Wrestling / Sting

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"When a man's heart is full of deceit, it burns up, dies, and a dark shadow falls over his soul. From the ashes of a once great man has risen a curse, a wrong that must be righted. We look to the skies for a vindicator, someone to strike fear into the black hearts of the same men who created him. The battle between good and evil has begun. Against an army of shadows comes a dark warrior. The purveyor of good, with a voice of silence and a mission of justice. THIS. IS. STING."
— Voiceover from WCW Clash of the Champions XXXV

HE DOES THIS, HE DOES THAT ♫ HE'S QUICK AS A CAT, AND HE HITS YOU WITH A BAT ♫ Wait, how does it go again...?

Steve Borden, Sr. (born March 20, 1959), better known as (The Man Called) Sting, is one of the most famous icons in American pro wrestling. He is a 15-time world champion, WCW Triple Crown champion, and the only person ever to hold NWA, WCW, and TNA world titles in his career. He spent the majority of his it with WCW, becoming the face of the company for years, and wrestled almost exclusively as a babyface.

In his storied career, Sting has faced a multitude of in-ring legends and competed in some equally-memorable matches: the highlights being Ric Flair, Vader, and The Great Muta. And of course, his occasional manhandling of the New World Order. Sting vs. "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan is arguably the biggest wrestling feud ever: The entire world tuned in to watch their feud. Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon is really close, but Sting vs. Hogan gave wrestling a kick into the mainstream like nothing before, or after.

He might've had many more dream matches if it weren't for that neck injury. Sting made his WWE debut during that time: He challenged Triple H in the run-up to WrestleMania 31, then feuded with Seth Rollins, which unfortunately spelled the end of Sting's career. He was the inaugural inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016, where he officially announced his retirement from wrestling. So now Sting is the third person in the WWE Hall of Fame with a baseball bat. (Technically both Pete Rose and Randy Savage would rank above him.)

Do not confuse with the trope, the musician (Gordon Sumner), the film, the Stinger missile, the dagger used by Frodo and his Uncle, or the painful infliction of the same name.

Tropes associated with STIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Sting has a great gimmick for this sort of thing. He can show up to shows, hit people with a bat, and leave. All while taking no bumps. Since WCW closed, he's gone on hiatus several dozen times, and every match he's had is billed as a possible retirement match. Looks like Sting interfered in a match with Brian Cage in 2017.
  • Achilles in His Tent: From late '96 into much of '97. WCW paid him big money to do nothing but grow his hair out, show up in the rafters once every few months looking somber, his face paint slowly morphed from colorful to black and white, and his mannerisms changed over the year. The build-up to Sting vs. nWo was unprecedented. To have Sting (their homegrown talent) not wrestle for a year-and-a-half, and Hogan enjoy a (semi) uninterrupted run as World Champion, was almost unprecedented.
  • Actually a Doombot: The New World Order arranged for Fake Sting (Jeff Farmer) to join the nWo and make people think bad of him. Later on, as they built towards Hogan vs Sting at Starrcade, the nWo would often have guys come out dressed as Sting and even dummies wearing wigs. On one occasion they made it look like Sting had fallen from the rafters and been hurt.
  • Advertised Extra:
    • His eventual WWE run was a bit of a non-starter due to his injury, and an excuse to further beat the dead horse of the Monday Night Wars.
    • His hyped-up Puerto Rican debut at WWC Aniversario (2013) ended up being a dark match.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Sting was welcomed into The Four Horsemen, only to be kicked out of the group by Flair. Granted, all of Sting's friends turned on him at one point or another, but Flair did it like a billion times.
  • All-American Face: Surfer Sting originally. He was always a comic book character (think John Cena), but then he nWo started taking over the product, and ex-WWF guys were ruining his home company. He went into mourning, and the vengeful black-and-white Sting was the product.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: He is the complete package and one of the most silently-influential wrestlers, if what you want is an underdog or an all-out badass.
    • Surfer Sting defined the athletic-but-simplistic style for mid-sized babyfaces (i.e. 'power moves you can't possibly screw up') which paved the way for the "Ruthless Aggression Era", particularly John Cena. (The Big Show has corroborated this.) His run in '92 is full of career-defining PPV matches that have all been recreated in some form by guys like Cena and Reigns.
    • Sting vs. Undertaker was a persistent dream match of the last thirty years: Similar bad-ass loner gimmicks, both goth-themed wrestlers with a connection to the afterlife who have been known to carry pet birds (a vulture for the Deadman) into the ring, creepy promo packages in darkened stadiums, etc. There's another parallel as well: Roman retired Taker, Seth retired Sting. Both were members of The Shield (prompting speculation about who Dean Ambrose will someday retire). But, realistically, it's more about both guys staying loyal to their brands. They were the backbones of their respective companies. Both men bridged several generations as main event players (even if it wasn't their name put up in lights), and both were locker room leaders. The Crow gimmick also coincided with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin attacking people in authority.
  • Animal Motif:
    • The scorpion and (later) the crow. His name evokes the scorpion, whose nasty telson on its rear has enough venom to kill most small animals.
    • In a promo before his match with Flair at Clash of the Champions XXVII:
      Sting: "I am an 18-foot great white shark (imitates shark sounds) and I'm hungry!"
  • Anti-Climax:
    • At Starrcade '97, Hogan was supposed to pin Sting with a fast-count from the ref, prompting Bret Hart to come out and restart the match (why Bret had the power to do this was left unexplained). The match would then restart with Bret as the guest ref or enforcer, who called for a quick bell when Hogan was in the Scorpion Deathlock, evoking The Montreal Screwjob instead of letting Sting win cleanly. One of the biggest builds in history, spoiled by an overbooked finish.
    • The infamous 88-second match with Jeff Hardy. Sting's "I'm not mad, just disappointed" face is the best thing to be had from this match. It was around this time that they were building up toward WrestleMania 27, and there were rumours that he was in talks with WWE, but he decided to stay with TNA instead. Couple of weeks later, this happened.
      Audience: [chanting] THIS IS BULLSHIT.
      Sting: I agree.
  • Antihero Substitute: The WWE video package called him Timeless, but he's the most of-his-time character there is. One look at Surfer Sting and you can tell it's the early 90s. Later, you can tell it's the late 90s.
    • It happened at a time when so many allegiances were questioned, people picking sides: nWo or WCW. The nWo used a fake Sting to make the WCW universe think Sting had turned his back on the company. At the 4-on-4 WarGames match, the real Sting showed up to prove he wasn't the defector. After cleaning house, he looks to Luger and says "Is this proof enough for you?" and walks away, leaving his team in a 4-on-3 handicap to lose. The next night, he denounces the doubters, and declares himself a free agent. He wanted to test who was and wasn't truly his friend before becoming a face again. Interestingly, he went from a successful babyface to another successful babyface. That doesn't happen in wrestling.
    • Along with Kevin Nash, Sting later formed his own splinter group in '98: nWo Wolfpac, an admission that the whitemeat faces of yesteryear couldn't fight the nWo on even terms.
  • Art Evolution: He changed with the times. It was a necessity.
    1. Surfer Sting: Appearance wise, he randomly stopped dying his hair and spiking it at some point in 1996 (even prior to the nWo). Then he cut the promo with his back to the camera, declaring himself a free agent. He kind of disappeared for a while, then showed up on Nitro (October 21, 1996) in whiteface. It's the same "Warrior"-style facepaint as before, but not colorful, just black and white. (It made sense as a dark riff on his Surfer image.) This is kind of mid-evolution.
    2. Crow Sting: The face then transitioned to a uniform whiteness, with black eyes and black lips, and gradually became scarier as the black streaks emanating from Sting's eyes multiplied, grew thicker and longer and more thorn-like, until they were almost more prominent than the whiteface itself. Pretty soon it was modeled on the Crow version down to the last detail, apart from a big, lawyer-friendly frown (instead of Lee's glascow smile).
    3. Icon Sting: After signing with TNA in 2006, Sting would occasionally add red streaks to the black and white in his major matches. In 2011, "Icon" Sting's makeup became a less monochromatic hodgepodge of black and red interlocking streaks on a white canvas, thus evoking both the colorful pre-1996 look and the demonic "Wolfpac" makeup. The chin stripe allowed Borden to grow out a soul patch in real life. (Most people assume the patch is part of his paint when they see it.) It later took on a "Joker" appearance which, along with his weird behavior, didn't particularly go over with fans.
  • Bash Brothers:
    • Lex Luger (at least for a little while), The Road Warriors, Ric Flair, and the Steiner Brothers.
    • In the beginning, the war paint evoked The Ultimate Warrior. There's an explanation for this: Sting and Warrior were buddies when they started out in the business, and they soon learned that painting their faces was cheaper than getting masks. The designs, supposedly, were always improvised on the spot.
    • Sting and Kurt Angle were close in TNA. They were the original Main Event Mafia.
  • Batter Up: In a situation where he is outnumbered, or Sting can't out-wrestle his opponents, his bat is used as an equalizer; kind of like how Triple H lugs around his Sledgehammer. Speaking of which, throughout their entire feud, Triple H recoiled in terror from Sting whenever he pulled out his Louisville slugger, even though Haitch was holding a sledgehammer every time. This came to a head during their match in the spot where Sting somehow SNAPPED THE SLEDGEHAMMER IN HALF with one swing from his bat. Even Road Dogg is in the back like "how could this be?"
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Sting trusts everyone. They turn on him. He beats their asses.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Survivor Series 2014.
  • Big Good:
    • We begin in 1990. Pre-Hogan, Sting was usually the #1 or #2 babyface, depending on what Flair and/or Luger were doing at any given time. Sting was often the one to lead the charge against the top heels. He assembled a stable to fight the Horsemen in the summer of '90, and the Dangerous Alliance from late 1991-mid 1992. When Hogan turned heel, Sting was the torch bearer for the company. If there was a hope to stop the nWo, Sting was it. Although he wasn't successful (it was Bischoff's and Hogan's show, after all), he did fracture it by convincing Savage and other wrestlers to align with him.
    • He helped to organize the Main Event Mafia because he felt the younger guys in TNA were getting too disrespectful. From the very start, he predicted that most of its members would betray him, but at the end of the day, his uncompromising beliefs inspired the younger guys to follow his example. He left after the Bound for Glory main event in 2009, when the new world champion, AJ Styles, beat him to retain the title and then gave him the floor as a sign of respect.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Scorpion Death Drop (an Inverted DDT) isn't exactly the most exciting finishing move, but you'd be a fool to think that slamming someone on the back of their head isn't a believable finishing move.
  • Breakup Breakout:
    • Sting is the breakout star of the Blade Runners, and it was immediately apparent.
    • Sting had longevity, but Warrior is the third biggest face of that era, behind Hogan and Savage. Warrior didn't really draw though, seeing as his title run was a disaster.
  • Bullying a Dragon: This is the origin of Joker Sting. Mr. Anderson kept following him around and misbehaving — until the Stinger snapped.
  • Butt-Monkey: Death, taxes, and Sting getting betrayed.
  • Captain Ersatz:
  • Career-Ending Injury: Rollins retired Sting with a single buckle bomb at Night of Champions (2015). In an interview, he said he knew he had to tuck was thinking "just tuck your chin, Steve", but for whatever reason, he couldn't do so in time. (Also, it sucks that Seth's dream match ended this way.) He was diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis. Austin has it, Edge has it, Cena has it. Sting later said on Legends with JBL that he hasn't had surgery because, "That would definitely be the end of (his) career", and that he holds out hope for one final match with The Undertaker. Following 'Taker's own retirement a year later, Steve revealed that he is still medically capable of wrestling, but has decided to stay away.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Cupping his hands together and yelling "Owwwwww!" Later evolved to "Whoooo!" Possibly as a tribute to Ric Flair.
    • The only thing that's for sure about Sting... (pause for effect) is Nothing's For Sure. — the last words he ever spoke before transitioning into his "Crow" gimmick.
    • It's SHOWTIIIIME, folks!
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Steve was a bodybuilder before getting into wrestling and, in his prime, he was strong enough to slam super heavyweights such as Vader and The Giant.
  • Chaste Hero: Karen Angle tried to convince Sting to become Kurt Angle's tag team partner, playing to his altruistic side and the example he they could set for their children. Sting ended up teaming with Angle to become tag team champion in the long run but at the offer he told her to change her dress if she really cared about children.
  • Charlie Brown from Outta Town: The super-friendly face got super-dark and stalked the heel for a year.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Sting just walloping the nWo in the face with a baseball bat for 20 years.
  • The Comically Serious: His "Crow" gimmick. Inverted with his "Joker" gimmick.
  • Composite Character: When Sting wrestled Jeff Jarrett at TNA's Bound For Glory, he wrestled shirtless and in a jacket, like Surfer Sting. He also the hair and facepaint of Crow Sting (with some Surfer designs mixed in with it) and his tights were red and black—the colors he wore during his time with the nWo Wolfpac.
  • The Cowl: He would come to the aid of WCW guys during nWo attacks, make sneak attack from the rafters with a bat, use decoy Stings for interference and mind games. Never wrestled a match. J.J. Dillon would try and sign Sting on for matches and Sting would tear up the contracts. But whereas the nWo tore apart the entirety of WCW without a problem, Sting became so cool that he could dismantle them with his black bat and toy with them.
  • Creepy Crows: The Joker segment when he brings out a bird and holds Bischoff hostage in his own office.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Sting will goofily stroll into situations like opening man-sized birthday presents and NOT expecting someone to burst out of one and attack him, or being replaced by evil doppelgangers, or being haunted by Ric Flair doing magic tricks in a mask with a voice changer. But he’ll come out stronger on the other side. He derps into situations, but is blessed enough to derp out of them.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Sting felt like WCW had turned their back on him, so he turned his back on them. There's a slow transition just before that, when he grows his hair out and wears darker tights, but the turning point was when Sting told WCW to "stick it", and disappeared to the rafters. WCW without Sting was unthinkable. The nWo was able to basically do whatever they wanted. Suddenly, the crowd saw a raven, and then a shadowy figure in the rafters. The lurking, the leather duster, the baseball bat, the fact that he never spoke a word and you could never tell what side he was on. His intentions really were played up as being mysterious. Once it became clear that he was on his own quest to stop the nWo, get retribution, and whatnot, he was insanely over as a babyface.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • After the arrival of Hogan and Savage in WCW in 1994, Sting was reduced to working in tag team and midcard feuds until he transformed into Crow mode.
    • The nWo going over Sting at Starrcade (1997). Eric Bischoff thought that Sting showed up untanned and out of shape. He was well aware it would kill Sting. If it hadn't been for Goldberg coming out of nowhere, the dip in business would have been more precipitous.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Before they split, he and Warrior were a pair of interchangeable big guys who evolved into a Road Warriors ripoff. After they broke up, they became two of the most distinct characters in wrestling, with very little in common except the facepaint.
  • Dramatic Unmask: On an episode of Impact, Sting, wearing a cheap Sting mask, popped out and clobbered Rob Van Dam with a chair. The idea was to make him look like a fan until RVD got close enough for him to strike. The joke is that Sting's expression after removing the mask is indistinguishable from the mask itself.
  • Dynamic Entry: You never knew when might see him drop from the ceiling with a bat and go crazy.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Sting was a multiple-time World Champion before putting on the Crow makeup and a lot of his best matches (especially against Vader and Flair) happened before Nitro was conceived. Just looking at the two together, though, it's hard to believe it's the same person.
  • Enemy Mime: October 1996-January 1998: This is when Sting went silent. Didn't talk for about a year. WWE seemed to be going this route until he started cutting promos mid-March 2015.
  • Enemy Without: Halloween Havoc 2000. Finally settling the question of "who is better, Surfer Sting or Crow Sting?", Sting was attacked by incarnations of his past selves who interfered in his match with Jeff Jarrett.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Most of Sting's career was based around his friendships constantly turning on him, yet he insisted on trusting every person he came in contact with.
  • Evil Knockoff:
    • There was a significant build to Crow Sting, but it really started with "Fake Sting" getting the drop on wrestlers and then disappearing. It planted seeds of doubt in both the viewer and the wrestlers, before slowly letting the viewer in on the fact that it wasn't really Sting committing all these.
    • Vampiro was a self-professed "antihero" to Sting. The pair continually tried to one-up each other with horror movie traps: blood buckets, Graveyard Matches, Human Torch matches, and burials.
  • Excuse Plot: Sting spent the majority of 3 years fighting the nWo, then had ha long feud with Hogan spanning several promotions. Then Hulk does a run-in at WM32 in the middle of Sting vs. HHH. There was so much about that match that didn't make sense (Shawn Michaels is heel now, member of The Kliq are fighting each other, the commentary was in a weird position having to agree with JBL, etc.) that viewers kind of had to roll with it. Wolfpac would have been more logical than the original nWo, but the original Wolfpac consisted of Konnan, Nash, Luger, and Macho Man—so the only one who could have shown up was Nash. If you need a kayfabe excuse, it's been 15+ years since that feud, let bygones be bygones, and the WCW guys were coming out to Sting against their WWE rivals.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Sting with the Peter Gallagher hair. He stopped bleaching it in late 1995 and let it grow long over the next three years, coinciding with his switch to the Crow gimmick.
  • Facial Markings: Ever since his Blade Runners days, alongside the future Ultimate Warrior and "Cowboy" Bill Watts (Mid-South/UWF territories).
  • Fast-Roping: Sting rappelling to the ring from a helicopter. He pulled off a lot of insane stunts in those domes. WCW were doing everything and anything to win.
  • Feel No Pain: Granted, being a professional doesn't necessarily increase your tolerance for receiving a baseball bat to the face, but wrestlers who work a gimmick which is completely dependent on the character's superhuman threshold for pain tend to be pretty much capable of shrugging off any pain that would make lesser men break character (see: Undertaker, Kane, Mick Foley).
  • Fighting Fingerprint: Most fans knew the nWo Sting was an imposter in the WarGames match before the reveal. ("We want Sting!" chants could be heard while Farmer was in the match). Not only was Jeff Farmer noticeably larger than Steve Borden, but his movements were slower and more sluggish, and his Stinger Splash was way off. When the real Sting appeared, the nWo didn't recognize him until he started doing his signature moves. After witnessing him go to work, Nash admitted nWo Sting was a bogus impostor. Lampshaded by Tony Schiavone when the real Sting eventually did come out: "There's no questioning the elevation of those Stinger Splashes! That is Sting!"
  • Finishing Move: For most of his career, the Scorpion Death Lock submission. Many people attribute it as a ripoff of Bret Hart's Sharpshooter. Sting was doing it years before Bret did, but in fact can be attributed to Japanese wrestler Riki Choshu (it helped that the actual name Choshu used, "Scorpion Lock", for looking like a scorpion upon execution, fit Sting's gimmick). In late '96, Sting would add the Scorpion Death Drop, which is an inverted DDT, to his moveset. It would become his primary finisher in later years.
  • Five Moves of Doom: As Crow Sting. No-sell opponent's offense, hulk up, beat chest, punch, backhand, punch, Irish whip into corner, Stinger Splash, Scorpion Deathlock.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: Sting was seen watching Hogan and Bischoff carefully up in the rafters, which longtime fans instantly knew meant that Sting didn't trust them. He spoke only in cryptic language, and everyone Sting ambushed over the next seven months was either in on their conspiracy or being used. This ensured a line of resistance, however thin, would be there to stop Hogan. TNA apparently thought this storyline had legs in 2003.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: During his stint at TNA, he once hid underneath a mask to ambush RVD. What kind of mask? A Sting one.
  • Foreign Remake: Fake Sting (Jeff Farmer) was implausibly popular, lasting 3 years in WCW, off and on. Once his storyline wrapped, he was sent to NJPW to become part of their nWo Japan stable. He competed under the gimmick independently well into the early 2000's until his retirement.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Sting had the worst luck with friends. Lex Luger and Ric Flair loved to beat him up. Flair turning on him at Halloween Havoc '95 is a standout moment: they built up to Flair getting the hot tag forever, only for him to instantly turn on Sting (after a strut, of course). Flair and Sting are known for their rivalry, but they were allies on a number of occasions. There's a kayfabe respect there, plus the fact both of them were fighting against the nWo at various times.
    • The Great Muta. They eventually teamed up in Hawaii Championship Wrestling.
    • He came back to TNA in March (which seems to be a regular thing for him) of 2011 and defeated Immortal's "champion", Jeff Hardy, for the World Heavyweight title (which Sting later retained in an infamous squash match) thanks to some aid from an anonymous network representative, who turned out to be Mick Foley.
  • Good Is Dumb:
    • "The dumbest man in wrestling" gag didn't start to take off until 1990. Sting had a tendency to always trust wrestlers, no matter how many times they stabbed him in the back. He also has a history of joining tag teams or stables full of vicious backstabbers when he really should have known better. Flair was perhaps the king of screwing Sting over, but we also saw it with Kevin Nash coaxing him into the seemingly-heroic Wolfpac, only to lay down for Hogan during the "Fingerpoke of Doom." Never mind that Ric and the Four Horsemen love making his life hell, or that nWo was the entire reason he adopted the Crow/vigilante persona. Nah, I can trust those guys, he thought to himself before getting kicked in the head. The incident with the Aces & Eights was another example of Sting putting his faith in the wrong people (in this case Bully Ray). Hence the phrase, "Sting-level dumb." For instance, Becky Lynch had the misfortune of being the victim of a few heel turns (by her friends or tag team partners), so people equate her to Sting in that regard.
    • The TNA years were a subversion of his "Dumbest Man in Wrestling" run from the late '80s to mid '90s. His attitude strongly hinted he was turning heel, but it was actually for a good cause, and each time his plans came to fruition somehow.
  • Good Is Not Nice: "Crow" Sting was good because it was an actual character change, not just a repaint. Along with being silent and brooding, he would do little dick moves, like how he left the stadium with only DDP in tow (see "Gunship Rescue"). Flair and Roddy Piper were still stuck down there and getting beaten up by nWo. Something which Surfer Sting, a naive babyface, would never sanction.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Sting never swore, even before he found Christianity. However, he does occasionally use profanities such as "crap", "piss" (as in pissed off) and "hell" (usually referring to the actual place).
  • Groin Attack: One of Sting's signature moves was a spot where he and his opponent were exhausted. Sting's opponent would fall in front of him, spread eagle, and Sting would fall forward, delivering an inadvertent headbutt to the groin.
  • Gunship Rescue: The context behind Page leaving via Sting's zipline. You had the usual nWo beatdown thing going on: DDP did a run-in but got overwhelmed. As the nWo surrounded him, Sting held everyone off with a bat while he rigged up the tandem cable between himself and Page. DDP was wearing a trench coat to hide the harness setup, something he never normally wore. That stunt may have been the riskiest one they ever tried. ("Wrestling segments you could only do pre-Owen Hart")
  • Hazy Feel Turn:
    • WCW tried turning him heel in 1999, and the fans kept cheering him. They also booed everyone who tried to "bring him to justice". After a month or two they just dropped the angle and pretended it never happened.
    • During his Main Event Mafia run, Sting attacked fan favorites Samoa Joe and AJ Styles, and even then only got mixed reactions. He did not participate in any MEM beatdowns and (for the most part) acted like a face.
    • He underwent another turn in 2010 after attacking Hulk Hogan on the first Monday night edition of Impact. It lasted for about ten months, and he only turned face because Hogan himself turned heel.
  • He's Back: "All Hell has broken loose...AND HELL BROUGHT WITH HIM A BASEBALL BAT!" Sting finally returned to the ring in the run-up to Starrcade '97.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Wolfpac Sting fought Bret Hart, and wound up getting beat up by his own bat. And here's Miss Elizabeth destroying him with his own bat. Sting's own bat turned on him, dammit!
    • Kurt Angle later got hold of the bat and swung it him (the headshot with a bat almost never works in wrestling), only to accidentally crack Sting's skull open. In WCW, people got hit in the face in by a gimmick rubber bat. This one was real. After the blow lands, Kurt is so horrified that he doesn't move for a solid five seconds. Then, when Sting gets the bat back, he turns around and has blood pouring from his forehead.
    • How Sting lost to Bobby Roode at 2012's Victory Road. A steel chair had been set up in the ring. Sting apparently forgot it was there, and went to give Roode the Scorpion Death Drop—with the chair right behind him! He ended up smacking his head on the seat of the chair, knocking himself out and allowing Roode to pin him for the three.
  • Hurting Hero: In one episode, Sting accidentally hit Lex Luger with a splash, which made Luger further think he was turning traitor - and the nWo sold it. It wasn't a mystery why he starting changed after that. Sting was a good guy who was hurt because all of his friends didn't believe in him anymore.
  • I Am Spartacus: On the October 13, 1997 episode of Nitro, the nWo were swarmed by people leaping into the ring with Sting masks. Finally, Sting himself, also in a Sting mask, entered the ring. Buff Bagwell punched him and Sting no-sold it, thus confirming it was the real guy. He gave Bagwell the Scorpion Deathdrop and unmasked himself, sending a panicked Hogan and the rest running for their lives.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Joker Sting disrespected Hogan in front of Ric Flair. Flair got angry enough to call the match between the two of them back on after Hogan convinced Flair not to. Other highlights included pretending that TNA put him in charge, then tricking Immortal into going along with matches that put them at a complete disadvantage (like the Anderson vs. Angle steel cage match with Fortune at ringside), and the night he coaxed a confession out Hogan in front of the audience. For more details, see TNA.
  • Insult Backfire: Roode called him a lunatic before an impromptu match with Bully Ray on March 8, 2012 Impact. He considered it a compliment and thanked Roode each time. Before Roode, it was Karen Jarrett, who called him crazy and received a "thank you" when he intruded on an meeting in his mismatched red suit.
  • Keet: This ad for WCW Magazine explained why Sting is so gullible. HE HAS A CHILD'S BRAIN.
  • Laughing Mad: In 2011. The fact that he's laughing his head off as he's getting beat up is what finally gets under Hogan's skin.
  • Leitmotif: Vigilante Sting got an original theme tune for 'Mania 31, "Out of the Shadows".
  • Lightning Bruiser: Back in his prime during the 90's, while he was never exactly what you would call a high flier, he was ridiculously fast and agile for a guy his size. Even in 2015 at 56, he was still doing dives from the top rope out of the ring.
  • Malevolent Masked Men:
    • "Fake Sting" taking off his mask to reveal that he's the real Sting isn't something new. However, when he did it in WCW at least he wore a wig along with the mask, and in WCW, seeing a flock of Stings in the crowd wasn't unusual.
    • The night of his rematch with Mr. Anderson, five guys dressed as circus clowns (actually Kurt Angle and members of Fortune) ran interference on Immortal to ensure a fair bout.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Sting is an example of the type of guy you could watch at any moment of his career and see someone who epitomizes the positive aspects of professional wrestling. Who would have guessed that this painted ghoul is a born-again, All-American boy next door from Nebraska (and a real estate agent, at that)?
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words: From the "Last Rites" Match at Destination X 2007: "What does it feel like to die? I believe it’s a choice. See, you can choose darkness and finality, gnashing of teeth. Or you can choose life."
    WrestleCrap: Just so I have this straight…for Sting, dying feels like a choice, wherein one of the choices is in fact to live.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Simply put, the less he spoke and the less he wrestled, the more over he got. He became so famous for this in WCW that practically any wrestler standing on a high place sternly looking down at a group gathered below him will be said to be "pulling a Sting" in English media.
  • No-Sell:
    • He's no sold strikes from Samoa Joe, during Joe's Nation of Violence phase no less!
    • He's no sold a baseball bat to the face from Kurt Angle (Sting tried to catch it but missed). Well, Sting didn't sell the bat but it did bust him open.
    • One of the few men to successfully counter the Steph-Slap, truly a HOF-worthy achievement.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: "Joker Sting" is a lot less strange if you interpret Sting's antics as him trying to screw with Hogan (and later Bobby Roode) and goad him into a match, rather than actually going insane. He dropped it after actually being given the match.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In the four months after becoming TNA's General Manager, Sting turned into a petty bureaucrat who kept pushing Roode for his unorthodox wrestling style—and failing badly at it. Every inescapable situation he put Roode in would prove to be pretty damn escapable: Roode even tricked Sting at Against All Odds into helping him beat Jeff Hardy to keep the belt. This was later shown to be another fake-out, with Sting playing the ineffectual GM in order to get Hogan back in the GM chair (so Sting could get back to wrestling).
  • Older Than They Look: Borden was 37 when he transitioned to Crow Sting, 47 when he started full time in TNA, and 55 when he debuted in WWE. In all instances, he looked at least 5 years younger. The facepaint was a exfoliating mask all along. (He's starting to look his age now that his hairline's receding.)
  • Paint It Black: WCW sort of gave the game away when Sting stopped dying his hair. Then he started growing it out, and you had this happy go lucky surfer guy who was betrayed by his friends turn into a brooding, otherworldly character.
  • Parts Unknown (in his Mid-South/UWF days): "Every Man's Nightmare"
  • Perky Goth: Wolfpac Sting was a throwback to the cocky, early-90s peroxide Sting. Then his post-Wolfpac Crow persona carried that over as well. This became increasingly apparent in late-era WCW. In late 1999, Lex Luger was using a can of mace as a weapon. During the Sting-Luger match at WCW Starrcade 99, Luger's valet Miss Elizabeth tried to interfere by spraying the mace — but it turned out to be filled with Silly String.
  • Power Stable:
    • (in Mid-South/UWF): "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert's The First Family -> Hyatt and Hot Stuff International
    • The Four Horsemen: Briefly, at the end of 1989-beginning of 1990, when Flair and the Andersons kicked him out at Clash of the Champions X.
    • Dudes With Attitudes, his loose assemblage of faces fighting against the Four Horsemen in Summer 1990, comprised of himself, Lex Luger, the Steiner Brothers, the Junkyard Dog, "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff and El Gigante.
    • Sting's Squadron: Sting, Koloff, Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes, and Barry Windham. Their opponents were The Dangerous Alliance, consisting of Rick Rude, "Stunning" Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko, and managed by Paul Heyman.
    • Crow Sting had the nWo Wolfpac and the Main Event Mafia: Controlled opposition against the nWo and Aces & Eights, respectively.
    • The Millionaires' Club
  • Real Song Theme Tune:
    • The Blade Runners used Styx's "Castle Walls"
    • (with Rick Steiner): Billy Squier's "Everybody Wants You" and The Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)"
    • Metallica's "Seek and Destroy" in WCW from 1999-2001. Fun fact, this version of Seek and Destroy is from their Woodstock '99 performance. WCW released an album in 1999, including this version of Metallica's "Seek and Destroy", the Filthy Animals' theme, Hogan's "American Made" theme, and Crush 'Em, which was Megadeth's contribution and later became Goldberg's theme.
  • Red Baron:
    • The Stinger
    • The Franchise [of WCW]
    • The Icon (in TNA and WWE)
    • The Insane Icon (in TNA as Joker Sting)
    • The Vigilante (in WWE).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Warrior's Red.
  • Religious Bruiser: Not a lot of people know that Sting had a Christian rap/rock entrance while in TNA.
  • Reverse Mole: His two heel runs in TNA turned out to be exactly this. The late 2008 turn to join the Main Event Mafia was a matter of spreading his message of respect, which he knew they would initially embrace before eventually turning against him. The early 2010 turn happened because he knew Hogan was corrupt but also that nobody would ever believe it.
  • Ring Oldies: To put this in perspective, he's 6 years older than The Undertaker, the longest serving member of the WWE (who would retire the year after Steve did). Taker was with WWE all the way from 1990 until the present day. Sting was with NWA/WCW from beginning to end.
    • NWA: Working as a professional wrestler since 1985, he was recruited by a talent scout named Rick Bassman to train with three other wrestlers known as Power Team USA. Then known as Flash Borden, he and fellow Power Team member Jim "Justice" Helwig (who later became the Ultimate Warrior) were called up by Jerry Jarrett (father of Jeff) and joined the Continental Wrestling Association as the "Freedom Fighters". The two later joined Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation in 1986 as the "Blade Runners"; Borden and Justice renamed themselves Sting & Rock respectively.
    • WCW:The majority of Sting's career saw him working in dub-see-dub from 1987 (back when it was still known as Jim Crockett Promotions) until the company's demise in 2001, where he became the company's biggest star during the nineties. Starting out as a bleached blonde surfer bum type, he later transitioned into the Brandon Lee-inspired look which (apart from an ill-conceived Joker costume in 2011) he's retained to this very day. He even wrestled in its last match, defeating his friend and fellow veteran Ric Flair.
    • TNA: Prior to 2014, Sting had never worked for WWE in any capacity since WCW's demise. Choosing instead to have control over his career and his gimmick, Sting worked the independent circuit until around 2006, when he became an on-again/off-again member of the TNA roster, with multiple title reigns. Sting's run in TNA will probably go overlooked, but Sting vs. Styles was a well-received match, and it was roughly 20 years after Sting's physical prime.
    • WWE: He left TNA in early 2014, taking several months off until April, appearing on a WWE special following the death of his good friend and former tag team partner Warrior. He has since appeared in other retrospectives on Warrior's legacy, sparking rumors (correct, as it turned out) that he was in talks to perform on WWE television. On the July 14, 2014 episode of Raw, Sting appeared in a spot for the WWE 2K15 video game as a pre-order bonus character. Sting made his official WWE debut at Survivor Series 2014 attacking The Authority and ruining their match against Team Cena.
  • The Rival
    • Ric Flair, from the first Nitro to the last and even at Clash I. Sting didn't draw in 1990, because he was stuck in a below-average feud with the Black Scorpion. He didn't have a strong heel to work with other than Flair. In wrestling, you need strong heels in order for the babyface to draw money.
    • Rick Rude. There was legit heat between these two; Bischoff, along with Flair, tells the story of Rude aggressively campaigning for the top spot in WCW . (At one point, Bischoff needed to retrieve the belt from Rude. Rude was mostly silent, walked Bischoff out to his car and opened the trunk. Inside was a gun sitting prominently next to the belt.) But some of his best in-ring work was his matches against Sting. It ended when Rude bumped the edge of the raised platform after being dived by Sting from the ring and tore two vertebrae—terrible set design on WCW's part. To Rude's credit, it happens early on, and he easily wrestled 10 more minutes to finish the match.
    • Cactus Jack: Beach Blast 1992. Just be ready to cringe at some of the bumps Foley takes. Also, if you want to see something so horribly bad it's good, Sting and Foley were on opposite sides of something called the "Chamber of Horrors" at Halloween Havoc '91.
    • Vader basically killed Sting for a living at one point.
    • Sid Vicious: Vader/Sid once tried to kill Sting on national TV with a bomb on a boat at a kids' party. These two were also involved in a legendary promo, "The Shockmaster", which consisted of Davey, Sting, Sid etc. all shouting nonsense over each other.
    • Meng: Most notably the Sting/Meng match from 1995.
    • The crow and the New World Order go hand-in-hand, really. Hogan became Hollywood the instant he dropped the leg on Savage at Bash at the Beach in '96, but the nWo had to have a rival who was credible, and Sting was the only one charismatic enough to be that in WCW; but they needed him to change, so they did it over a long period of time only giving you glimpses of him, and by the time he returned to action, he was a new character, the Deadman of WCW.
    • He isn't too fond of Triple H for helping to kill WCW, although so far, we have only WWE's revisionist history to back this up. Sting's beef seems to be with Heel Bosses in general. JJ Dillion, the WCW Commissioner, kept trying to sign him to matches vs the nWo and Sting kept declining before finally pointing to a "Hogan" sign, setting up Starrcade '97. Sting did the same thing at Road to WrestleMania by staring at Hunter and pointing at the huge WrestleMania sign.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • The bat "trust test". He tested multiple WCW members to attack him with it while his back was turned.
    • His routine of pointing a bat directly under his opponent's chin. Hunter sold it as though he'd stuck a sawed-off shotgun in his face.
  • Signature Move: The Stinger Splash.
  • Spot the Imposter: In the month-long build to Fall Brawl 1996, nWo Sting attacked Luger in a dark parking lot in the middle of a rainstorm. From then on, it was people accusing Sting and him denying it. This is separate from the WCW guys not knowing if Sting was on their side. After their '96 betrayal and his free agency declaration, it was unclear if he was going to return as nWo or WCW. The nWo marched out a number of men (notably Nash) in Sting masks to cause chaos at different times in 1997, but the ruse was always clear after a few minutes.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Beginning with the nWo feud. He can cut the lights somehow, warp from the cheap seats to the center of the ring, and also summon clones of himself.
  • Tag Team:
    • The Freedom Fighters/The Blade Runners, as Flash, w/Rock (Warrior)
    • With Lex Luger.
    • The Superpowers in 1993, w/Davey Boy Smith
  • Taking the Bullet: Nikita Koloff returned to WCW at WrestleWar '91' and attacked the U.S. Champion, Lex Luger. Koloff, who had squashed Tommy Rich earlier that night, ran down to the ring with his Russian chain around his arm to attack Luger. Sting pushed Luger out of the way and took the shot himself. Sting would feud with Koloff for the next few months. Later, during the WarGames match between him and Sting's Squadron in '92, Koloff appeared to be arguing with Sting about something, but then pushed Sting out of the way and, to quote Jim Ross, "took the bullet from Anderson and Austin" himself.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: His final appearances (and indeed, much of his career) in TNA were spent fighting a power grab by a corrupt regime consisting of the company's legit ownership going mad, and failing due to the numbers game. His first appearance ever in a WWE was spent the exact same way, with the numbers largely neutralized beforehand, and it was a smashing success.
  • Tranquil Fury: The nWo was claiming Sting was with them, even to the point of having "Sting" run out in nWo gear and attack Luger and Savage. One week, Luger called Sting out to confront him about it all and just ripped into him. Sting didn't say a word but spoke through his actions later that night by beating the piss out of the nWo.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • The Wolfpac looked like it would be the thing that finally ended the nWo. Instead, was all a ruse to keep the belt on Hogan. Sting must have felt so betrayed. Again.
    • He then led the fight against Aces & Eights... whose leader turned out to be Bully Ray, one of Sting's lieutenants. Bully may have had everyone fooled, but Sting had the bright idea to reform the Main Event Mafia to take out Aces & Eights, rather than to serve Kurt Angle's maniacal ambition.
  • Verbal Tic: Sting has a tendency to repeatedly say the name of the person he's talking to in promos.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Sting starting to talk again was actually a big deal. His California accent can be quite prominent when he speaks, and it did not fit his brooding look and personality.
  • White Mask of Doom: THAT'S NOT STING, THAT'S A ..... wait, no it is actually.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He has Stinger Splashed women before. Miss Elizabeth (by accident), Sherri Martel (by accident), Madusa and Miss Madness were all recipients.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Wrestling/STing