Sting's 14-year association with WCW and its predecessor, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), began in 1987. He quickly rose to main event status, and has been described as the WCW counterpart to the WWF's Hulk Hogan. Dubbed "The Franchise of WCW", he held a total of 15 championships in the promotion – including the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on six occasions, the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship on two occasions and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on one occasion – and made more pay-per-view (PPV) appearances for the company than any other wrestler.
Against Hogan, Sting headlined the highest-grossing PPV event in WCW history, Starrcade, in December 1997. Upon the acquisition of WCW by the WWF in March 2001, Sting and his long-term rival Ric Flair were chosen to perform in the main event of the final episode of Nitro.
During a long interview with Instinct Culture, the WWE Hall of Famer reflected on joining WWE for the first time in his career: “Well, first of all it was amazing. It was different from anything that I ever experienced.
Yes, I’ve heard all kinds of crowd reactions and all but the WWE crowds, my gosh. First of all, [they’re] enormous, they’re very, very loyal. No, I never thought that I would be under the WWE umbrella, I never thought that I would be interviewing here on the very first SmackDown on FOX.
This is my first SmackDown, you know for me, but yeah. I never thought any of it would happen, but it did. It came full circle all the way around, and everything’s turned out fantastic”.