Sting arrived in AEW on December 2 on a special episode of Dynamite titled Winter Is Coming.
It was Sting's first appearance on TNT wrestling since the death of WCW in 2001 and marked by Tony Schiavone's "IT'S STIIIIIING!" call. Sting's contract with WWE reportedly expired in May 2020 and the company stopped selling his merchandise in October 2020. He last appeared on WWE television in February 2019 during Ric Flair's birthday celebration.
Sting's arrival in AEW had seemingly been teased for weeks, if not months, as Darby Allin drew comparisons to the WCW legend as he was spotted hanging out in the rafters on Dynamite.
Speaking on AEW Unrestricted, Sting recalled his dealings with Tony Khan, which led him to AEW.
"I got a call from Tony Khan maybe five years ago, maybe more, and I didn't know who he was. I ended up calling him back and he wanted me to sign a baseball bat and present it to [Jacksonville Jaguars]. I met him long before AEW," he said.
Sting continued, discussing more recent conversations with Khan.
"He called me again about a year ago or so. He didn't call me, he sent a text. I'm still with WWE, so I had to be careful with how I handled stuff. I kept it superficial and that was that. Two months ago or so, I reached out, and said, 'Are you still willing to talk?' He said yeah, and here we are," recalled Sting.
Sting's appearance on Dynamite was kept hidden from most of the talent, although some like Cody Rhodes and Tony Schiavone were clued in.
When discussing the backstage environment and Tony Khan's personality, Sting said, "I had to tell Tony that I had several guys approach me, even guys that don't work with the company, and say all kinds of good things about Tony. I haven't heard anyone say anything bad about Tony. You can tell when someone is being genuine and not being genuine. We've been doing this long enough, even when someone is being positive, you know when there is cynicism and bitterness. It's not so with AEW. I told Tony, it starts with the top and trickles down. It's almost knocking me over just how much everyone wants the company to succeed and do well. It's a healthy environment. I can see cancer from a mile away and I don't see cancer here."
Sting compared the environment to that of WCW when the promotion first started on Nitro in 1995. He said everything was clicking in WCW at the time with everyone being united.
Elsewhere during the podcast, Sting confirmed he is interested in doing cinematic matches in AEW. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
If you missed anything from Wednesday's AEW Dynamite, check out Fightful's full report on the show by clicking here.
If you use any of the quotes above, please give a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.