Run, Blade Runner, Run: The Story Of Sting
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part 2: Flair
After Starrcade '87, Sting began a campaign for his first major title. I, admittedly, though that this was just another war-painted, Road Warrior wanna-be, bigmouth who was all show and no substance. Well, I would've gave you that opinion when I first saw him during a peliminary bout on World Championship Wrestling. I mean, the "Stinger Splash" in the corner? Granted, Sting is a big man but that move works best for men weighing about 350lbs. or more. Then, he developed the "Scorpion Deathlock" as his finisher. By then, I was saying " much better, but let's see what will happen when he has to fight one of the NWA's top superstars."
Of course, that was my ignorance coming to the forefront for not recognizing (until years later) that the UWF had it's share of tough wrestlers in its own right. Guys like Rick Steiner, Eddie Gilbert, Steve Williams, Ted Dibiase (yes, this man was once a great wrestler), The "Original" Fabulous Freebirds, Chris Adams, Terry Taylor, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and others. Still, I wondered what would happen when Sting faced someone of high caliber on a nationally televised match.
That question was answered in January of 1988 when JJ Dillion, during one of Sting's matches, scoffed at Sting challenging Ric Flair for the NWA World Title. He even threw champagne in the Stinger's face!!! Sting, incenced, dragged the manager into the ring and beat him senseless!!! This prompted Flair, Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard to hit the ring. By that time, however, Sting had left the area.
Flair, feeling he had "Horsemen Pride" to defend, agreed to face Sting in February of 1988 on World Wide Wrestling for the NWA title (this was back when World Wide actually had good matches). Here I sit watching and thinking, "this guy (Sting) is about to get his a** whipped!!!" Bear in mind, I was no fan of Flair's but I just thought that he was far superior to Sting. While he did retain the NWA title, he took a tremendous beating from Sting. In fact, Sting put him in the "Scorpion" and did not release the hold for about 3-5 minutes!!! Barry Windham and Lex Luger held off the Horsemen (who were comming to save Flair). Flair left the ring on a strecher for one the rare times in his career!!!
This led to their famous 45 minute draw on the first Clash Of The Champions card on March 27, 1988. Again, Sting withstood everything Flair threw at him and nearly won the match by submission when the time ran out. That was when I started to re-think my assesment of Sting. I still though he had a long way to go but he definitely had what it took to be the best!! After that, Sting teamed with Lex Luger to win the Jim Crockett Senior Memorial Cup in Greensboro, NC. They defeated the Horsemen team of Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson in the finals to win. This is when things started to get interesting for Sting.
Next: Spikes And Mist
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at email@example.com.
Irvin Griffin Jr. is a regular contributor to Solie's as well as the Ringside Insider and other publications.
Some big things seem to be happening this week.
JJ Dillon announced on Monday that he was planning to confront Sting next week with a "contract offer" to try and get him back in the ring "sometime in September". This squares with the rumors that have been swirling around Steve Borden for months now. However, now there is a new rumor afloat that it may not be until January before we see the Stinger on the mat again. This story says that Sting is unhappy with the current situation vis-a-vis Hollywood Hogan and is holding out for a better offer.
I doubt the latter story simply because I don't think WCW can afford to keep their most popular athlete on the shelf (or in the wings) for that much longer.
There is even some speculation about a possible attempt by the WWF to steal away WCW's franchise player. This one is a non-starter in my opinion. I have no doubt that WCW has this guy sewed up. It's about as ludicrous as suggesting that Shawn Michaels thought he could get out of his contract...
Speaking of the Heart Break Kid - what in tarnation is happening there..? A few weeks ago the rumors had him trying to break his contract because he found himself unable to work with Bret Hart. As stated in my opinion above - that idea went nowhere - Michaels has a long-term, ironclad contract.
So now they have him once more involved in an angle with the guy he can't work with..? My take on this whole story is that the backstage "fight" between these two was a work from the beginning. Michaels needed some time off to heal his knee (or whatever...) and that angle was cooked up to accomodate him.
The latest rumor to surface has Shawn eventually joining up with the Hart Foundation. I have mixed feelings about this one because I doubt that two egos like Michaels and Hart could exist in the same stable - certainly there is no way I see Michaels subordinating himself to the Hitman.
It's too bad really because I have always maintained that Michaels makes a much better heel then he does a face. Better certainly then Bret Hart, who, in my opinion has been shading his latest heel turn by appealing to the Canadian fans, thus retaining a hero-role model facet while doing the most dastardly things.
I will be back on Sunday night with my Summerslam report. I have a family obligation that afternoon so I will probably come home and watch the PPV on tape. Expect my report to be late. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
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