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Jim Ross on How the Black Scorpion Angle Hurt Sting’s First WCW Title Run, Says Ole Anderson Did It on a Whim in Response to TBS Execs

September 15, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Sting World Championship Wrestling 5-6-1989, Jim Ross

– On the latest Grilling JR, Jim Ross discussed Clash of the Champions XII from September 1990. The event featured a match between Sting vs. The Black Scorpion in the main event. Below are some highlights.

Jim Ross on Sting as champion “Well, some guys are stuck in their ways. They wanted to find a successor to Ric [Flair], ie being a villain, and being able to have good matches with anybody, and could slip out of the match by the skin of their teeth. That was an old formula, and it was used in a lot of territories. But the way we were looking at it was we were going to change that a little bit, those of us that liked the Sting move, and I did, that we were going to build a superstar, superhero champion. And we were going to create heels. And we were going to have a heel factory, so that was the game plan. Sting, that whole Black Scorpion thing, I don’t want to say it killed Sting. It did not do him any favors whatsoever.”

Jim Ross on how Ole Anderson came up with the angle: “And how we blew off the Black Scorpion thing certainly didn’t help — I do not know to this day who that helped. It built some intrigue on television, and it created curiosity level that got us a 5.0 rating at that Clash. But past that Conrad, I don’t know how that whole Black Scorpion thing, how successful it was, yay or nay, because Ole was booking back then. And Ole had the idea because TBS had come down and said, ‘We need to have something big to build to get to the Clash and then get to I think the Starrcade.’ Money, money, money, and ratings. OK, that’s cool. So, Ole didn’t like the pressure. He didn’t like being told what he needed to do. He had a timeline. We need this by Monday, this idea, blah blah blah. Work on it over the weekend, and we’ll talk to you Monday. Well, he didn’t like that either. So consequently, Ole threw it together, the Black Scorpion angle, almost as a whim making fun of their demands for a hot angle.”

“And so he just threw that together without thinking it through. In other words, most guys, including Ole, who’s a very smart guy by the way, very smart booker, very smart in the wrestling business. He was just an ornery little bastard. So what? My dad was too, but I loved them all, so what the hell? It’s just the way it is. Ole was — he did it as a whim, as a joke, I think, half-assed. And all of the sudden, it started getting over because we had our new hero, Sting. But man, the fans, all that build up was great, but when you get in that ring, you got to be able to deliver. So, he said, ‘That’s why we have Ric as the blowoff.’ Ric didn’t want to do that booking. He didn’t want to be that gig. He didn’t want to wrestle with a hood on and all that s***.”

Jim Ross on how Ole Anderson just kept stretching it out: “The more it got over and the ratings were OK, he felt like TBS was going to build the promotion to that Clash there, Clash XII, Mountain Madness, Mountain Dew, whatever that was. And so he just kept booking and stretching it out and stretching it out, and inadvertently, creating very interesting episodic television. But here’s the killer: the killer is we had no star. Ole had no star involved in mind at arm’s length, he could’ve had, but he didn’t, to be the Black Scorpion because on national free television, that big ass audience because you already quoted the numbers, and they were impressive. There isn’t a national wrestling company on television today that would not like those numbers. I promise you. Not being a d*** here. Just look at the math. We gave Sting a lousy ass match. It never got its flow. It never clicked. It was not a good booking. And Al Perez, who was the Black Scorpion [at Clash XII], was a damn good worker, but he didn’t fit the mold of a rugged, mean, ‘I want to hurt you’ heel. Even with the mask on. It was bad placement for him and really bad booking for Sting.”

“So, that really I think slowed Sting’s growth down. The fact that Flair carried [Lex] Luger to an amazing match again right before that, then he started realizing, ‘Well, maybe we should put Ric back in the champ,’ where we have the heel champion, and all the babyfaces are chasing him. Quite frankly, I like it the other way around. I like the hero standing tall, and you build up some very intriguing, different body types, presentation skills of villains. Villains are the most compelling entity in pro wrestling if they’re really a villain and really skilled.”

JIm Ross on how Sting was unfairly blamed for the drop in ratings in August before Clash XII: “Panic, panic, creative panic, instead of letting things smooth out and getting guys over, there was panic. And a lot of the guys trying to search for the cause of the panic. Unfortunately, we were misguided and looked at Sting, which was one of the most silliest things I ever heard of, but it was true. And a lot of the corporate people, who loved him at first, now they say, ‘Well, the company isn’t going to be as hot creatively with him as champion. And he’s the champion, and look where we are. So what does that mean? It means you have to give him time to get over. We have not prepared any heels for him. We’ve over-exposed him on television. He’s not as special as he used to feel because he’s over-exposed.’ That’s like someone saying, ‘Seth Rollins went on TV Monday night,’ type thing. Well, that’s probably a good deal because that probably means he’s going to get over-exposed down the road farther, not closer. Guys don’t need to be on TV every week. That’s stupid. It really is. So anyhow, that was the story there. I think Sting got blamed for some stuff, the ratings, that he didn’t deserve to be blamed for.”

“And those are the kind of — it makes you wonder how it’s going to be going forward because we’re going to be in a situation with AEW, where we’re going to have a TV company, and they’re our partner. They’re our partner creatively and in every way. So, it’s going to be interesting to see how the ideas, the creative ideas, from both entities integrate and how those presentations are and how that communication will be established. You bet your ass it’s gotta be addressed because that’s just the way it is. I’ve already lived through this once. And really Conrad, it’s not a bad thing if you have a system in place that funnel and feed and process all the ideas. All these guys in the corporate world are saying, ‘We’re interested. We want this to be successful. Here’s my idea.’ At least, they’re willing to embarrass themselves sometimes with a goofy ass idea, but it’s because they care. I’d rather have guys like that than guys who are all hands-off one way or the other, and it’s all about the bottom line.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.