I've actually done a lot of new wrestling photos lately but this one I liked enough to go ahead with this one first, a flashback to a much simpler time when you had a clearly defined hero fighting against the forces of evil.
Before Sting came onboard to Jim Crockett Promotions, there really hadn't been that big box office babyface champion to challenge Ric Flair since the conclusion of his legendary feud with Dusty Rhodes in 1987. Magnum T.A. had been the chosen one, and his horrific car accident in November 1986 ended that discussion; Nikita Koloff had some good matches against Flair, but was never a serious contender in the World Championship talks; Lex Luger would have a great run against Flair in the next few years but never could get the clean 1-2-3 against the Nature Boy; Barry Windham made for a better heel than a face, and made a better ally with Flair in the Four Horsemen than an enemy. Flair's feud with Dusty was the story of the common man rising against the big corporate machine, the kind of slick hustlers that had slapped down hard working people, and the two wrestlers embodied those characters quite well. But, as would be evidenced in later years as a criticism, Dusty was getting long in the tooth as a main eventer. NWA guys like Ronnie Garvin and Ricky Morton pointedly said that Dusty would kill business by inserting himself into feuds, or would curtail a rising star's momentum by attaching himself to them (see the Road Warriors, with whom he was a multi-time Six-Man Tag Team Champion), or take a heel that got some great heat (Nikita Koloff, Lex Luger) and would turn them into a face, depleting the possibility of narratives to be told without a strong antagonist. Couple that Dusty's job as a booker for the Crocketts was starting to burn him out, as evidenced by 1988 he was seemingly booking title changes on the fly (with one planned change that never happened would have seen Rick Steiner pin Ric Flair in a very short squash match for the NWA World Heavyweight title at Starrcade).
Crockett's purchase of Herb Abrams' Universal Wrestling Federation would go down as the original Invasion angle, and much like a certain future one, it too was doomed to failure but out of those ashes came the arrival of young Steve Borden to a wider audience.. Its quite fair when people liken Sting to Ultimate Warrior at this stage in his career: both had trained together and been a tag team just a couple years earlier, and both made the wearing of face paint their thing. Sting was also just as green to the wrestling scene when he was thrust into the spotlight, still too new like the Warrior, but as would be revealed in a few short years, Sting was a quick learner. Warrior got pretty decent into his main event spot--he had, going up against machines like DiBiase, Rick Rude, and Savage--but was never able to have the sort of matches Sting would have. And he never could quite have the same kind of feuds that Sting would have, never quite having the same big money matches that Sting did for WCW.
All that would be proven at the inaugural Clash of the Champions in March 1988, where Sting was booked in a World Title match against Flair. The match ended in a draw after 45-minutes, and several things were quite in evidence, but most importantly it was the match that earmarked Sting for greater things. And it would all come back to Flair. The narrative with Flair was quite similar to that with Dusty, except the fact that instead of representing the common man, Sting was far simpler...just an all-American good guy who couldn't stand the arrogance and flagrant disregard for the opportunities Flair was given. And being that Sting was kind of simple himself--the character he portrayed, not the man--he would be duped every time he tried to trust the dastardly Flair or his Horsemen cronies.
Flair in this era had come to personify the champion. Beating him...changing the title to another hand...was seen as a huge honor. Sting's turn, at Great American Bash 1990, was seen as a turning point with a fresh, younger wrestler that was perfect to encapsulate the new decade.