Sting has always been one of my all time favorite wrestlers so I was pretty excited to do this theme. I grew up in Philadelphia which has always been a wrestling hotbed and unlike many areas in the 80s that only had access to whatever promotion ran in their territory, there have always been a large choice of companies in Philly to choose from whether it's with television or live shows. In Philly we had various companies like World Class, UWF, & AWA (briefly) air on TV but the big companies were the WWF/WWE which before expansion was mainly northeast based, and NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions which operated mainly the Mid-Atlantic area/Carolinas. In Philly we had the pleasure of not only getting both companies TV shows but they came to our town for live events. While I watched both companies, I was always a bigger NWA/WCW fan since their product felt more realistic and more athletic based. One of the wrestlers who stuck out to me as a kid was a young Steve Borden aka Sting. His charisma, wrestling style, and look (his face paint put me in mind of the Road Warriors but way more unique and artistic) grabbed me from the start and you just knew there was a star in the making there. I watched him from his the last part of his run in the Bill Watts Universal Wrestling Federation and seen him grow from there. His match vs. Ric Flair at the first Clash of Champions, his feud with guys like The Great Muta, his 1st world title win against Flair in 1990 and feuds with the Four Horsemen, his feud with Rick Rude and Vader (the latter of which was my favorite), his transformation from the "Surfer" Sting to the "Crow" Sting and his feud with Hulk Hogan and the NWO and beyond....Sting's always been an interesting personality in pro wrestling.
I wanted to cover both versions of the Sting character: the colorful "Surfer" Sting from the late 80s/early to mid-90s and the "Crow" Sting that he's more known for to the later generations. Using the Nike Air Force 1 highs again as the base shoe for both, here are my interpretations of the identities of the man called Sting.
1. "Surfer Sting"
Sting in his "Surfer" days wore various color face paint and tights from match to match but the one constant has always been the colorful nature of his look and the spiky blonde hair (except for the transitional period where he sported the black hair with the surfer look). I ended up going with the look similar to the pic above with a few other colors mixed in:
The idea was to make the shoes have a total 90s type of look that was synonymous with both Sting's look and fashion in general. I also included the scorpion silhouette on the toes which represent his finishing move, the scorpion deathlock. Also on the side of the left shoe is the old school 90s Sting logo.
2. "Crow" Sting
During the late 96-97 period, Sting began a transition/reinvention with his character. During the feud/angle with the New World Order (Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash), the NWO ran roughshod over World Championship Wrestling. They attempted to recruit Sting and even planted a fake Sting to fool people into thinking he had joined the heel faction. Despite his pleas to his allies that he hadn't joined, they didn't believe him and after proving it wasn't him when he temporarily saved his team during a War Games match at a WCW pay per view, Sting then walked out on them in disgust for them not trusting him then cut a promo on Nitro the next night about being a "free agent". He disappeared from TV for a while before returning with a new look, where he uttered that famous phrase "The only thing that's for sure about Sting, is that nothing's for sure:
Sting's character began to get darker after that episode. He evolved into the "Crow" character (obviously inspired by the Brandon Lee movie character). He went months without speaking and usually lurked in the rafters. There were questions of whether or not he would join the faction until WCW Uncensored where he showed up and beat down the NWO. They would eventually build up to the encounter between him and Hulk Hogan at Starrcade 1997 where he would win the world heavyweight title.
Sting Comes Back Home by TRANCIUS
I loved both versions of Sting and although I was a bigger fan of the classic surfer look, the crow themed shoes are my personal favorites of the two pairs. For those who may be interested, I am accepting commissions for both pairs. I have an option on the website where you can request a custom themed after your favorite wrestler/wrestling promotion and that includes these as well. To find out more about that option, click here.