Sting Comes out of Retirement, Makes Surprise AEW Debut on 'Dynamite'

The pro wrestling world was in shock to see the return of Sting on Wednesday night. The former WCW World Heavyweight Champion made a surprise appearance on Wednesday night's AEW Dynamite: Winter is Coming special event, interrupting Team Taz's beatdown of Cody Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes and AEW TNT Champion Darby Allin. When Sting arrived, he was wearing all black with his traditional face paint while wielding a baseball bat as snow began to fall in the arena.

After Sting's appearance, it was announced that the legendary pro wrestler has signed a multi-year contract with AEW. In May, it was reported that Sting is no longer under contract with WWE after joining the company in 2014. During his time in WWE, Sting only competed in four matches. In his last match, he suffered a career-ending neck injury in a match against Seth Rollins at the Night of Champions pay-per-view. His last appearance on WWE television came in February 2019. WWE stopped selling his merchandise in October.

"The surprise introduction of Sting was a great way to celebrate our biggest episode of Dynamite yet," Tony Khan said in the release as reported by ComicBook.com. "When AEW launched, I was ecstatic to bring wrestling back to TNT after a very long absence. Sting defeated the legendary Ric Flair in the final wrestling match to be shown on TNT for more than 18 years until the debut of Dynamite in 2019. Now, almost two decades later, it's such a thrill to welcome Sting to AEW and bring him back home to TNT!"

Sting was the face of WCW during its run in the 1990s. He won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship six times, the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship two times and the WCW World Tag Team Championship three times. Sting became the third wrestler to become a WCW Triple Crown champion.

When WWE bought WCW in 2001, the company didn't buy out his contract. He signed a contract with TNA (now Impact Wrestling) in 2003 and won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship four times. He was with TNA until 2014 and then made the jump to WWE. Sting was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016 due to his accomplishments in WCW.