$543,000 at the gate
Over 20 million dollars grossed from those buys alone
Hulk Hogan vs Sting
If you were like me, and let’s face it you probably are like me (Just a bit more adjusted), then this was the match to see. I dare say this was the biggest match that either one of the big two had put on since Hogan/Warrior. Fans had waited one full year for Sting to finally get his hands on Hulk Hogan, and there would be no now to stop him. Sting would destroy Hogan in one glorious beat down for the world to see, and the head of the nWo would be severed. No, two heads would not appear, so don’t me any of this hail hydra bull. Sting would take the belt back for WCW, and all would be right with the world. Right? I mean, c’mon me and my brother were so hyped for this match that we didn’t even go on the internet looking for results the next day, since we had a copy of the event coming our way that afternoon. Don’t you remember flipping back to the last ten or so minutes or Nitro to see Sting just beat the absolute crap out of the nWo? Surely, surely the company would do the right thing and deliver Sting giving Hogan the worst pounding since the reviews for Santa with Muscles were published.
Well sort of.
Not at all
Crap in a hat
Yes, Sting wins in the end, but not before looking like a complete chump and only winning because Bret Hart complains and we get our first of 8,000 Montreal references in WCW. Instead of going with the time-old formula of face dominates, heel cheats and gets heat on the face, and the face makes his comeback and win it all, what we got was all Hogan beating on Sting. Hulk beats on Sting, drops the leg and Nick Patrick counts to three. The story is that it was supposed to be a fast-count playing into the whole “Nick Patrick being with the nWo” story. Hart was going to come out and deck Patrick, and the match was going to be restarted. Sting makes his big comeback, wins and the fans are sent home happy. Instead, we all know that Patrick counted normally and the story is that Hogan or even Bischoff called an audible without telling Sting. Sting doesn’t kick out since he’s expecting the fast count, making him look like a complete moron in the process.
Here’s the thing, this idea should have never been pitched or even thought about, in-fact the person who came up with the idea should be hit with a whiffle ball bat about a hundred times. Sting beats Hogan with the Scorpion Deathlock in the middle of the ring, clean. No debauchery, no Bret Hart, no dusty finish, the way it should have been. Some people have suggested that it should a squash on the level of Hogan/Sheik, but I think that would be a bit much. Here is how it should have gone down:
-Sting comes out hot and starts beating on Hogan and you know the crowd is eating it up. He’s showing signs of the old Sting as the announcers talk about how it seems like the old Sting is coming back to life. He even does the old howl taunt, which you know would get a large response from the fans.
-Then, you pull that carpet from underneath those fans when Sting misses a big move. It could be a dive to the outside or Stinger Splash while Hogan is against the post or railing. Did Sting ever nail that move anyhow? Hulk goes into heel mode, using eye rakes and chokes to kill any comeback by Sting. It seems like Hogan has this one in the bag, and even the announcers seem down and out. Dusty is in the booth, let him talk about the tradition and the legacy that is on the line with this match. If Sting fails, who is left from WCW to face Hogan?
-Sting starts to rally, it’s not huge but he’s starting to find his way back into the fight. He knows what is on the line, his legacy and the legacy of WCW. Right when it seems like Sting is ready to comeback; Hogan cheats his way and cuts it off. A low blow here would be the right move.
-Hogan hits the big boot and leg drop of doom and goes for the cover. Is this it for Sting? Nope, Sting barely kicks out as Hogan is shocked. Hogan calls for the nWo to come out, but the ENTIRE WCW roster cuts off the nWo as they come out. Hogan slowly realizes that it is just Sting and Sting has risen from the leg drop. Hulk has that “Oh crap” look on his face and turns around to face Sting, and Sting does that crazy gorilla beat on his chest.
-One year of anger, frustration and hatred is let out by Sting in a few glorious minutes. Sting beats Hogan from pillar to post, hits the Stinger Splash in all four corners, Scorpion Deatdrop and Hogan taps to the Scorpion Deathlock. We get the big celebration we ended up seeing, the crowd goes nuts and WCW is pretty much set for the next few months. Sting takes on various members of the nWo, slowly but surely picking the group apart.
Now, we know this didn’t happen. Instead, we got a convoluted continuation in-which Sting vacated the title to only beat Hogan for the title at SuperBrawl. Sting faced Hall at Uncensored, another person (Savage) turned on him for the 863rd time, and Sting drops the belt a month later to Savage. In the end, Hulk gets the belt a night later and Sting becomes another star whose knees get cut off. Instead of people watching and staying on Nitro when Sting arrives like they did a year earlier, they change the channel to Raw. Starrcade should have been the launch of a new draw for the organization, but thanks to the machinations of creative control, it never happened. Hogan cut his promos about being the only thing you should care about and the champ is worthless (Also done during Goldberg’s run and when Flair had the belt).
I know many people contest the drawing ability of Sting, but having Sting steamroll Hogan and you have so many options for what you could book after Starrcade. You can start the slow implosion of the nWo, with Nash questioning the leadership abilities of Hogan. Sting going after what’s left of the nWo (Hall, Nash, Savage), and heck you can end the nWo storyline before staleness sets in. What’s left of the nWo dissolves into the mid-card and you have a pretty sellable tag match: Hogan and Savage against Hall and Nash. Sting can work with Flair/Hart/Luger/DDP/Giant and then do the drop to Hogan who then drops it Goldberg. Surely, and I mean surely Goldberg will be that big megastar that WCW wants by the end of 1998, he’ll lea-
That’s for another article.
In the end, WCW took a massive successful card and what should have come with a boatload of momentum and instead squandered it. What should have been establishment of a new draw and turned him just another face in the sea of a bloated roster. Instead of an organization doing what was best for business, they catered to the ego of one man. While the good times were rolling, we know the end of the story. Just figured that it was a story that needed some telling.
Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.
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