Throwback Thursday: Hall of Fame Showcase: Sting (The Black Scorpion, Ric Flair, NWA, WCW, Four Horsemen, nWo)

His time in WWE has been limited and while considered still active we have not seen Sting in quite some time. His history in the business is long and important, every feud and match a step in his career. During his tenure he was a longer and when he had a partner they often turned on him while the fans never did.

Sting, in his more colorful days.

After joining NWA in 1987 and experiencing success, and a push in NWA, he challenged Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The match ended when the forty-five minute time limit expired but this would be just a footnote in the great Flair/Sting rivalry and while there would be stretches of them not facing each other the tension remained throughout their careers. After a brief stint as a tag partner with Dusty Rhodes Sting returned to singles competition and started with a one-hour draw against Ric Flair. Flair and Sting would continue to go about their business but, after Flair was attached at the Great American Bash Sting would come to his rival’s aid. Joining up with Flair they challenged Muta and Terry Funk and, at Halloween Havoc 1989, Flair and Sting defeated Funk and Muta in a Thunderdome Cage match.
Due to his alliance with Flair Sting was put into an alliance with the Four Horsemen. However, this alliance was short-lived as Sting defeated Flair for a shot at Flair’s NWA title. Soon, Sting wasn’t just rivals with Flair but with all the Horsemen. Sting would suffer an unfortunate injury, changing the storyline and forcing Sting to ally with another former rival, Lex Luger in an attempt to push Luger to win the title since he himself was not cleared to wrestle. Luger would attempt to save Sting from an attack with from the Horsemen but lost the match. Despite his injury Sting wasn’t off screen, instead used to further the storyline without wrestling (i.e. being attacked by the Horsemen backstage).

Ric Flair and Sting, battling it out as they did for most of their WCW careers.

Sting’s return to the ring was tainted by his being stalked by a figure called The Black Scorpion who taunted Sting. This feud continued until Starrcade: Collision Course. Sting would win the match, pinning and unmasking The Black Scorpion which turned out to be Flair. Black Scorpion & Sting promos, here.
Sting’s slow change to his darker persona also brought on the idea of the vigilante. He was the first to stand up to the “Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall and eventually became one of the biggest rivals to the nWo. The nWo pretended that Sting was against WCW and at the Fall Brawl in September in 1996 an impostor version of Sting was on team nWo. Lex Luger’s refusal to believe that Sting wasn’t in on it spurned Sting into action. Sting entered the match, took out the nWo members and then left team WCW to fend for themselves. The next night on Nitro Sting went on a tirade about how everyone doubted him, how he was tired of the doubt and of the those that did not believe in him. Instead Sting announced that he would be a free agent.
After this infamous moment Sting disapeared from WCW for a time until, when the impostor Sting was wrestling Mr. JL he returned wearing his now trademark trenchcoat and face paint. After taking out the impostor and refusing to cut a deal with the nWo he became a silent vigilante, carrying a baseball bat and styled after the film The Crow. See the moment here. To this day there are aspects of the Eric Draven character in Sting’s persona, the face paint being the most obvious physically and the vigilante mind-set not only makes him a fan favorite but links him permanently to the Draven character which, for me, is one of the connections to pop culture that stands the test of time.

Sting’s more recent face paint style.

In his recent time in WWE Sting kept up his vigilante tactics, challenging The Authority and assisting those that worked to opposed and take down the powers that be in the WWE. His mysterious movements, motives and the question of whether or not he’ll even be on a show always draws fan interest. Perhaps one of my favorite surprise Sting moments from his time in WWE is when he arrived to provide Randy Orton with some back up and take down the Authority. Watch the moment here.
Whether you know Sting from the WCW days or his stint in WWE you have to know one thing, he’s the only one like him in the history of the business.

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