From Beginning to End, the Franchise of the WCW
Sting, born Steve Borden on March 20, 1959, began his career teaming with Jim Hellwig (later known as the Ulttimate Warrior) in Continental Wrestling Association. Together they were the Blade Runners, with Borden changing his name from Flash to Sting and Hellwig going from Justice to Rock. After a little over a year with CWA, the Blade Runners would move on to Universal Wrestling Federation. In mid-1986, Hellwig left for the World Wrestling Federation to become the iconic Ultimate Warrior. Sting join Hotstuff and Hyatt International, winning the UWF Tag Team title with Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert twice and once more with Rick Steiner.
In 1987, Sting would the National Wrestling Alliances biggest promotion Jim Crockett Promotions to start a long, successful career with the company. Sting would receive a serious push from the beginning, and became one of the few UWF alumni to find success in NWA. He even drew after 60 minutes with Ric Flair, the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. He would battle Flair’s stable, the Four Horsemen, facing each member while trying to get the world title. At Great American Bash in 1989, Sting would come out to help Flair after Flair was attacked by members of the J. T-Rex Corporation. In a shocker, Sting would join the Horsemen, who were now a face stable. His membership was short-lived and ended after he won a tournament that gave him a shot at Flair’s NWA World title.
Jim Crockett Promotions would be purchased by Ted Turner and renamed World Championship Wrestling. After Sting’s dismissal from the Horsemen, he again began feuding with the stable. However a legitimate knee injury in a Steel Cage match forced WCW to put the storyline on hold. The injury forced the promotion to give Lex Luger a push for the World title at the upcoming WrestleWar event. During the match, an injured Sting came down to cheer on Luger. When Arn Anderson attacked Sting, Luger opted to help Sting and lost by countout. The WCW brass had wanted to hand the title to Luger, but Flair refused, saying he had promised Sting to hold the title until Sting was ready to come back.
After recovering from his knee injury, Sting finally defeated Flair for the NWA World title at the 1990 Great American Bash. He would feud and defend the title against the likes of Flair and Sid Vicious. Vicious even temporarily when he pinned a fake Sting who turned out to be Horseman Barry Windham. The real Sting emerged, the match was restarted, and Sting retained the title. Sting lost his title to Flair in early 1991. During the same time, WCW seceded from NWA and recognized a WCW World Heavyweight Champion and Tag Team Champion.
In August 1991, Sting would defeat Stunning Steve Austin for the vacated WCW United States Heavyweight title. He held the title for 86 days before dropping it to Rick Rude at Clash of Champions XVII. By the end of 1991, Sting became embroiled in a rivalry with the Dangerous Alliance, led by manager Paul E. Dangerously. Dangerously stated they were going after Sting because he was the “franchise” of WCW. They wanted to destroy both Sting and WCW. At the same time, Sting was feuding with Luger who was now a heel and the WCW champ. Sting would win the first of his six WCW World titles at Superbrawl 2 over Luger. His feud with the Dangerous Alliance ended when Sting formed his Squadron of Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, and Windham to defeat the Alliance team of Rude, Austin, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, and Bobby Eaton in a WarGames match at WrestleWar.
After that feud ended, the seeds were sown for what would become arguably one of the most famous feuds of Sting’s career with Big Van Vader. He defended his WCW title on April 12, 1992, and lost after Vader splashed on Sting and broke three of his ribs and ruptured his spleen. Sting would return on July 12, and regain the title. The two men began to trade the title back and forth. The rivalry would continue into 1994.
Sting began changing his appearance from the blond flattop and colorful attire and paint to a darker look and long, black hair. Sting was the first WCW wrestler to stand up to the Outsiders team of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. When Hulk Hogan joined forces with Hall and Nash, to form the nWo, Sting would find allies in Luger and long-time rivals and Horsemen members Flair and Anderson. They formed Team WCW for the WarGames match a Fall Brawl in 1996. As the match was approaching, the nWo team of Hogan, Nash, and Hall duped the fans and Team WCW into believing that Sting had become the fourth member Team nWo. They had Jeff Farmer dressed up as Sting to further make the fans believe that Sting had indeed turned. During the match, the nWo entered with the fake Sting. Team WCW came in without Sting but Sting entered alone. He knocked out all four members of nWo, and turned to Luger and said, “Is that proof enough for you?!!” Sting gave him an obscene gesture and left the ring, leaving Team WCW at a disadvantage they wouldn’t overcome.
The following night on Nitro, Sting explained his actions and declared himself a free agent. This led to Sting disappearing from WCW television for a short time. The only matches he wrestled the rest of 1996 were in Japan for New Japan Pro Wrestling. After a few weeks, Sting began appearing from the rafters of the arena in a black trench coat and black and white dead face paint, that was inspired by The Crow feature film, carrying a baseball bat. Sting remained a free agent until March 1997.
At Uncensored, Sting finally made his allegiance known. As the nWo celebrated their victory in the main event, which guaranteed each member title shots whenever they desired, with newest recruit NBA All-Star Dennis Rodman; Sting lowered into the ring with a vertical zipline from the rafters. Scott Hall was the first to enter and was met with a baseball bat. Kevin Nash followed and then it was Randy Savage. All three men were hit with the Scorpion Death Drop. Sting then pointed at Hogan, who was ringside with Rodman; Hogan entered the ring cautiously and was met with the same aggression as his stablemates.
Sting kept appearing from the rafters or under the ring to attack unsuspecting nWo members, but declined every match offer to him by WCW Commissioner James J. Dillon. Sting finally made it clear he wanted Hogan– and his WCW World title. They finallly met at Starrcade that December. During the match, referee Nick Patrick was supposed to execute a fast pin count, but forget and went at a normal speed. Guest referee from earlier that night Bret Hart came out and accused Patrick of this and restarted the match– which Sting won. Dillon then vacated the title and Sting told him he “no guts!!” He then turned ti Hogan and said,” And you… you’ re a dead man!!!
By 1998, the nWo split into two factions. The faction led by Hogan became nWo Hollywood and continued wearing the black and white attire. The faction led by Nash became nWo Wolfpac and started wearing nWo shirts with black and red. Both factions began to vigorously attempt to recruit Sting into their faction. The pressure mounted when his two close friends, the Giant (who joined nWo Hollywood) and Luger (who joined the Wolfpac) became involved with the factions. Sting made it seem he was joining nWo Hollywood when he entered the ring wearing a black and white nWo shirt. As Hogan turned his back celebrating, Sting tore off the shirt to reveal the black and red of nWo Wolfpac. Sting wearing red face paint and black and red attire during his run with the Wolfpac.
Sting returned to his Crow-inspired look by 1999 and remained that way until the end of WCW. Sting would also win the WCW World Heavyweight belt a fifth and sixth time before WCW folded. Though not under contract with WWF, Sting fought one match for the company during the final WCW Monday Nitro broadcast– as WCW had already purchased WWF to end the Monday Night Wars.
Sting would join Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in 2003 and remain until his departure in early 2014. During his time with TNA, he won the NWA World title one time and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship 4 times. In total Sting has amassed 21 titles with WCW and TNA combined. He is also a WCW Triple Crown champion. His departure from TNA led to speculation he would sign with WWE. After the sudden death of Jim Warrior Hellwig, Sting made some appearances in interviews concerning the life and career of Warrior. By July, Sting began appearing in vignettes promoting the upcoming WWE 2K15 videogame in which he is a bonus character as both Crow Sting and surfer Sting. Sting confirmed he was part “of the WWE family” in an interview. Reports have said that Sting wants a match with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 31. Sting has yet to make an official appearance on WWE TV in person– only the vignettes have aired.