There was a big WWE event at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday. It’s one of the biggest Comic Con events in the world and WWE is always strongly represented. They were there to reveal their new Mattel action figures. At a lot of these Comic Cons there are also panels featuring WWE stars answering questions from fans in attendance. The advertised panel was made up of injured former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan, Paul Heyman and WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan. Michael Cole was there too. There was a surprise, though. In what would count as his first live WWE event appearance, the legendary Sting was there as well in his ring gear.

Sting wasn’t advertised for the event. It was a surprise for the fans in San Diego. Credit WWE for keeping it under wraps because there was no indication that he would be there. They had the internet and social media buzzing when they posted this Instagram video with Sting saying his catchphrase: “It’s showtime.”

While Sting hasn’t appeared in a WWE ring yet, it’s been a strong rumor since the start of the year. This week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter noted that although no deal has been signed yet, it’s likely to happen at any time. Perhaps he has some kind of verbal deal with WWE as to when it might be. It makes more sense if it’s in the beginning of 2015, but if it were to happen now it could certainly help convince people to get the WWE Network if they don’t have it already. Since he’s arguably the biggest name in WCW history and there hundreds of hours of WCW footage on WWE Network, it makes sense for him to pitch the WWE Network to the fans too.

Sting’s involvement with WWE continues to grow. Last week on Raw we saw a commercial noting that Sting would be in the WWE 2K15 video game via pre-order. Earlier this week the full listing for a Sting DVD was announced with three discs covering his career in the NWA/WCW. He also appeared in a documentary about the Warrior that aired after WrestleMania 30 earlier this year.

The purpose of the WWE panel at the San Diego Comic Con was to promote WWE’s new line of Mattel toys. Mattel is one of WWE’s biggest business partners and the action figures are a big selling point especially with younger fans.

There’s a photo gallery on with images of the new figures that are set to be released. There are some unique ones like Jake “The Snake Roberts paired with Dean Ambrose as well as a snake, John Cena with the Ultimate Warrior along with a US flag, Cesaro with the Andre the Giant trophy and even Batista in the blue gear as Bluestista is there. Of course the biggest name in the group is Sting, who gets a WWE action figure for the first time. Here’s a look at the Sting figure.

Sting has made it clear in numerous interviews that the time is right for him to join WWE. We don’t know when he might appear on WWE TV or when he might have a match (probably WrestleMania 31), but we do know that everything is pointing towards it happening sooner rather than later.

Let’s give WWE credit for how they are handling Sting’s debut. They are doing a fantastic job of building it up.