The Rock Wanted to face Sting at WrestleMania 21
On the latest Grilling JR, Jim Ross recalled The Rock wanting WWE to bring Sting in for a match with him in 2005 at WrestleMania. Rock’s contract was up at the end of 2004 and reports at the time were that he wanted a match with Sting, but that was obviously not worked out and Rock ended up leaving at the end of the year when his contract expired.
Of course, Rock and Sting would both end up in WWE later, albeit at different times; Rock made sporadic appearances before his feud with John Cena in 2011 and 2012, while Sting would come in in 2014. Highlights from the discussion and the full podcast are below:
On if Rock was asking for a match with Sting: “Yeah, man. Look, we were trying to recruit Sting, Conrad, ever since WCW closed their doors. And then subsequently when he finally got all his money from Time-Warner that he was owed. We knew he’d be healthy, he’d be refreshed, and he’d have a full bank account. He should be a happy guy. And we only wanted him for a part-time role at best to maximize the investment, and to not overuse a asset that had more matches in him than he had left. So yeah, we were always talking about bringing him in. Why not? But Rock and Sting would have been cool as hell.
“And Rock — look, the thing about this, and I may have mentioned this before. It’s worth reiterating as far as bookers are concerned. Bookers find out that the top talents who are gonna draw the money and put an ass every 18 inches know exactly who they can and cannot work well with. Meaning that a great attraction like The Rock fighting another great attraction like Sting at the biggest event of the year like WrestleMania for the first time ever is money. Here’s the key though. Rock knew in his heart that he could get a match out of Sting, who had been dormant for quite a while, without any problem. Full confidence. And I believe that too. So anyhow, yeah it was a topic we talked about.”
On if calling Shelton Benjamin’s splash the ‘Stinger Splash’ was an attempt to foreshadow a Sting arrival: “No, it isn’t. That’s just what it was. That was what the name [of the move was]. It’s like somebody saying, ‘Hey, he just called a move a headlock. They must be bringing Ed ‘Strangler’ Lewis in.’ Come on. ‘Well, it’s foreshadowing.’ No, it’s just stupid. Stop it.”