Exclusive interview: Sting on his injury, his condition and whether or not that was his last match
The moment was disturbing to watch. At the 11:58 mark in his WWE World Heavyweight Title Match at Night of Champions, Sting was heaved backward through the air by his opponent Seth Rollins and into one of the turnbuckles. Upon impact, the iconic Superstar's head snapped back with alarming velocity. Once he landed, his legs betrayed him, and he wobbled out of the corner, his right leg faltering so completely, he collapsed near the ropes. When Sting fell a second time, the referee waved in a WWE trainer to determine if The Icon was still able to compete. He insisted he was. And though Sting eventually lost the match, the WWE Universe took mild comfort in seeing him soldier on.
Since that night, rumors have been rampant as to what really transpired and whether or not Sting was truly as hurt as many had feared. Herein, The Vigilante speaks exclusively with WWE.com about what exactly went wrong, his thoughts on the title-retaining Seth Rollins and whether or not he'll ever compete again.
WWE.COM: It’s been a few days since your match at Night of Champions. How are you feeling?
STING: Aside from a stiff neck, I’m a little banged up, but otherwise, I feel good. Pretty standard after wrestling a match like that.
WWE.COM: Can you set everyone straight on the extent of your injury, as you await further evaluation?
STING: Bottom line, I had tingling, numbness down both arms, all the way to my fingertips. And then, later in the match, I just fell wrong, whatever it was, and this time [the tingling and numbness] went down both arms and into my legs, and I couldn’t feel my legs too well. They just felt like rubber. I don’t know how to describe it. I had to go down on all fours there for a minute, get my composure. I was a little … I was worried.
Long term, well, I’m just going to take care of the short term first and see how the long term might play out.
WWE.COM: What kind of treatment did you receive after your injury at Night of Champions?
STING: I was out in the hospital — out like a light. They had a neck brace on me, and they were pumping me with [medication] to get me out of pain. I had to do a CT scan and an MRI. They ended up talking to my wife, and I have some details from my wife, but I still have [further evaluation ahead]. They mentioned cervical spinal stenosis, but that’s only part of what I heard. I don’t know if there’s anything else. The doctor did tell my wife, “He’s going to have to get this dealt with. He’s lucky he walked out of there.”
WWE.COM: Is getting back in the ring again something you’d want to do? Do you have that desire to return?
STING: [long pause] Hmmm, in the right scenario … in the right scenario, yeah.
WWE.COM: Were you aware of exactly when your injury occurred during the match?
STING: Oh, yeah, definitely. Both times into the turnbuckle. First time was like a whiplash. [pause] It’s my fault, bottom line. I know better. The second time, I went up into the air and back toward the turnbuckle like that, I thought, “Well, that’s not going to happen again,” and it did. The second time was worse.
WWE.COM: That was when you lost your legs a bit.
WWE.COM: Have you watched the match at all?
STING: No, I have not.
WWE.COM: Any desire?
STING: You know, for 30 years I have watched very, very little of myself wrestling, so I probably would not.
WWE.COM: Can you describe what was going through your mind toward the end when the referee stopped the match?
STING: The referee, the doctor, they’re all in there talking to me: “Are you OK? What’s going on? Can you continue? Are you all right? Tell us what’s happening.” And the whole time, I’m just thinking, “Oh, man, not now,” I mean, I want this to be good, you know? And if it ends up being the last thing I ever do in the ring, I don’t want to go out like this.
“God help me.” I’m trying to just shake it off, you know? “C’mon, c’mon.” I’m stamping my feet or moving my toes, just trying to get a feel back, get my legs back underneath me. It started to kind of clear up a little bit. My fingers were still tingling and all that, but my legs were not at that point. I said, “Let me try to continue, let’s just try it.” So I just stood up and walked away from them, and we continued.
WWE.COM: At one point, as the evaluation was happening, the crowd began chanting, “Sting! Sting! Sting!” Were you aware of that and, if so, did that help to motivate you?
STING: I don’t remember that now. I don’t remember a “Sting!” chant [during that evaluation], but I was very coherent. The doctors were talking to me — everyone was talking to me, so I knew what was going on. I’d like to say in the moment I had to have heard and understood what the crowd was doing. From the dive from the top rope onto Seth on the floor [prior to the evaluation], the crowd started a “Sting!” chant there, and I thought, “Wow.” I mean, they see this [type of maneuver] every other minute, but coming from the 56-year-old guy, I think they appreciated it all the more.
WWE.COM: How would you describe competing against Seth Rollins?
STING: The biggest pleasure. I’m honored. After 30 years and working with some of the best and some of the greatest, [Rollins] is, I’m telling you, he’s got to be the best I’ve ever worked with. I mean, this guy has it. And I think he’s just scratching the surface on what he will do. I’ve never seen somebody as talented. He’s working two [matches] on Raw, two [matches] on the pay-per-view, he’s involved in every other segment and it’s physical. He’s got guys coming from every angle. There’s a lot on his plate. He’s carrying a lot, and he’s handling it. He’s proven he can do it. I’m just glad I had a chance to work with him. He’s the kind of guy who could be in there with a broomstick and make something very interesting happen, a match that people would love somehow.
WWE.COM: That’s incredibly high praise coming from Sting.
STING: Really, I can’t say enough. He poked his head in the ambulance and said, “Man, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened.” I said, “Seth, don’t worry about it. It’s not your fault.” And he, for 15 minutes, he said, “I just wanted to tell you what an honor it was, what a pleasure. I can’t believe I had a chance to get in the ring with you and work with you. I was you for Halloween when I was a kid.” He was on and on about it, but man, this young guy, he doesn’t have any idea how much I appreciate being able to work with him.
WWE.COM: Well, where does that leave Sting? Was this your last match?
STING: I hate it when I’m asked that question because the answer truly is a question mark, and the question mark is as bold as it could ever be at this point.
WWE.COM: Wait and see?
STING: Yeah, for now.
WWE.COM: Well, the important thing is that you walked away from it. There’s been quite a bit of speculation on the Internet as to what happened, so thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Any closing words for your fans?
STING: I have not been on the Internet, but I have heard some things here and there. To be quite honest, I just shut myself in once I got home. I can’t tell you the number of text messages and phone calls I received. But listen, I’m grateful, thankful and appreciate wrestling fans now — after 30 years — I appreciate them now more than I ever have.