AEW star Sting was recently profiled by Mike Piellucci of D Magazine. The WWE Hall of Famer revealed that he almost retired from in-ring action in 2021.
It was noted that people close to The Stinger believe he will know the right moment to retire when he sees it. However, the retirement nearly happened when Sting and Darby Allin were wrestling FTR in September 2021 on the Grand Slam edition of AEW Dynamite from New York City. It was noted how Sting carried most of the match, which was his most ambitious AEW bout at the time, but in Sting’s mind, none of the action mattered as he tweaked his right hip in the days leading up to the match.
The tweaked right hip, along with Sting’s balky knees, compromised his mobility. As the crowd cheered Sting on, he fixated on what he couldn’t still do in his 60s – the small, subtle movements his body refused to make.
Sting noted that this drilled one thought in his head, “Oh my gosh, I think this is it. We’ll have to figure out a creative way to make me bow out.”
“There were probably three different occasions during the match that I thought, ‘OK, this is embarrassing,’” Sting said. “I am thoroughly embarrassed. I will be reading online all these fans saying, ‘Yeah, it’s time for him to hang it up. Time caught up to him. He’s done.’”
That never happened, and with each round of positive feedback from his colleagues, Sting realized that there was no need to slink past AEW President Tony Khan backstage because he was worried that he’d let down his new employer.
Sting has not forgotten about the dread that surged through him that night, and that’s why, as the end of his career creeps closer, he has not fixated too much on the particulars.
Sting, who turns 64 in March, revealed that Khan has broached the subject of retirement with him in conversation. Several wrestlers, some who have never been in the same ring with Sting, have put their names forward to be a part of Sting’s retirement match.
Sting said he’s finally ready for retirement, emotionally. He’s been ready physically, but he knows there will be expectations.
“And I’ve got some insecurities about that, I guess, mainly due to age,” Sting said. “The more focus, now you’ve got to follow that big build-up, you know?”
Sting knows the details on his retirement will be hashed out sooner than later.
“Part of me, it’s like I want to avoid it,” he said, because ultimately, the perfect retirement isn’t about the timing or the opponent, it’s about the way Sting makes people feel, and the way he feels about himself.
He added, “Whatever I do, I want wrestling fans to say, ‘That was incredible.’ I don’t want them to walk away going, ‘That was embarrassing.’ I just want it to be a great memory and then to just finally, once and for all, say, ‘Adios.'”
Sting is looking to wrestle a few more matches for his 22-year-old daughter Gracie, so that she can appreciate her father’s career in a way she never could as a child. He’s also looking forward to working a little while longer in the same company as daughter-in-law Katelyn, who works on AEW’s social media team and is currently training to be a pro wrestler. Sting is also looking forward to having a bit more time to mentor Allin, who has transitioned from an on-screen partner to an off-screen friend.
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