The radio spot was, I think, an interview with the book’s author, himself a Famous Person of Much Importance, so I kept getting confused as to whether she was telling me about the doctor or the writer, and it was this confusion that kept me remembering the conversation years later.
Eight or nine of those years later I found myself screwing around on our computer, avoiding housecleaning and looking up old WCW lore via Wikipedia. Yes, while some harness the wondrous information technology of our digital age to enact global humanitarian works or to chronicle these works via Pulitzer prize winning journalism, The Sensational One uses Google to remember old wrestling angles.
On that particular day my WCW reminisces got me thinking about the “Fake Sting” angle from 1996. I remembered it happening, but I couldn’t recall who the “Fake Sting” was or where he came from.
For background’s sake, in 1996 Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling was red hot. Their flagship television show Monday Nitro had overtaken the World Wrestling Federation’s Monday Night Raw in the ratings, all on the wave of an angle involving a stable of wrestlers known as the New World Order (nWo). The nWo started out as a group of outside invaders from the WWF, eventually claimed a newly villainous Hulk Hogan as a member, and then continued to grow. Since it was the EXTREME and EDGY 1990’s, these anti-establishment wrestlers soon became hugely popular anti-heroes, and by the end of 1996 it was nearly impossible to go anywhere without seeing some fool sporting an nWo t-shirt.
Elsewhere during the course of ’96, while the nWo ran wild over the majority of WCW’s roster, a formerly fun-loving, face-painted, surfer dude known as Sting began establishing himself as one of the faction’s main opponents. However just before a match where Sting and some other WCW good guys were supposed to take on members of the nWo, Sting appeared to attack one of his own teammates. But guess what? It wasn’t really Sting! It was a Fake Sting! IT WAS NWO STING!
This led to a chain reaction of shenanigans that eventually saw Sting trading in his beach-ready appearance for a more dour, 1990’s appropriate knockoff-of-The-Crow look. Meanwhile, nWo Sting did his thing for a bit in WCW before running wild in Japan as part of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s version of the nWo.
And what the hell does ANY of this have to do with renowned humanitarian Paul Farmer? Well, like I said, nWo Sting came to mind, and it was bugging me as to who played the character. In pro wrestling, fools with weird gimmicks like nWo Sting are usually someone else (gimmick/character-wise) before or after those weird gimmicks. For instance when Razor Ramon and Diesel left the WWF for WCW (where incidentally they started the nWo), the guy who played an ill-conceived replacement version of Diesel went on later to be a superstar in his own right as Kane.
So thanks to “this modern world in which we live,” I was able to hop onto Wikipedia and within seconds find the entry for nWo Sting. Kind of a sorry use of seconds, I know, but at the end of the day, The Sensational One makes no bones about the quality of his preoccupations.
According to the entry nWo Sting didn’t have much of a resume prior to his nWo gimmick. He’d wrestled under the names “Lightning” and “Cobra” in the early 90s before taking up the nWo Sting mantle, which he rode out until becoming “Super J” in 2000. He seems to have kicked around Japan as Super J until 2004 when he started doing the nWo Sting gimmick again on the American independent scene. Finally, as of late 2010 according to Wikipedia, nWo Sting had become “project manager of a research program known as GEAR (Genetics, Exercise, and Research) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.” And that’s about all there was to Wiki regarding the man.
Except for one little detail. nWo Sting’s real name is Jeff Farmer. And in a small, miss-able sentence at the beginning of the Wikipedia entry there is a mention that he is “the brother of Dr. Paul Farmer.”
While this detail may have been lost on some, the scattershot nature of Mr. Sensational’s thinking had kept the name Paul Farmer alive in his consciousness for years, and the connection was made! Here were two men, two brothers, one being a deified public figure credited with saving and improving untold lives, the other being…NWO STING.
I dunno, it struck me as a bit weird. Maybe they are totally cool with this situation. But maybe not? What happened at family gatherings back in 1996? “Oh, and what have you been up to Paul?” “Well, I’ve been receiving countless degrees and honors while bringing truckloads of medicine and surgical equipment to some of the world’s most impoverished regions.” “Really? You don’t say! That’s great. And what about you Jeff?” “Well, I pretended to be Sting and clotheslined Lex Luger last Monday.” “Oh, that’s nice, dear.”
Just seems like kind of a trip. A family with two sons doing stuff of international renown, but for reasons that could not be more different. I wonder if Jeff ever felt insecure that Paul was helping and saving fools while he was busting tights and an nWo t-shirt? I think the temptation would probably be there, but if I were him I wouldn’t sweat it. He got to be in the nWo, for god’s sake! HE TAGGED WITH MASA CHONO! I guess a lot of people would be more taken with the world saving stuff, but me, I’m backing nWo Sting TO THE FULLEST.
It’s kind of cool knowing that in a laboratory somewhere, there’s a project manager wearing a lab coat and glasses, looking at slides and test tubes, yet seething under the surface is an nWo member just waiting for the call. It may never come, but then again it could. One day, when everyone least expects it, Hollywood, Nash, and Hall might come storming into the place. The other scientists would all think Jeff had their back. But at the last minute he’d reveal an nWo tee beneath his coat and the beat down and spray painting would commence. God that would be awesome. OK, gotta go do some dishes. Until next time, thanks for stopping by.