Sting's Famous WCW Stunt Was Much Scarier Than It Seemed

Sting's war against the nWo was one of the most memorable storylines in WCW, not only for Sting's silent, mysterious aura but also for the famous stunt in which Sting rappelled from the rafters to confront members of the faction. "The Icon" performed this stunt for two years, but in a 2004 interview with Wrestling Epicenter (per Pro Wrestling Stories), he revealed that he could have died the very first night it was executed.

"You know, it was scary," he recalled. "And we did it a couple of different ways, and it didn't matter which way we did it; it was always scary." While the entrance was one of Sting's signature stunts, he was never comfortable with the stunt.

Sting recalled the atmosphere as being hectic before he performed the stunt for the first time on "WCW Monday Nitro." The former WCW World Heavyweight Champion was trained for the stunt on the same day that it made its debut on television, and he practiced it four times beforehand. Even with all of that preparation, nothing prepared Sting for the difference between rehearsal and live broadcast.

"The cue comes –- the crowd is as loud as you can imagine, and the sound just travels up — it's deafening," Sting told Wrestling Epicenter (via Pro Wrestling Stories). "And then we're talking to each other up there, and then you're screaming at each other — the pyro's going off, the lights, and suddenly you can't even think straight; you can't even hear yourself think. That's how chaotic it is up there."

One step away from death

Just as Sting was about to take the plunge for the first time, he and the technicians saw that something was wrong. 

"When I stepped over, we realized we had the thing set up backward. So while I was standing on the edge, we had to flip the rope around and then reweave it through." Sting believes that if he'd not reconfigured the rope, he would've plummeted to his death.

Even though the WWE Hall of Famer performed the stunt numerous times with no problems, Sting was never comfortable doing it. He discussed this at Ace Comic Con in January 2018, stating that he was scared every single time he performed it.

So popular was Sting's rappelling entrance, that WWE attempted to parody it with a character called The Blue Blazer, played by Owen Hart. The Blue Blazer talked like Hulk Hogan, all "taking vitamins and drinking milk" and rappelled to the ring, only for the harness to comically malfunction just feet above the ring. 

Hart died at the 1999 Over The Edge PPV, falling from the top of Kansas City's Kemper Arena while attempting the entrance, after the quick-release mechanism that was used for the comedic stunt failed, turning a parody into a tragedy. After learning about Hart's death, Sting changed his entrance out of respect for Owen and his family.

Sting stopped rappelling for a while after Hart's death until he was approached by WCW President Eric Bischoff and other officials about reviving the stunt. Complicating Sting's feelings further, Owen's older brother Bret "Hitman" Hart was a part of the WCW roster at the time.

Sting's stunt after Owen Hart's death

Sting didn't do the stunt until he'd received approval from Bret, as he explained during an interview with fellow Hall of Famer Jim Ross on "The Ross Report" in 2020.

"I talked to Bret and I said, 'What do you think? I'm not going to do it if you don't want me to do it and if your family doesn't want me to do it, I will not do it.'" Sting recalled. "He ended up talking to his family about it and he called me and said, 'Steve, we're all fine with it. Go ahead; it's not going to hurt.'" Sting performed the stunt after Hart approved but Sting's days of rappelling from the ceiling soon drew to a close. WCW was shuttered just a couple of years after Owen Hart's death, and Sting soon went to the Australian World Wrestling All-Stars promotion after the closure, before joining TNA, now known as Impact Wrestling, in 2004.

During his lengthy tenure in TNA, Sting never performed the stunt, nor did he during his brief stint in WWE. Now, Sting is in AEW, and while he isn't rappelling from the rafters anymore, he's still defying death with brazen stunts like jumping off of balconies and ladders alongside his mentee, Darby Allin. With Sting's retirement announced for AEW Revolution 2024, there is still time for Sting to revive the spectacular entrance, but whether he does will likely be up to the man himself; the man called "Sting."