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Wrestling in a WWE PPV main event at 56 years old, the iconic Sting may have suffered a “significant” injury against reigning champion Seth Rollins that could signal the end of his decades-long career.
At Night of Champions on Sunday night in Houston, Sting (real name Steve Borden) was given a “buckle bomb” in the corner by Rollins – a move in which he’s carried on Rollins’s shoulders and then launched back-first into the corner turnbuckles. Replays showed Sting’s neck and head whipping violently into the top turnbuckle. He staggered out of the corner, his right leg wobbling before he fell to the mat.
Dave says Sting may have a career threatening neck injury sustained off the buckle bomb. pic.twitter.com/fN1yVpKziA
— DTAM (@DeathToAllMarks) September 21, 2015
Rollins whipped him off the ropes, and Sting ran slowly, ducking a clothesline and then tumbling to the mat. At that point, the referee slid down to check on Sting, and signaled for a WWE Certified Athletic Trainer at ringside to attend to him. Sting eventually got his feet and went to the corner, after was back in action after about a three-minute delay. The match was finished soon after, with Sting’s Scorpion Death Lock was reversed into a roll-up win for Rollins to retain the WWE title.
Earlier in the match, Sting went through the Spanish announcers’ table (really, who hasn’t?) to take another bump that could have caused an injury.
After the event, veteran wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer that “Sting's injury was legitimate and we're trying to get more information on it. The early reports we have is that the injury was significant."
WWE.com confirmed there was an injury, but offered no details.
Sting is considered one of the best in-ring performers in wresting history, famous for his face-paint – first neon, then fashioned after “The Crow” graphic novel – and high-flying moves.
His wrestling career started in the mid-1980s, and he had avoided signing with the WWE for decades, becoming a star with rival WCW. After the WWE purchased WCW in 2001, Sting still refused to make the jump to Vince McMahon’s wrestling federation, instead opting to become a centerpiece star for another rival organization, TNA.
In 2014, Sting finally made his WWE debut at Survivor Series, attacking Triple H and starting a feud with The Authority. Sunday’s match with Rollins was part of that feud, and potentially its storyline finale.
Hopefully it isn’t also the finale of Sting’s career, ending before he had a chance to go out on his own terms.
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