Of course, before reading part two you should check out part one of the series which aims to look at the Evolution of the Sting character in World Championship Wrestling from 1996 to 1998. Here’s the intro excerpt from part one to give you some perspective of what to expect and what the goal of this series is:
This feature will look back at the most lucrative and famous period in the long, long career of Sting: 1996-1998 WCW. With a week by week look (thanks to YouTube and Daily Motion, a vast majority of this time is available at the touch of a finger) over six parts, you will be able to see again or for the first time the memorable transformation and incredibly slow build that highlighted Monday Nitro for over a year. Is it as awesome as fans remember or will the nearly 17 years that have passed bring it back down to Earth?
Now we’ve set the stages, let’s get into it!
September 16, 1996
During the show, without music, Sting walks out to the ring while the announcers play it up as though it’s a shoot and unplanned. The crowd cheers him and in a 3-minute promo with his back turned to the camera, he tells WCW to shove it for doubting him. He considers himself a “free agent” and he’ll “pop in” when no one expects him. (2:12 of the clip)
This segment proved to be the last time that version of Sting would be on television.
He wrestled in Okayama, Japan for NJPW where he beat Masahiro Chono in the first round of a tournament on September 19. Two days later in Kourakuen Hall in Tokyo, he lost to Shiro Koshinaka in the quarterfinals.
His final match ever in Japan was on September 23 in Yokohama where he teamed with Lex Luger to beat Arn Anderson and Steven Regal.
Based on the great reference tool (TheHistoryofWWE.com), Sting worked a handful of house shows between October and mid-November. The final listing for a house show match was days into 1997 when he and the Giant wrestled in Little Rock, Arkansas. I can’t say whether they were 10-minute matches or less, but he was essentially off the house show circuit completely after January 3, 1997.
Note though, that Sting did not wrestle a formal television match for well over a year. Seriously.
WCW circa 1996-97 is a completely different kind of company than modern WWE, but just imagine John Cena going three weeks on Monday’s without wrestling, let alone more than 365 days.
October 21, 1996
Weeks go by and nothing happens. During a match involving Fake Sting (with the nWo minus Hogan at ringside), real Sting casually walks down the aisle. He has white face paint and a black leather trench coat. He gets into the ring and takes out Fake Sting while the nWo watches.
Finally, the nWo gets in the ring (again, everyone BUT Hogan) and welcomes him.
Sting calls the fake version a cheap imitation and plays coy about his intentions before walking out.
November 4, 1996
Sting begins the gimmick where he is spotted in the rafters of the arena, by his lonesome in the dark.
Mike Tenay interviews Jeff Jarrett by the entranceway while the camera cuts to the top of the arena to reveal Sting.
Now with the white face paint and black over his eyes and mouth with the classic Crow Sting look, he just watches Jarrett talk, scouting you may say.
November 11, 1996
Jarrett is posing and acting like a jackass during his match with Chris Benoit when Sting walks into the ring, gives him the scorpion death drop and leaves.
Was the former Double J not worthy of whatever Sting is planning?
November 18, 1996
Sting appears in the rafters watching a Flair/Jarrett promo. I bet pro sports scouts got a kick of this part of the story. After all, the guy is just chilling and taking mental notes.
Later on, he goes into the ring during a Lex Luger interview with Mene Gene Okerlund. The baseball bat makes its first appearance (though not the all-black color he’d be famous for using) and he points it at Luger. He shoves the Total Package before handing the bat to him and walking away.
(Nothing to do with Sting, but even in the seconds you see him on camera here, what Mene Gene added to broadcast that not a single person in a similar role for the past 10 years can even come close to touching)
November 25, 1996
Rick Steiner was wrestling Big Bubba (The Big Bossman) and Sting appears from the corner of the arena. He walks all the way down to the ring and scorpion death drops Steiner. He leaves as Bubba gets the pin fall victory.
What. The. Hell.
December 2, 1996
Rick Steiner wanted to fight Sting, which led to this main event. Sting comes out of the crowd with the bat, because as Mark Henry says today, THAT’S WHAT HE DID!
Sting turns his back and Rick attacks him. It’s a little comical deal where Sting won’t hit him and in about 90 seconds, Sting finally hits the scorpion death drop.
(Pre-Big Poppa Pump) Scott Steiner tries to protect his brother but Sting pushes him aside with the bat. He points at Rick before handing over the bat and testing him. Rick goes to hit him but Scotty stops him. So, he was the smart one.
He walks near the nWo announce crew (Bischoff insists Sting will join them) but stops before entering the locker room, he leaves through the crowd. Remember, he’s still a loner, for now.
December 16, 1996
Here, there was supposed to be a rematch between Rick Steiner and Sting. Both the Fake Sting and Real Sting showed up at ringside in the same gear/paint (though you knew which was which because Jeff Farmer looked nothing like Steve Borden).
Both bats end up with the Steiner Brothers and Real Sting scorpion death drops the phony before walking away.
Despite what Tony Schiavone says Sting has not spoken since October 21.
In the main event, a tag match between the Outsiders & Faces of Fear turns into a big brawl (by 1999, fans of WCW television were more apt to anticipate show-ending brawls than actual matches). Big Bubba reveals he’s now with the nWo, and the group proceeded to kick ass. Finally, the WCW locker room empties and things are evened up.
Mayhem in the ring. The nWo comes back, Scott Norton turns and joins them and they have Chono, too. WCW has Dave Sammartino. WOOOOOO!
Finally, Sting walks out of the back and heads to the ring. Arn Anderson acts a fool and goes to chop him but Sting defends him. This repeats with WCW’s Mongo McMichael & Rey Mysterio until Sting is sick of it and bolts.
December 23, 1996
Mysterio defends Sting and they replay this video from the WCW production folks to the tune of ‘NEED A HERO.’ Forget the Miz, this is awesome.
There was a match between Rick Steiner & Jarrett, which saw Fake Sting interfere (for whatever reason, Tony Schiavone still could not tell the difference between them). The future TNA founder somehow and without explanation pinned Fake Sting. Perhaps it’s some of that TNA/Vince Russo logic from the future making its way back in time?
With the final segment heading into Starrcade, Rowdy Piper and Hogan brawl, the nWo comes out and Sting watches from the rafters.
December 29, 1996
Live Gate: $113,040
Buy rate: 380,000
*In the non-title main event, Rowdy Piper beat Hogan. But, not before a dumb as a brick fan jumped the barrier, went after DiBiase and then jumped in the ring to try to get at Hogan. Hulk and the ref got the idiot out of the ring and after that nonsense, Piper escaped the grasp of the Giant and won with the sleeper hold. Giant would leave/be kicked out of the nWo after this.
*In the match between (nWo) the Giant and (WCW) Lex Luger, ref Mark Curtis is inadvertently knocked out of the match. That brought out crooked ref Nick Patrick. While Lex has Giant up for the torture rack, Syxx (X-Pac) interferes and kicks Luger in the face.
This brings out Sting, who comes out of the crowd with his bat. He knocks Patrick out of the ring, tells Luger something (the location of the bat), and he tells Giant something (presumably the same information) and exits. Luger is the first to get the bat and uses it to win.
January 6, 1997
The nWo beat the hell out of the Giant and left him lying in the ring. They went for the headsets by the commentary booth to gloat. Sting comes out from the locker room, hits the ring and wakes the big man up. He whispers something to him and then points to the nWo with the bat. The bat ends up with the Giant as Sting leaves.
Now, the future loneliest wrestler in America, Vincent is sent to the ring to get his licks in. Unfortunately, he has no luck and is nailed with the bat by the Giant.
January 13, 1997
Good ‘ol Hacksaw Jim Duggan wants Sting to help WCW and gets a scorpion death lock for his trouble.
*The main event for this show was champion Hogan defending against the Giant. What happened? You guessed it! The match was interrupted by nWo interference.
January 20, 1997
Randy Savage starts Nitro by taking over the show. He holds court in the ring and when random officials try to stop him, their asses are whooped. After about 10 minutes or so, Sting literally repels (for the first time) from the ceiling. Like a boss, h walks casually to the ring, with his bat.
He pokes Savage with the bat, hands it over (TEST TIME) and turns his back.
Macho Man throws it back and they leave together through the crowd like best buds.
This concludes part two of this series. Sting has scouted the WCW roster for guys he can trust and apparently a team of guys who can compete with the always growing nWo. Lex Luger, the Giant, the Steiner Brothers and Randy Savage are on Team Sting, or so he thought. Remember, this is not even the end of January yet and there are still 11 months until Starrcade 1997. That’s a lot of television to produce and move this story along. In part three, the question to answer will be, what does Sting want?