We are throwing it back to July 7, 1990 – Sting wins the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
As I mentioned on the first episode of our newly branded Fight Game Podcast, we’re getting ready to record a new podcast project based on the post-Ric Flair WCW era in 1991. I’m even thinking of titling it “We Want Flair” because if you were ever at a house show during this time frame, that’s what the crowd was chanting throughout the show.
My buddy John LaRocca is going to join me on the project. We hope to start recording soon and get a few episodes up before the end of the summer.
In order to discuss the era in thorough fashion, you have to go back a couple of years. Jim Crockett Promotions had a one of their most memorable years in 1989, utilizing Ric Flair in his familiar role of heel champ early on, losing and regaining his title from Ricky Steamboat and then turning babyface in his feud with Terry Funk. This led to a Sting and Ric Flair union as Sting joined the Four Horseman.
The union was a really just a setup for Flair to turn back heel so that Sting could challenge him for the World title. Sting won the Iron Man tournament at Starrcade in 1989, which made him the number one contender.
At the 10th Clash Of The Champions, Sting was kicked out of the Horsemen for signing to face Flair at WrestleWar 1990. It was a great angle. Ole Anderson said that he signed his death warrant. And then they beat him up.
Unfortunately, Sting hurt his knee later that night, which put off the match with Flair until the summer. In his place, Lex Luger had title matches at the next two PPVs, WrestleWar and Capital Combat, losing the first by count out after saving Sting and then winning the second by disqualification in a cage match.
This set up Flair’s title defense at The Great American Bash PPV. Because of possible Horseman interference, Sting’s buddies were allowed to be ringside. At this point, Sid Vicious and Barry Windham were in the heel stable.
Sting won the match, which wasn’t nearly as special as their famous first match at the original Clash Of The Champions. I think the fans were ready for Sting to win the title and after time and time again of Flair leaving with the belt, the expectation in the crowd was that it was time for Sting to win. The match was worked around Sting’s injured knee. Jim Ross and Bob Caudle tried to sell that Sting was 100% on the stair master, but you didn’t know if he was 100% in the ring.
Flair used the Figure Four and Sting had to work selling the knee for the entire match. He finally put Flair in the Scorpion Death Lock and for the first time during the match, the crowd started to rise. The Horsemen attacked, but The Steiners, JYD, and Paul Orndorff helped stave them off.
Back in the ring, Flair went for the Figure Four again, but Sting used the move to set up a cradle to pin Flair.
We’ll have more posts about this time frame as supplemental information for the new podcast.