Mark for War: Stingsgiving
Survivor Series was a big Pay-Per-View for WWE. It was the first-ever WWE PPV that was given away for free. So obviously, WWE, wanting to persuade people into purchasing the network, sought to draw fans both new and old in to the mix. This being the case, Sting was the perfect surprise.
My personal thoughts on Sting are as follows: I think he is one of the greatest of all time. Probably not Mount Rushmore greatest (Hogan, Flair, etc., level). But definitely in the conversation with workhorses and trendsetters that changed the game (Michaels, Hart, Foley, etc.), which all things considered may be better company with which to be associated.
Sting stepping foot on WWE soil for the first time will obviously cement his place in the WWE Hall of Fame sooner rather than than later, likely later this year, as their entrant. What would be amazing is if they save him to wrestle at this year’s Mania for the first time and make him the flagship entrant the night before. He would be the first, last, and only wrestler to be the flagship entrant in to the WWE Hall of Fame without ever wrestling in a WWE ring. That’s how good Sting is.
I took Sting’s debut this past week unbeliavebly seriously. There was several things I liked about the Sting debut in WWE and several things I didn’t like. Most of which, I admit, were superficial — but since 90% of wrestling is based on the superficial, I don’t feel bad for taking that stance in analysis.
Before you read on, watch the clip if you haven’t already.
1) Cole/Lawler: Cole’s call was perfect. The confusion on Lawler’s part was outstanding. Really gave us the feeling that they didn’t believe what they were seeing. Also, Cole’s comment after the Scorpion Death Drop, “Stinger Strikes!”, was great.
2) Sting’s Theme: Crumbling Boulder. Maryanne from Brooklyn-style crow cawing. Epic as hell music.
3) Scott Armstrong: Scared enough to stop in the middle of the count. Kind of like he’s seen ghost and had the, “I’m not getting paid enough to deal with this shit” look.
4) Sting: Slow walk. Did not carry the bat (unecessarily). Awesome stare down on his end. Looked off to the crowd at the perfect point when the “This is awesome chant” began.
5) HHH: It was almost as if he was saying to Sting with his eyes, “You are a rightful owner to the wrestling world. But this is my world. Yours is everywhere else. You don’t belong here.”
6) Incoherent HHH/Sting conversation: we don’t need to know what they said. It’s between them.
1) Everyone and their mother knowing Sting was going to come out: It leaked HARD the week prior to the event. Sucks because it would have been a great surprise had it not. I envy my friend Gonzo (Guitarist of Sick/Tired). On his Facebook that night he posted about how he forgot during the show that Sting was going to show up, leading to him actually being surprised when he came out.
2) Sting’s Outfit: I would have liked it if Sting’s WWE contained 90% The Crow Look and 10% 80s Sting look. A similar look was used toward the end of Sting’s final championship run in TNA.
2) Sting’s Titan Tron Video: I would prefer if it was just aimless dark images, which it started out as, and not shown his face more than once (at least for the debut). I’m pretty sure it didn’t show his name though, which was a good touch.
3) Triple H’s shirt: HHH continued to roll up the cuff of his shirt after seeing Sting. It would have been better had he stopped in his tracks.
4) JBL’s commentary: It was neither the time nor place to talk about Sting’s career accomplishments. It was more about the shock of him being in the arena, not why he deserved to be there. That could have been easily addressed the following night on Raw.
5) Ziggler/Rollins: Completely unbelievable for Rollins and Ziggler to be unconscious for four minutes while all this transpired, and the cover to be manipulated by Sting after.
6) Timing of the debut: About two years too late, sadly (Remember the Johnny Cash video of Taker in the cabin where there was a rumor that Sting was in the cabin with him?). If we could go back and get Sting vs. Taker while the streak was still in tact, it would have been a mindblowing move of epic proportion. Now we have Sting on a collision course with Triple H to start Sting’s tenure. We may still see Sting/Taker match somewhere down the line, possibly even Mania, but, again, too late.
7) St. Louis Crowd: Way too tired. Pop was a fraction of what it would have been in a city like Chicago, anywhere on the East Coast, or a wrestling city like Atlanta.
8) JR not being there: Again, I liked Cole’s call. And I know Jim Ross isn’t with the company currently, but God, was that Ross’s call to make, or what? JR calling Sting’s first apperence in WWE would really show Ross’ career going full circle. This is no knock on Cole. When CM Punk returns out of the blue one day, Cole’s voice will be the right voice to make the call.
All in all, I am stoked to finally see Stinger in WWE. He is without a doubt one of my favorite superstars of all time, and him being in the WWE doesn’t seem forced at all, like they lured him to the company because ratings were lagging and they needed a spark. I think the company is pretty set with talent right now, and his presecene will be icing on the cake through Wrestlemania season. Also, I think the assumed plot of him butting heads with Triple H makes sense. Sting is the go-to wrestler against all non-democratic wrestling factions (see: his feud with the NWO).
Match of the Week: Sting vs. Rick Flair, NWA World Championship, Clash of the Champions, March 27, 1988, Greensboro, NC
I wanted to put one of Sting’s matches with Big Van Vader in the 90s as my match of the week this week, but sadly, I know a lot of wrestling fans out there have never seen this match, and that is something that needs to be rectified.
Even though it’s not the best, the most important match of the 80s was Hogan vs. Andre at Wrestlemania III. It was a game changer. The second most important match of the 80’s was this match. Ironically, this match was similar to this past Sunday’s Survivor Series, in the fact it was given away for free. On April 3, WWE had their flagship Wrestlemania pay-per-view (Wrestlemania IV). At this point, the WWF and Wrestlemania weren’t household names. It was actually still quite taboo to be a wrestling fan. Also, pay-per-view was EXTREMELY hard to obtain in the 80s. You couldn’t order it through your cable provider unless you had a closed circuit system in your house. Many wrestling fans would be forced to watch pay-per-views via closed circuit TV (basically your local movie theater, arena, or hotel, would buy the pay-per-view and charge you admission to sit in and watch it). WCW realized this and thought they’d take advantage and put themselves on the map with the mainstream wrestling crowd. The first Class of the Champions was run on free TV (Ted Turners’ TBS) at the same time as Wrestlemania IV. Wrestlemania IV was awesome. Randy Savage got his hands on the strap for the first time ever, Hogan/Andre rematch. But I will tell you this: NOTHING on that card compared to this match. This, all things considered, did something seemingly no match up to this point was able to do: put a guy over without having him win the match. Flair in the 80s was the measuring stick. He had been there, done that all over the world a million times over. Was he overrated in the ring? Maybe now, but definitely not for that time. Then there was Sting, and up and coming blue chipper who was WCW’s future, a more manical answer to Hulk Hogan (basically Warrior with an innate understanding of the business and everything it meant to be a pro wrestler). Sting became the franchise with this match. He and Flair worked the shit out of each other for 45 minutes, all to a great draw. This match is the match that allowed matches like Foley vs. Taker Hell in a Cell to exist and make sense. It doesn’t matter who wins. If you hustle and out work your opponent, you’re the winner. Also take note, it was commentated by a young Jim Ross.