didn’t have his gear so he appeared in street clothes.
Arn also pointed out that almost everyone in the NWO and DX that did a run-in had a relationship with Triple H.
“If you really think about it, everyone on both run-ins had a relationship with Hunter in some capacity. Sting’s the only WCW guy. His biggest nemesis during the entire look of the show [in WCW] was Sting vs. the NWO. Why would they come down on his behalf?”
Conrad Thompson pointed out how silly it was for Sting to shake Triple H’s hand after he was hit in the head with a sledgehammer.
Arn continued, “After all that bullsh*t…I’m gonna shake your hand and walk out. It’s another one of those deals of the WWE just beating you over the head with ‘this is a work, guys this is just entertainment, it don’t mean sh*t and the match is over now, we’ll go back to just being entertainers.’ I don’t think the audience needs that, I don’t think they want it.”
Arn doesn’t know if the booking of this match came from Vince or Triple H but he knows that Triple H will never be able to overrule Vince’s ideas. Arn said the lines during the match that were meant to bury Sting while putting over Triple H came from Vince McMahon.
Arn added, “The reality is this, it was the last nail that Vince could nail into the coffin and say ‘okay, it’s done, we’re the superior company, they said they were gonna put us out of business, they led for all those weeks but in the end, here’s your last remaining guy and he was your biggest star and we just crushed him before your very eyes at the biggest event of the year. It is now officially done.’ It’s like WCW never existed, that is what would have been going through [Vince’s] mind…”
During this episode, Arn also talks about Bill DeMott and the circumstances that led to him losing his job, Brock Lesnar’s contractual issues with Vince McMahon, Larry Zbyszko’s WWE Hall Of Fame induction, WWE’s inflated WrestleMania attendance numbers, CM Punk vs. WWE lawsuit, WWE’s tribute to Hulk Hogan in Madison Square Garden and much more.