I’m willing to bet a lot of you were little Hulkamaniacs when you were kids. I don’t blame you. Tons of people were. It’s not your fault, but you were basic as hell. Me? I was that one kid in class that liked WCW more than WWF, but watched both religiously. In turn, I was a little Stinger through and through. There’s just something about flamboyant pink tights and/or American flag face paint that really spoke to me as a child, and I will still defend it to this day.
Can you blame me? Look at the ridiculous merchandise they put him on in the 90s. Of course I was a little Stinger. Aside from that, Sting was a solid performer in the ring. He had a great look, he could really move, and he had charisma out the ass. He didn’t cut deep, scathing promos, but he didn’t have to. His over the top attitude had me in the palm of his hands. Stinger also had the advantage of being paired with great opponents over the years, including the likes of Flair, Vader, Cactus Jack, and Rick Rude. Oh yeah, and all of the Horsemen. Hard to look bad, right?
Let me take you back, Sophia Petrillo style (and if you don’t get this reference, I feel bad for you – Golden Girls is my jam). Picture it! 1996! Things were changing and I had no idea how far it was going to go. Vince’s guys were taking over and turning people on WCW. All I wanted was for Sting and Flair to feud for the rest of my life. I was an easy kid to please.
We’ve well established that Hogan was the third man in the NWO. I was shocked, but I wasn’t nearly as bummed as some of my friends, because Sting was still WCW through and through.
Or was he?
I’ll never forget that fateful Monday night. It was a week before War Games and the nWo had been hinting that Sting was going to betray WCW and join the dark side. They even played an alleged phone conversation where Sting confirmed he was jumping over. I wasn’t so easily swayed, however. I’d been watching WCW for years. Sting was the franchise. He would never leave. That’s when it happened.
When “Sting” hopped out of that limo and attacked Lex, my heart sank faster than Hogan’s legacy in 2015. Do you know what it’s like to have to go back into 8th grade on Tuesday morning and deal with a bunch of jabronis that think the nWo is the coolest thing in wrestling? I knew they were going to mock me, and rub it in my face that my hero jumped ship. It was at that point, that I legitimately shed a tear, angrily walked towards my fucking sick binder of WCW trading cards, and ripped up the Sting card shown above. I was through with that traitorous snake. Did he have any idea how difficult it was to stick with him and WCW as long as I did? I hated him with all of my being for what he had done to me. I was WCW all the way, you scum! ALL THE WAY!
Tuesday came and I knew a reckoning was upon me, so I did the only thing I knew I could do: deny everything. Yeah, I straight up told those peons in my class that it wasn’t Sting, and that the nWo set him up. I spun that web of lies so tightly, even I got caught in it. Little did I know, I’d get some retribution on Sunday.
To cut to the chase a little, it was later that weekend, and I had my eyes glued to the footage from Nitro that they replayed on WCW Saturday Night and Main Event. I had developed a keen eye for noticing real Stingers over the years and it let me down on Monday. I let my emotions get the best of me and it fucked my world right up. I lost a valuable piece to my very impressive WCW trading card collection because of it. This time I saw the truth so clearly. They got a fucking jabroni to dress up like Sting! So, Sting will still be at War Games and come be the hero for WCW, right?
Nah, not quite.
The rest of WCW wasn’t quite as trusting or forgiving of the Stinger. Luger and the Horsemen told him to buzz off when he attempted to plead his case, leading to World Championship Wrestling going into the War Games, one man down. The nWo, on the other hand, paraded jabroni Sting out as their fourth guy in the match, and he helped them secure the upper hand. Until lo and behold, the real Sting bolted to the ring and cleaned nWo house.
I had never been so fucking stoked in my entire life.
So yeah, he walked out on them that night because the butthurt was strong, but I understood. Even I believed he turned for a few days. The next night on Nitro, he stood in the middle of the ring and told WCW and the fans to stick it and walked away. That was the beginning of one of the most bad ass storylines in professional wrestling. Yeah, the culmination was absolute garbage, but it didn’t ruin the journey.
Me? I lost my favorite version of Sting forever after those events. Fortunately, in return, my favorite wrestler got to tear it up for a while longer. Whatever Sting is now to fans, the man made me so invested in him that I shed a tear and broke stuff. It’s the little things like that, that make you an icon.
Looking For Further Sting Coverage?
Click HERE for a piece entitled, “Sting vs. Vader (Starrcade 1992): Beauty Is Pain.”
Click HERE for a piece entitled, “Night of Champions 2015 and Sting’s Warrior Moment.”
Click HERE for a piece entitled, “Starrcade 1997 and Sting’s Botched Moment.”