The Evolution of Sting
I have watched the evolution of Sting since his beginnings as a member of the four man team of Power Team USA as Flash in 1985. I first saw Flash & Justice (Jim Hellwig/Warrior) wrestle as the Freedom Fighters in the CWA, they were massively built and extremely stiff (slow and cumbersome). The Freedom Fighters had moderate success before being moved on to Bill Watts Mid South for seasoning as the team of the Blade Runners, they were renamed renamed Rock & Sting joining Hotstuff and Hyatt International as heels.
Given Watts extensive travel scheduling with less time for working out The Blade Runners became sleeker versions of themselves and were better wrestlers given the wider variety of experienced wrestlers in Mid South wrestling. In 1986 Rock left and Sting became a championship tag team with Eddie Gilbert. They won the Mid South Tag Title twice together before Sting was teamed with Rick Steiner for a 3rd title run.
In mid 1987 Sting turned face and became the UWF Television Championship (Mid South was renamed UWF) defeating Eddie Gilbert. The UWF was absorbed into the Crockett's version of the NWA which had bought out the WWF’s 2 hour time slot on TBS thus giving Sting his first national exposure as part of a 3 man team as the first match of the 1987 Starrcade pay per view.
His strong showing led to his featured match against NWA Champion Rick Flair in March 1988 on TBS & Crockett's 1st Clash of Champions opposite the WWF Wrestlemania show. Sting wrestled the NWA Champion to a 45min draw cementing Sting as a top talent in the NWA. Over the next 13 years Sting won every major title in the NWA/WCW multiple times. In 1996 Sting became a featured part of the WCW/NWO storyline eventually morphing the crew cut colorful make up Sting into the long haired black and white face paint trench coat wearing Crow inspired version of Sting which became his most popular version of his character.
With the sale of WCW to the WWF Sting sits out the rest of his personal contract with Turner Broadcasting, on expiration of the contract he begins wrestling independent shows around the world as the World Champion of the WWA until losing a Title unification match in 2003 to NWA Champion Jeff Jarrett. For the rest of 2003 and thru 2004 Sting wrestled in the NWA/TNA promotion.
In 2006 Sting returned to the TNA a series of matches on Pay Per Views and cable TV leading up to Sting winning the NWA Title again on October 22, 2006, in the Title vs. Career match at the Bound for Glory PPV. After losing the title back to Jarrett he twice won the tag titles with different partners. Sting also twice won the NWA/TNA Heavyweight Title and then in Oct 2007 Sting joined the Main Event Mafia faction and stayed in the group until mid 2009 and then left the promotion.
The beginning of 2009 Sting returned appearing in the rafters again, he returned again in March and turned heel, he wrestled as a heel for the rest of his contract until the end of 2010. He returned in Feb 2011 and defeated Jeff Hardy for his 3rd TNA Title region. After his title loss in May to Mr. Anderson Sting slowly showed sign of his going insane, his character morphed into a bizarre version of Heath Ledgers Joker from the 2008 remake of the Batman series. For the rest of 2011 he repeatedly challenged for the World Title unsuccessfully.
In 2012 Sting wrestled for titles, was TNA general manager and was involved in most of the shows main storylines, not bad for a wrestler in the end of his 3rd decade as a pro wrestler. Sadly his physical health was being affected even with the less stressful schedule of TNA. In Oct 2012 Sting became the first inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame and for the rest of 2012 into 2013 Sting was involved in the Aces and Eights storyline with mixed results. He restarted the Main Event Mafia and wrestled until Dec 2013 again featured in most of the main storylines. When Sting’s contract wasn't renewed so he lost a loser retires match by interference to E.C. III.
With the end of Stings TNA career the WWE was finally able to convince Sting to do spot work for the WWE on interviews, panel discussions, promotions on DVD productions, wrestling games, documentaries on his and the Warriors careers. Finally in Nov, Sting appeared in ring and foiled HHH’s interference in the main event of Survivor Series. Last night on WWE’s main event 3 against 1 match involving John Cena, Sting came out on the ramp and distracted HHH and his stooges long enough to allow John Cena to win the match with the crowd chanting “We want Sting”.
Whether or not Sting wrestles for the WWE makes no difference. He bridges the gap between “old school” and WWE version of “sports entertainment” better than anyone who has tried to do the same by reinventing himself to his own beat.