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Monday, January 11, 2016

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Retrospective: Sting

Remember when this was a thing? It was pretty amazing, even though you knew it'd never last; Sting and Flair were the yin and yang of WCW.
By Speed on the Beat (@SpeedontheBeat)

As I mentioned a short while ago, during the New Generation Era, I was more of a WCW head because of Sting and Booker T. While Booker's appeal is pretty self-explanatory (black guy who isn't full on shucking and/or jiving kicking ass, taking names, and hitting his finisher to the point it looks like he could decapitate a person), Sting's is a bit more unique. See, Sting, for me, was WCW's answer to Hulk Hogan (before Hulk Hogan became a WCW name) and Ultimate Warrior. He was bright, colorful, and kept many folk's attention. However, Sting could go and was some odd combination of Ultimate Warrior (considering they teamed together in their pre-WCW/WWF days and were pretty close friends, it makes sense) and those Japanese stars you heard so much about, but never saw much of coming up.

He could engage the kids by being bright and being saved by RoboCop (ugh), but he churned out classics with Ric Flair.

He could scare the crap out of folks with a single point of his bat--while badass, it's slightly ridiculous when you think about it--but managed to take gimmicks that other talents couldn't pull off and run with them. I mean, he played Heath Ledger Joker, to a degree, at a time where gimmicks of that nature were being laughed at as being silly. However, he still managed to look legit, age and all. Hell, he introduced the SHOCK...MASTER!!! and still managed to not be laughed out of the arena by association.

All in all, Sting was the reason WCW could stay relevant in the 1990s for as long as it could. Sting versus Flair was trotted out, a la Cena/Orton, whenever needed and--unlike Cena/Orton--it never felt dated, even when you had 52-year-old Flair facing off against Sting in an exhibition match on Final Nitro.

But, hearing me go all nostalgic isn't the only reason why you're here. You want matches. So, here are some of my favorite Sting matches from his tenure in WCW. This is not a definitive list, as I could go on for a while about my favorite Sting matches, but chose some to illustrate how great and legendary the 2016 WWE Hall of Famer truly is.

Sting/Flair at CotC 1988 -- It's a cliched choice, but it's one that has to be mentioned if you're talking about Sting. My words wouldn't even do it justice. So, just go watch it. Now. Even on the WWE Network.

Sting versus Stunning Steve Austin, 1992 -- I never got the chance to see the Sting/Steve Austin match for the US Championship in its entirety. Anyone know where to find it full, pass it along. But, this match on WCW Saturday Night showcased what both Austin and Sting were capable of. If the Championship match was even remotely as on-point, I'd easily rank it in my top five Sting matches.

Sting versus Vader, Superbrawl III -- I'm usually never a big fan of strap matches. It's probably because stuff like Cena/Rusev at Extreme Rules 2015 makes the match type seem kind of...underwhelming. However, when the chains are off, pun intended, to strap matches, you get classics. Sting versus Vader is one of these. It's brutal, bloody, and showcases both Sting and Vader in a positive light as competitors.

Team WCW versus The Outsiders, Bash at the Beach 1996 -- Now, this match, most people know it more for the formation of the nWo. But, take Hulk's swerve out and you've still got a pretty solid match-up.

Sting versus Hollywood Hogan, Starrcade 1997 -- Now, Nathan, rightfully so, tore this match a new one some time ago. I mean, its finale was so all-over-the-place, it deserves its own place in the annals of Botchamania. However, everything leading up to that finale? Beautiful.

Sting versus Flair, Final Nitro 2001 -- Duh. Just...duh.


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