by Brian Phelps
Well, it now appears that Bound For Glory was the end of Sting's explosively popular "Joker" gimmick. Back during the Summer, Sting transformed from "The Crow" into "The Joker", taking on an even darker character in order to combat Hulk Hogan and his Immortal faction. His goal was to lead Hulk Hogan back from the dark side. He stated that he wanted to see the Hulkster, "not the Hollywood one". After defeating arch-nemesis Ric Flair in order to set up a match between himself and Hulk Hogan at Bound For Glory, Sting went on to defeat Hogan at the pay-per-view. After the conclusion of the match, Hogan's cronies came out and brutalized Sting. Sting cried out for Hogan's help, and Hogan seemingly having an epiphany came to the Stinger's aid. Hogan fended off his own Immortal members in order to save Sting. In essence, Hulk Hogan turned good again. The "Joker" Sting accomplished what he set out to do and thus it makes sense for the character to come to an end so that the normal Sting can return to the surface. Sting returned to Impact after Bound For Glory as normal old Sting, and was promoted to essentially a "General Manager" type of role on Impact.
It makes sense because Sting only became the "Joker" because he was driven to insanity by Hogan and his Immortal faction. If you recall, Sting tried to warn Dixie Carter about Hogan a year and a half ago and she wouldn't listen to him. Sting saw Hogan and Bischoff coming to TNA and taking over, and immediately had deja vu back to the mid 90's when Hogan and Bischoff came to WCW and took it over with their NWO faction. Sting foresaw the same thing happening in TNA and tried to warn the company, but no one would listen. Once Hogan and Bischoff swindled Dixie Carter out of the company, and formed the Immortal faction... he was driven over the edge. That's what prompted the change to the maniacal "Joker" gimmick. With Hogan returning to the side of good, there is no further need for "Joker" Sting.
However, back in the 90's Sting went from his "Surfer" gimmick to the "Crow" gimmick in order to defeat Hogan and his NWO faction and keep them from taking over WCW. After the NWO ended, Sting remained in the "Crow" gimmick and has carried it all the way to the present. Who knows... maybe one day we will see a return of the "Joker" gimmick. Only time will tell.