Three years ago to the day, Sting arrived in the WWE. His arrival coincided with what was supposed to be the ouster of The Authority from power, which didn’t last very long, as WWE storylines can typical find a way around. But most importantly, Survivor Series 2014 marked the first time The Stinger stepped into a WWE ring.
His appearance led to Dolph Ziggler defeating Seth Rollins and becoming the sole survivor in the Survivor Series Elimination Match main event. Looking back on the card, the show was severely lacking in depth, as just six matches took place on the PPV, one of which involved Adam Rose and The Bunny, and another of which lasted 33 seconds. (Lest we forget that The Miz and Damien Mizdow won the WWE Tag Team Titles as well!)
As for Sting himself, the run was short-lived, but effective. After costing The Game his job for a short bit, he transitioned into a rivalry which led to a match between the two at WrestleMania 31. It was a nostalgia trip to say the least, but he was able to check his name off the list of greats to never compete in a WWE ring.
He wasn’t done there, though. Sting came back for a run at the title in Sept. 2015, main eventing Night of Champions against Seth Rollins. It marks the only title shot Sting had with the company, along with his only main event match, as The Icon put over The Architect.
As for Survivor Series as an event, the central point of consternation was the match Sting was interfering in. Typically, the concept of the authority figure vs. a superstar on the roster is reserved for the over-bearing overlords taking advantage of the downtrodden in-ring competitor. Which was the case in late 2014, with John Cena fighting the system, run by Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, who protected their prized star, Seth Rollins.
We’ve seen this gimmick before; maybe most famously, it was used for years with Vince McMahon against Stone Cold Steve Austin. But where things have gotten unique exactly three years later is that we’re finally seeing the development of the babyfaces in charge battling with the heels who feel they are being oppressed on the roster.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn find themselves in an odd position in late 2017. They have all but declared war on SmackDown Live commissioner Shane McMahon and general manager Daniel Bryan, which isn’t all that different from the plot Cena had three years ago, it’s just all about how they can sell it. Cena was successful in his pursuit of getting Stephanie and Triple H out, only time will tell how effective Owens and Zayn are on their own quest.
For Ziggler, it’s conceivable that three years ago to the day was his top moment in the WWE. He was the last man standing in a match of stars, getting the rub of defeating Rollins and having ousted The Authority. He has won World Titles before, but this moment appeared to have marked a Ziggler resurgence that would launch him back into main event conversation for months, if not years to come.
Somehow, ever since the victory, things haven’t been the same for him. He was on the poster for the next PPV, yet by February, had been relegated to the losing end of a six-man tag match and then was in a Kiss My Arse Match by the end of April, getting his face shoved near Sheamus’ butt.
He is currently being booked into an afterthought even worse than that by creative, not even whispered about during the 2017 installment of Survivor Series, let alone being the sole survivor in the headlining match. It’s tough to see where things changed, but if nothing else, on this day three years ago, the company believed in him.