Scott Hall has discussed being the brains behind The Icon Sting’s switch to the dark side in WCW, a character that is still seen on TV today, 25 years after its inception.
Scott Hall changed the very foundations of the wrestling business in 1996 when he and Kevin Nash upped sticks and headed south to WCW. Along with Hollywood Hogan, they formed the nWo and the rest is history. What wrestling fans may not know is that Hall also came up with the concept that helped propel Sting to be the hottest property in wrestling and Hogan’s ultimate opponent for the WCW Title.
Sting had spent many years as the bleach blonde, brightly coloured ‘Surfer Sting’ where he feuded with Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen over several years. But by the mid-90s wrestling was changing, Hogan had traded in his red and yellow for black and white and five o’clock shadow. While in Hall’s old stomping grounds of the WWF, they were getting ready to find their own attitude.
Speaking as a guest on Eric Bischoff’s 83 Weeks podcast, Scott Hall recalled his first night in WCW and meeting Sting for the first time in several years. According to Hall, it seemed Sting could have been a victim to staying in wrestling’s past.
“It was my very first TV and of course you know the boys get there early and I’m just wearing the denim vest and jeans for my opening segment and stuff. I’m in there and Sting is applying his makeup. At this time he is still wearing the surfer colour and neon happy guy tights, but he is letting his hair grow out. I didn’t know Sting, I didn’t have any heat with him but he was a top guy, and when I was there before I was a bottom guy. We didn’t move in the same circles, we never wrestled and we never interacted. But I’m one of those guys where if I think it I say it, I don’t care what our relationship is.”
“So Sting is putting my makeup on and I go ‘Oh you’re growing your hair out huh?’ And he goes ‘Yeah!’ I figure woah. I said ‘I guess frying it all those years has been hard on you?’ He said ‘Yeah it was really starting to damage it.’ I go ‘That’s cool but you’re still going to wear the happy guy tights?’ He goes ‘Yeah!’ I’m thinking wow, now I know why we didn’t hang out.”
The ‘happy guy tights’ were not going to pass muster anymore as the era of the cool, cocky heel was growing ever more popular with fans. This is when Scott Hall told Sting of his idea of a character based on the movie The Crow. For Hall, there was also someone else he thought The Stinger could ‘rip off.’
“I said ‘Have you ever seen The Crow?’ He said no. I said to him ‘It’s kind of like this cool, dark character with the white face paint and the dark lines. I then said I’m not telling you to rip off Taker but rip off Taker. The kind of rule was if you’re in a different territory it’s not quite as bad. The way I remember it I think he ran it by E [Eric Biscoff]and they went yeah and we were off to the races.”
“To me, I don’t need any credit from it. It was great when Sting put me over and thanked me, but to me it was just the right thing to do. I never knew Sting, we are a little friendlier these days. To me, once you give a guy an idea that works, you have a connection with that guy. I’ve never made a road trip with Sting, we may have eaten dinner once or twice, but not much. But I can point across the locker room after that and go ‘There’s my boy.’ You never forget the guys you help and you never forget the guys that screwed you over.”
Former WCW President Eric Bischoff has gone on record before about ‘Crow Sting’ being Hall’s idea. He responded to what Hall said and elaborated on how it was more than a passing idea and Hall had nailed the details to a tee.
“You didn’t just give Sting the idea in a passing conversation. I remember specifically once The Crow thing started to evolve, I remember it was me and Hulk and Sting, Kevin and there was one or 2 other people in there. You were in the centre of the room and you laid out his promos, you laid out ‘scary man in the bleachers.'”
“You laid out not just the idea of the gimmick, but the way to execute it, that was 90% you. It’s rare that I sit there and listen to someone lay out a story or a character in detail and find myself going holy sh*t that was awesome. I remember feeling that way and just being a fly on the wall listening to that conversation. Listening to you explain to Sting how to be that Crow character. It wasn’t just changing from happy guy tights to the dark scary tights. He had to really change that character, and that isn’t something that is easy to do. You really helped nurture that character and I just want to say that.”
During his appearance on the podcast, Scott Hall also discussed the infamous Curtain Call in Madison Square Garden. According to Hall, he reckons Shawn Michaels threw good friend Triple H under a bus when the ramifications of that came to pass.