Sting returned to singles matches in 1989, starting the year off by wrestling Flair to a one-hour draw in Atlanta's Omni on New Year's Day. He would also have his first experience in Japan with a brief tour in All Japan Pro Wrestling , with his most notable match in AJPW against Dan Spivey on January 25. After a long push, Sting won his first title in the NWA when he defeated Rotundo for the NWA Television Championship at a live event in March.  Sting defended the Television title actively but tended to face sub-par challengers such as The Iron Sheik . In mid-1989, The Great Muta challenged Sting at The Great American Bash . The match was booked with a classic, controversial Dusty finish even though Rhodes (the namesake of the technique) had been fired months earlier. Sting got the three-count and was announced as the winner, but a replay showed Muta's shoulder was up at the count of two. The NWA decided to declare the title vacant.  Sting and Muta battled in many rematches for the vacant Television title, but they always ended in disqualification, giving neither man the championship. Eventually, Muta won a No Disqualification match against Sting at a live event in September by using a blackjack to get the win and the title.
In 2007, Chris Benoit, a wrestler who had allegedly suffered multiple concussions, killed his wife, his 7-year-old son and himself. Dr. Bennet Omalu, a doctor who examined his brain, diagnosed him with a severe case of CTE. He was the first professional wrestler to receive such a diagnosis. Later, Omalu diagnosed the same condition in another deceased wrestler, Andrew "Test" Martin, and he is examining the brains of three other wrestlers to see if there is evidence of the disease.
In 2008, the WWE instituted a concussion management program. However, the 17-count lawsuit says that the company was well aware of the dangers for a long time and did nothing. For example, it says that the company discussed the dangers of concussions in a scripted event as early as 1995.