Retro Wednesday: Sting Wins The WCW World Heavyweight Title At Starrcade 1997


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For many years, wrestling fans recognized Sting during his days in NWA/WCW as a high-energy, buzz-cut superstar with his loud scream to keep the interaction with the fans across the arena. He commenced his legacy by defeating Ric Flair at the Great American Bash in 1990, and became a staple in the main event scene since then.

By 1996, Sting was one of the most popular wrestlers in the company, winning many championships along the way. However, there was a dark cloud over WCW, called the nWo. The faction of Hulk Hogan (who joined in July of that year), Scott Hall and Kevin Nash promised that they were taking over the company. Unfortunately—for WCW personnel—they were on the right track to accomplishing that goal.

Due to the nWo invasion, others joined the fray shortly after in hopes to end WCW as well, including Syxx, Konnan, Buff Bagwell and Curt Hennig. The WCW locker room became suspicious after the nWo suggested that Sting was the newest member of the group, even doing things such as playing a fake recording of Sting confirming this rumor.

Despite Sting exclaiming his allegiance with WCW, many still doubted. Namely, his tag team partner and best friend, Lex Luger. This caused him to come out to the ring during an episode of Monday Nitro and utter these words:

"I carry the WCW banner, and I have given my blood, my sweat, and my tears for WCW. So for all of those fans out there and all those wrestlers and people that never doubted the Stinger, I'll stand by you if you stand by me. But... but for all the people, all of the commentators, all of the wrestlers and all of the best friends who did doubt me, you can stick it."

This started an entire overhaul of Sting. No more buzz-cut, no more high octane, no more pleasing others. He had an allegiance with himself, and he proved that by executing his Scorpion Deathdrop to anyone who even mentioned his name, including Jim Duggan and Rick Steiner.

However, Sting still understood the poison that the nWo were spewing to end WCW, and he became a lone wolf to still fight for the good cause. This culminated at Starrcade 1997. "Hollywood" Hogan and the nWo were running roughshod over the WCW, and Sting volunteered to be the company savior. In a hard-fought match, Sting defeated Hulk Hogan and became WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

To this day, Sting credits this match as being one of his favorites of all time. For his character to sit up in this rafters and not say anything for a year is incredible. Sting will always be a wrestler who successfully reinvented himself, never to look back again. Definitely one of the best, and hopefully a future WWE Hall of Famer.

Classic build. Classic moment.

Follow Chris Featherstone on Twitter @cravewrestling. Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.

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