AEW signed Sting to a deal quite some time ago, but they planned his debut strategically to take place right before the holiday season.
According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the main reason behind Stinger’s appearance at Winter is Coming was to increase the sales heading into the Christmas holidays.
“Sting’s debut was very much designed to be there for Christmas season merchandising. Good signs on 12/3 was that the Impact web site crashed and Sting set a Pro Wrestling Tees all-time record for one day sales of any T-shirt in its history.”
The move paid off, as Sting broke the record of the most number of t-shirt sales in 24 hours on Pro Wrestling Tees, and ended up crashing the site.
Sting is also listed as an active performer on the AEW site, with his stats showing up alongside all the talents in the company.
This indicates that he is going to step into the squared circle, five years after his career-ending injury at the hands of Seth Rollins.