This Day in Wrestling History (4/2) – Sting’s WWE Hall of Fame Induction

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There are some wrestlers we expected to see in the WWE Hall of Fame, and Sting was one of them. Known the world over, he’s one of the most renowned wrestlers over the last few decades. He was often dubbed “The Franchise of WCW,” he was loyal to the NWA then WCW before moving on after 2001. While his career in the WWE is a mix, what he accomplished throughout his career made him a WWE Hall of Famer on this day in wrestling history, April 2, 1916.

Humble beginnings

Due to his extensive time spent at Gold’s Gym in San Francisco, Sting was initially hired by Red Bastien and Rick Bassman to recruit fellow bodybuilders to fill the fourth and final spot in Bassman and Bastien’s stable, Power Team USA. When the recruits didn’t work out, Sting was offered the job and eventually agreed to join despite not really being interesting in professional wrestling.

He spent ten weeks training before debuting in Memphis, Tennessee in the Continental Wrestling Association in 1985 as Flash Borden, a play on Flash Gordon and his real last name, Borden.

In 1986, Power Team USA disbanded, leaving Sting and Jim “Justice” Hellwig to form the Universal Wrestling Federation’s version of the Road Warriors, The Blade Runners. At this time, Sting officially changed his in-ring name from Flash to Sting, becoming the wrestler we all know, and Hellwig (who would eventually become the Ultimate Warrior) changed his to Rock.

Rock left the promotion in mid-1986, leaving Sting to team with their former manager, Eddie Gilbert (they won two tag team championships), and later with Rick Steiner to win a third tag team title.

NWA/WCW years

Dusty Rhodes liked what he saw in the charismatic young man, and began pushing him as the NWA’s top face shortly after Sting joined in 1987 at that year’s pay-per-view, Starrcade.

As luck would have it, Sting was attacked by the Road Warriors after a televised match. Turning the legendary tag team heel wouldn’t be an easy task, so Dusty Rhodes teamed with Sting to challenge the Road Warriors for the tag team championship at Starrcade ’88, where they won by disqualification.

Sting would enhance his name further by facing Ric Flair for the world championship, and their first match ended in a 45 minute draw. The two would continue their wars throughout their careers, making them one of the greatest feuds in wrestling history as they traded the championship back and forth a few times.

It was around this time that Sting realized he wasn’t being paid as much as his NWA companions because of the stigma of being from the UWF. In Sting: Moment of Truth, Sting said he approached Ric Flair as he was struggling to make ends meet. Flair told him he’d take care of it, and Sting’s paydays increased to match or surpass the rest of the wrestlers as he was a top draw.

When Ted Turner bought Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW was born, Vince McMahon, in a precursor to the Monday Night Wars where he’d lament talent leaving for more money, started poaching WCW’s top talent by offering huge paydays (Sting: Moment of Truth).

Some of these names included Ric Flair, who had been having payment disputes with WCW’s powers-that-be, and Lex Luger. Through this, Sting stayed loyal to the company that made him, and continued as the backbone of the company as they began bringing in former WWE stars like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.

Through it all, Sting was the main constant.

He saw a resurgence during WCW’s most active time when the nWo took off like a rocket. He changed his image from a bleached-blond surfer persona to a quiet and stoic Crow Sting. He remained quiet for 18 months as he watched live events from the rafters, occasionally interfering when he felt it best.

It was probably the most popular storyline he’d ever been involved in, but the end of the storyline with him facing “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan at Starrcade ’97 was weak and left fans disappointed.

Still, Sting remained loyal to WCW, winning the world championship once more from Randy Savage and feuded with Bret Hart and Vampiro.

He closed out WCW on the final Nitro by facing Ric Flair a final time.

While his career continued with TNA Impact and WWE, many think of him and know him from his NWA/WCW days, and that feel right.

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