Born Steve Borden, Sting is my personal favorite wrestler for various reasons. In an era where pro wrestling promotions WWF and NWA were competing over fan interest, The Stinger stood out as one of the most charismatic names, with his over-the-top personality and colorful face paint. While Hulk Hogan was the top babyface in WWF at the time, Sting was quickly being built as the top babyface in the National Wrestling Alliance.
Sting made his professional wrestling debut as a tag team partner with Jim Hellwig — better known as The Ultimate Warrior — as the Freedom Fighters in the Continental Wrestling Association. He went from Flash to Blade Runner Flash when the two transitioned to the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF), and then his name was changed to Blade Runner Sting.
Sting’s tag team success led to interest from the National Wrestling Alliance, and his quick popularity led to NWA World Heavyweight Championship matches against Ric Flair just months after his debut. At this time, Sting was the professional wrestler who stuck out to me as a kid, due to his charisma and good in-ring work.
One of the first matches I remember from these two, where I knew that Sting was going to be a star, was the time limit draw on the March 27, 1988 episode of Clash of the Champions. Although Sting did not win the match, this was the beginning of a legendary career for the charismatic superstar.
My favorite match of all time in the Great American Bash pay-per-view in 1990. Earlier in the year, at Clash of the Champions X, Sting was kicked out of the Four Horsemen, and brutally attacked. Unfortunately, Sting would get injured before his opportunity for redemption at the WrestleWar pay-per-view, and he was replaced by Lex Luger. However, Sting returned in time for the July Great American Bash event and won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for the first time.
Sting remained a top name in World Championship Wrestling throughout his run with the company, and his transition from surfer character to his mysterious “crow” gimmick was a perfect decision to not only add an amazing layer to his persona, but also compete against WWE during the Monday Night Wars. The start of this gimmick, which was coming out and destroying the nWo during the War Games match at Fall Brawl 1996 to prove his loyalty to WCW, had me intrigued about where his character was going to go.
I was glued to the screen every Monday Night for both Raw and Monday Nitro, but Sting’s one-year silent period sitting in the rafters and ascending down to the ring to attack the New World Order (nWo) was an incredible thing to watch. Moreover, in addition to his Scorpion Deathlock finisher, he also added the Scorpion Death Drop to his arsenal, which even further enhanced his dark “crow” gimmick. This was one of the main reasons why WWE was unable to defeat WCW in the ratings war for a staggering 83 weeks.
Sting’s culmination of this storyline was at the 1997 Starrcade PPV, defeating Hollywood Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. However, the storyline became marred, and he was forced to relinquish his world title win. He defeated Hogan to win the title again at the SuperBrawl pay-per-view, and lost it to Randy Savage at Spring Stampede. However, Hogan beat Savage the very next day on Nitro, and it would be a year before Sting won the title again.
If there was one thing that I would have changed during this time, it would have been that Sting did not join the nWo Wolfpac stable. Although it was only for a short time, it would have been better if Sting was one of the only nWo rivals never to join the group.
While the Wolfpac receives a lot of negative flack, it was somewhat a breath of fresh air from what the oversaturated state the nWo was in at this point.
However, Sting should have not been a part of the this group, which would have maintained his lone wolf character. To even further confuse things, Sting joining the Wolfpac led to his WCW Tag Team Championship run with The Giant being vacated, causing the two to face each other at the 1998 Great American Bash for sole ownership of the titles. Sting won the match, and chose Kevin Nash to be his partner.
On March 26, 2001, WCW had it last episode of Nitro, as the company folded and was bought by WWE. In this episode, Booker T became the WCW World Heavyweight Champion by defeating Scott Steiner. Sting’s final match in WCW was a victory over his long-time rival, Ric Flair. Along with Flair, other names I remember being rivals to Sting are The Great Muta, Lex Luger, Rick Rude, Vader, among many more. Unfortunately, there were moments that I was not very fond of, one being his feud with Vampiro which led to a Human Torch match at the 2000 Great American Bash.
Two years later, Sting made his TNA Wrestling debut as Jeff Jarrett’s partner against AJ Styles and Sean “Syxx-Pac” Waltman. Sting returned to TNA in 2006, and was mainstay with the company for nearly a decade.
Personally, I have mixed emotions about Sting’s time in TNA. While it was great to see Sting in action on a frequent basis, he created such an amazing legacy in WCW that it was difficult to see it diluted when he was in TNA. Sting did have a great run in Impact Wrestling as “The Icon”, feuding with names such as Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, Hulk Hogan, and Bully Ray, but it did not do much to enhance his legendary career. Especially, his 2011 Bound for Glory match against Hulk Hogan, or his Victory Road 2011 match against Jeff Hardy.
His debut at the 2014 Survivor Series PPV was one of the most shocking in WWE history and showed that he and Vince McMahon finally reached an agreement. His feud with Triple H leading to WrestleMania 31 had amazing potential, but I was grossly disappointed when Triple H picked up the win despite it being Sting’s first WWE pay-per-view match, and the majority of fans feeling that it would be an indelible feel-good moment in Sting picked up the win.
What is Sting Doing Now?
Sting’s return the next year to compete against Seth Rollins at Night of Champions was a pleasure to watch. However, I highly doubted that he was going to win the WWE Championship from Rollins, especially since Rollins lost the United States Championship from John Cena just one match prior to the main event. It was even more devastating when Sting had to retire due to his neck injury from Rollins during this match.
While it was amazing to see Sting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, I wish that he had a much better run in the WWE. While many are still holding on to the dream match between him and The Undertaker, as a Sting fan, I do not wish for this to happen, due to the high possibility of Sting even further tarnishing his WWE run by losing another match. I am willing to compromise with Sting and Undertaker competing at a Saudi Arabia WWE Network event, but only if Sting wins.