Sting and Darby Allin defeated The Acclaimed in the main event of this week's AEW Dynamite. The show was particularly momentous for "The Icon," as it was the first time he had wrestled on TBS since a November 2000 episode of WCW Thunder and the first time he's competed in Washington D.C. since beating Lex Luger at 1999 Starrcade pay-per-view. The city was also the host to the infamous 1997 Starrcade event (which The Acclaimed poked fun at before the match), in which a 16-month storyline between Sting and Hollywood Hogan ended in bizarre fashion with a botched fast three-count from referee Nick Patrick and a restart from Bret Hart.
Tony Khan joined Sting, Allin, Sonjay Dutt and Tony Schiavone in the ring after the show ended and celebrated the former WCW Champion by saying, "For better or worse, I'm glad we got to do something very special for Washington D.C. For the man who deserves it more than anybody to be as big a name, as important a person has been in modern professional wrestling, ladies and gentlemen, let's give it up for Sting."
"Tony, thank you for letting me write my story the way I want to write it," Sting said. The 62-year-old legend originally retired from pro wrestling in 2015 after suffering a neck injury in a match with Seth Rollins while challenging for the WWE Championship. He has since wrestled seven times for AEW, all of which have been tag team matches alongside Allin.
Sting admitted in an interview last March with Sports Illustrated that had WWE booked the dream match between himself and The Undertaker while the two were both under WWE contract, he likely never would have left for AEW. "The Phenom" announced his retirement back in 2020 via The Last Ride documentary series and "The Icon" arrived in AEW that December.
"I wanted that (the match) to happen," Sting said. "I was very clear publicly, and I was very clear with WWE, as well. I wanted my last hurrah against Taker. For whatever reason, it just never materialized. To this day, I don't know why. Maybe Taker never wanted to work with me. I have no idea. I mean, I've had good conversations with Taker and we've always got along. I don't know why the match never happened, but it should have happened. Because it wasn't going to happen, and I knew it, and that wasn't the only reason why I left WWE, but it's one of the reasons why I left. I wanted that one last match."