What’s it like to be in the ring with Sting? The Vigilante’s rivals and allies weigh in
Sting is one of the most legendary wrestlers to ever step foot in the squared circle. He’s also unique in that, until last November’s Survivor Series, he had never been seen inside a WWE ring. Many thought The Vigilante competing in WWE was a pipe dream, while others had never even witnessed the painted warrior do battle.
As Sting prepares for his first official WWE match against Triple H at WrestleMania 31, WWE.com reached out to the Legends and current Superstars who have shared the ring with The Vigilante to get an inside look at the type of competitor Triple H is facing at The Show of Shows.
William Regal on Sting’s reliability
“At a very young age, Sting was thrown in the deep end with the best in the world and survived. This may offend Triple H, but he had a more gradual build into things. Sting’s got that on his side, that he had to step up to the plate very quickly. To be able to do that at such an early stage shows something a bit extra.
“Sting was there from when the NWA was bought out and became WCW. He was there until the last match on the last show. People came and people went, but Sting was always there. He was WCW’s John Cena. People relied on him to take care of business, any invaders or people they didn’t like. They knew Sting could get the job done.
“He had incredible battles with Ric Flair and brutal matches with Vader. If you can survive Vader when he’s at his best, you can survive anything. “
Goldust on Sting’s influence
“Teaming with Sting was awesome, because he was larger than life. I was young and up and coming, and got great reactions with Sting, which was a lot of fun. [Teaming with Sting] let me see that you can do certain things to get reactions without having to overdo other things.
“He has lots of energy. As soon as he walked out there, he was The Stinger. He had everything.
“Triple H was [in WCW] when I was there. We were both young up-and-comers. Sting was a crafty veteran then, but now, so is Triple H. This is going to be very interesting to watch. It’s one of my top two matches to watch at WrestleMania.”
Mike Rotunda on Sting’s black and white reinvention
“I think it just gave Sting a different demeanor. He looked at his opponents differently. It was something that brought out the dark side of him. He was more aggressive and out there to make a statement. It was something out of a storybook, with one guy standing for what he believed in and willing to take on a group as dominant as The nWo. Obviously, he was pretty successful, picking guys off one-by-one.”
Big Show on Sting’s heroics
“To fight evil, sometimes you have to become evil. That was a brilliant move to embrace that darker side.
“You still knew the good Sting was there, the guy you grew up with and cheered for, the guy with the big smile. But you saw this other guy that had all this anger toward the nWo; he really exemplified a character that, in a superhero kind of way, could stand up at the plate and take everyone on by himself. A lone wolf kind of deal. And with the unique ways he would enter the ring, dropping down from the ceiling or blackouts before he would show up, he kept the element of surprise.
“I think the thing about Sting today is he hasn’t changed. Though his character has developed, the core value of who he is and what he represents hasn’t changed. He’s got a fan base from so many years of being someone you can depend on, kind of like John Cena. He’s been through so many trials and tribulations, and been able to stick to his guns. That’s what we respect in a hero.”
Arn Anderson on Sting’s determination
“When you’re one of the best wrestlers, as I was and The Four Horsemen were, you obviously want to trade blows and holds with the best in the world. Sting just happened to want to be the flagship of the company, and that’s what he became. He also represented the moral majority, at least in his mind. We didn’t care; we took public opinion and flushed it in the toilet, where it belonged.
“Sting wanted to do the right thing. Didn’t make him any less of a wrestler, but it gave us an advantage, because we’d go to any lengths, 4-on-1, to dog pile him into submission. That’s what we did. The thing is, he didn’t stay down. He kept coming and kept coming. He wouldn’t stay down. “
Booker T on Sting’s aura
“He’s an enigma. He’s mysterious and lurked in the shadows for many, many years. It’s an aura that draws you to him. Guys like that, they’re one of a kind. People have wanted to see him here in WWE for many years. I think people are intrigued by him.
“I think Triple H knows what he’s in store for. He’s conquered the business, putting himself in power as COO of a money-making company. That right there says a lot about his drive and determination. I don’t think he’s going to underestimate Sting. It’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. However, I know since 1998, when DX invaded Nitro, Sting has wanted to get even. WrestleMania’s going to be a war.”
Michael Hayes on Sting’s confidence
“I teamed up with Sting when he was first on his ascension. One of his breakout moments was when he teamed with me and Jimmy “Jam” Garvin at Starrcade 1987. He did that amazing over-the-top-rope leap onto Rick Steiner.
“I teamed with him later, as he was moving a few rungs up the ladder. The biggest difference I could see is that, while he was still hungry, which is what carried him through his career, he now had confidence that he could do it. There comes a time in a performer’s life when you hope you can do something and a time when you know you can do it. The last time I teamed with him, he had that.
“Sting brought a lot of energy to the ring. The Freebirds first met him in UWF, when he was teaming with Rock, who would later become The Ultimate Warrior. They had energy, but were very green. Once Sting got on his own, he started to experiment. He’s a very energetic guy anyways, and that’s what works, when it’s 50 or 60 percent, or even more, of your actual personality in the ring. Once he put himself on the map and was able to dance with Ric Flair for 45 minutes, it all changed for the best for him.”