This Day in Wrestling History (7/7) – Sting Wins His First World Title

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Sting is known as one of the greatest professional wrestlers in history, and this day in history, July 7, 1990, was overdue for him and his fans. He was long treated and billed as the future of the NWA, and that made this all the more special. It was one of a couple of historic moments this day, and is well remembered by many fans.

Mutual respect

Previously, Sting and Ric Flair had displayed great chemistry and their matches across the country had been big draws as they built to this point. It was a rivalry built on mutual respect as they lifted their rivalry to new heights.

It was something that was appreciated by both men.

(Special thanks to @awrestling historian for the excerpt.)

“Since the first Clash of the Champions in 1988, we’d been portraying him as the future of the company. My job initially had been teaching him how to work, but it was like training a prime racehorse. He picked up his craft inside the ring and, on the run, was learning how to be a character and draw money. He’d passed every test. His knee would heal soon, I told Jim Herd, and it was stupid to change course now. For refusing to lose to Lex Luger, I was kicked off the booking committee. But I wouldn’t waver on my promise to Sting.

“At The Great American Bash in the Baltimore Arena, he cradled me as I attempted a figure-four, and became the NWA Champion. Sting was well aware of the battles I’d been waging backstage, so he stepped out of character when the title was awarded to him.

“’Listen to what I have to say. Ric Flair is the greatest champion of all time. As for me, I am a champion…only because I have some big shoes to fill,’ he told the crowd. The speech was confusing to fans.

“According to the storyline, the Horsemen and I were out to destroy the new champion. But Sting was being gracious. He was being a gentleman. And it reaffirmed my belief that I’d been fighting for the right guy.” – Ric Flair To Be The Man book

Multiple landmarks

This day in wrestling history is only getting started.

As the crowning moment in Sting’s career, this also carried more weight as it was the final Great American Bash pay-per-view under the NWA banner as WCW, formerly Jim Crockett Promotions, would break away from the NWA before the next Great American Bash, taking it and the other pay-per-views with it.

While two pages in history were turning at the same time, there were a couple of other cool tie-ins that largely go unnoticed. The first is continuing Sting’s legacy as a few months earlier, the Ultimate Warrior won the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 6. It was the first time a tag team (the Blade Runners) became world champions in the same year.

The other cool footnote is the match leading up to Sting and Flair’s main event, as Lex Luger beat Mark Callous (Mark Calaway aka the Undertaker) to keep the NWA United State Championship.

Prior to this match, Calaway began questioning his future in WCW after Ole Anderson told him nobody would pay to watch him perform, and his manager, Paul Heyman, had sent feelers out to the WWE. Calaway reportedly wrestled with a dislocated hip because he knew Vince McMahon was watching. As things unfolded, Calaway gave his notice to WCW on August 24, 1990 and his last match was September 7. The rest is history.

This day in wrestling history was a busy one, and that’s what makes it all the more memorable.

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