6 surprising facts about Sting
Were you a WWE or WCW supporter during the Monday Night War?
Your answer to that question likely determines just how much you really know about Sting. If you stayed true to WWE, you missed the maturation of a true WCW icon during a revolutionary time in sports-entertainment. If WCW Monday Nitro was more your thing, then you may have been too impassioned to objectively observe his achievements, likely distracted by the invading New World Order or the endeavors of WWE in its fledgling Attitude Era.
Whatever side you stand on in the classic WWE vs. WCW debate, one thing is undeniably true: Sting’s record is as storied as it is celebrated. So what else is there to know about the Superstar who shook the WWE Universe to its core with his long-awaited WWE debut at Survivor Series 2014? Well, here are six undisputed facts that prove Sting’s reputation as a legend of the squared circle is well-deserved — in WWE, WCW or anywhere else.
Most WCW pay-per-view appearances
The story of Sting’s WCW tenure always starts with his loyalty from the company’s infancy to the moment where Shane McMahon showed up on Nitro in 2001. What gets lost in that recap is what happened in the middle, namely the number of times the Venice Beach, Calif., native stepped up to compete in marquee events.
Chances are, watching a WCW pay-per-view meant witnessing The Vigilante in action. He appeared 99 times in person at WCW’s supersized fight nights, which includes 89 matches between his debut bout at Starrcade 1987 and his swan song at the German Millennium Final in 2000. That’s more than 20 more appearances than the next closest competitors, who happen to be two other WCW stalwarts with a deep familiarity with Sting: Ric Flair and Lex Luger.
Only WCW World Champion with war paint
Those who judge greatness by World Championship triumphs will have no reason to dispute the capabilities of Sting. The seven-time WCW World Champion reached the summit by defeating WCW’s best, including the likes of Ric Flair, Big Van Vader and Diamond Dallas Page. Yet his brave face also helped him leave an indelible mark on the history of the WCW Championship.
That’s because Sting’s septet of title triumphs occurred to a competitor donning face paint, making him the first and only WCW competitor to achieve that feat. His easily recognizable visage also made him a true sports-entertainment pioneer, as he became the first WCW World Champion wearing face paint right after Ultimate Warrior — Sting’s one-time tag team partner — completed the feat at WrestleMania VI.
Three tours of WCW pay-per-view triple duty
Ply your trade in the squared circle long enough and, for a multitude of reasons, you will eventually find yourself competing twice in the same night. Sting is no stranger to this phenomenon, having done double duty at WCW pay-per-views on six different occasions. However, what makes The Vigilante unique is that he didn’t always stop at two.
In fact, Sting competed in three different matches in a single WCW pay-per-view at three different events. At Starrcade 1989, Sting completed the squared circle trifecta by winning the event’s Iron Man Tournament. Three years later at Starrcade 1992, Sting bookended his King of Cable Tournament victory with his qualifying match and participation in that year’s BattleBowl. And to prove that three matches in one night wasn’t just a young man’s game, Sting saw triple duty at WCW Spring Stampede 2000 in his failed bid to win the vacant U.S. Title.
Defeated nine former WWE World Heavyweight Champions
Nearly 15 years after the McMahon family officially brought WCW into the WWE Universe, Sting finally followed suit at WrestleMania 31. His WWE competitive debut on The Grandest Stage of Them All certainly seemed like a fitting test for a WCW titan, especially since he was squaring off against a decorated WWE veteran in Triple H. And though The Vigilante didn’t leave victorious, he certainly came prepared — perhaps because of his past encounters with WWE’s best.
Though he didn’t compete in a WWE ring prior to WrestleMania 31, Sting does own victories in one-on-one competition in WCW against nine former WWE World Heavyweight Champions. Some of those former titleholders, like Bret Hart and Kevin Nash, came to WCW looking for a fight with the seven-time WCW World Champion, whereas others, like Mick Foley and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, encountered The Vigilante before reaching the summit in WWE. All of them fell in defeat to the man they call Sting.
PWI’s winningest Most Popular Wrestler of the Year award recipient
Granted, some might question WWE’s objectivity in celebrating Sting. After all, he never wavered as he fought on the front lines for WWE’s primary rival during the Monday Night War. So instead of choosing more evidence from his impressive record, WWE.com would like to point to a more impartial measure of his influence in the world of sports-entertainment.
Independent publication “Pro Wrestling Illustrated” honored Sting with its Most Popular Wrestler of the Year Award on four different occasions, celebrating his influence of wrestling fans from around the world. His four PWI nods ties him for the most all-time, a record he now shares with John Cena, another Superstar who’s no certainly stranger to popularity both within and beyond the WWE Universe.
First WCW World Champion outside of U.S. and Japan
It’s no easy to task to put the “World” in World Champion. While the notoriety of the status makes you an influential figure on the global scene, the idea of succeeding in a setting far from home can make lesser grapplers crumble. Because WCW’s formative years featured many encounters in the United States and Japan, anything achieved outside of those two nations would stand out just a bit more.
Once again, Sting leads the charge in this department by becoming the first to seize the WCW World Title without home-ring advantage. During a live event in London on March 11, 1993, Sting defeated Big Van Vader to become WCW Champion. The reign that ensued lasted only a week, but the ramifications of this victory helped ensure that Sting’s legacy would grow for years to come.