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The Best of Sting - WWE 3-DISC DVD COLLECTION

by Scrooge McSuck

STING

- Previously featured on the Best of Sting: We breeze through the early-mid 90’s as Sting faces off against classic opponents like Ric Flair, Big Van Vader, “Stunning” Steve Austin, Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, and the Dangerous Alliance. There’s a sweet tag team match featuring Sting and the Great Muta taking on the Steiner Brothers, and Sting squashing Diamond Dallas Page years before DDP meant anything to wrestling. We’re picking things up in the Fall of 1996, and things are about to change, but will it be for the better?

The Best of Sting… Disc 3:

- From the October 21st, 1996 episode of Monday Nitro. The nWo Sting is in the middle of a squash match over the mysterious J.L. (Jerry Lynn) when the REAL Sting makes his way to the ring, sporting nWo color face paint. He lays a beating in on the bogus Sting while the entire group looks on, as if to care less. They try their best to recruit Sting into the New World Order, but he may or may not be in their price range, and that nothing is for sure. And so begins (or continues, whatever) almost six MONTHS of uncertainty, until he finally revealed himself to be fighting for WCW at the 1997 Uncensored.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Hollywood Hogan © vs. Sting:

From Starrcade ’97, held on December 28th from the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. In what was supposed to be the culmination of a nearly 18-month long angle, it instead turned into a match that probably pisses me off more than any other. Sting gets a flashy entrance (for WCW and 1997), trying to add to what should’ve been an epic moment. Hogan with a shove, Sting with a slap, and then a bit of stalling. Lockup to the corner, Sting blocks a cheap shot and knocks Hogan back with a right. Hogan suckers Sting into a knucklelock, unloading with rights. Whip to the corner, Hogan follows in with a clothesline. Hogan with a slam, but he misses three elbows. Sting with a dropkick, sending Hogan to the floor for more stalling. Back inside, Hogan grabs a headlock. Criss-cross, Sting with a pair of dropkicks, again knocking Hogan out of the ring. Back in the ring, Sting with the headlock, Hogan with a shoulder tackle. He takes Sting over with a suplex, but it’s no sold. Sting with rights until Hogan thumbs the eyes. To the floor, with Hogan still dominating. Sting sends Hogan into the rail, but misses a Stinger Splash. Hogan crotches him along the rail before taking it back in the ring. Whip to the ropes, big boot, leg drop, and three count at 11:19, but Bret Hart refuses the match to be ended on such a screw job fast count (even though it wasn’t) and sends Hogan back in the ring. Sting sends him to the corner, hits the Stinger Splash. Buff Bagwell and Scott Norton come in and get knocked back out. Whip across the ring and another Stinger Splash. He applies the Scorpion Deathlock, and Hogan submits at 12:53. Oh, and the next night, the title was held up for a rematch, and then held up AGAIN for another rematch at SuperBrawl VIII. Awful.

DUD There’s just nothing hear that can be spun into a positive light. First, the babyface looking for ultimate revenge wrestles a match like it’s any old standard situation. Second, Hogan dominating the offense, despite playing chicken shit heel for all of 1997, in a situation where total annihilation would’ve been the perfect ending. Third, the “fast” count. Fourth, BRET HART re-starting the match because of whatever and having to rescue the man who is supposed to save WCW Title from the clutches of the evil n.W.o. SIXTH, it was just lazy work, especially considering Hogan was carrying 90% of the offense. What was supposed to be the crowning moment of WCW turned into their biggest fuck up, because WCW.

Sting & Lex Luger vs. Hollywood Hogan & Randy Savage (w/ Eric Bischoff & Elizabeth):

From the February 16th, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, less than a week away from SuperBrawl VIII, where we’re supposed to get the payoff to the nonsensically extended angle between Sting and Hogan. Oh, and Luger faces Savage. There may or may not be tension between Savage and Hogan. Savage and Hogan attack in the aisle before Michael Buffer can complete introductions. Hogan pounds away with rights. Whip to the corner, and Hogan follows in with a clothesline. He tries again, but Sting reverses and hits his own clothesline. Savage sends Luger to the corner and connects with an elbow. He tries tagging out, but Hogan short-arms him. Savage forcefully tags Hogan in with a slap to the back. Hogan with a clothesline from behind. Whip to the ropes, and another clothesline, followed by a trio of elbow drops for a two count. Hogan with a slam, but the leg drop misses. Sting with the hot tag. Whip to the corner and the Stinger Splash connects twice. He levels Hogan with a clothesline and applies the Scorpion Deathlock. Luger brings Savage in for the Torture Rack, but the n.W.o. run in for the DQ at 4:31… and then suddenly Savage and Hogan start fighting amongst each other. DUD Questionable and pointless match selected, but we’re in the territory of nothing but meaningless matches from WCW, so strap in, we’re not done.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Sting © vs. Kevin Nash (w/ Konnan):

From the April 6th, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. Sting won the WCW Championship (again at SuperBrawl VIII, Nash cuts a pre-match promo, planting the seeds for what eventually became the split of the nWo into two separate groups. Nash controls the early moments with his usual clubberin’ in the corner. Sting comes off the ropes with a pair of clotheslines, heads to the top rope, and comes off with a third to take Nash down. Sting with a dropkick, sending Nash over the top, to the floor. Nash pulls him out, allowing Konnan to get some cheap shots in. Back inside, Nash with choking and a splash across the back. Short-arm clothesline gets two. Nash with a back breaker, and holds Sting in the position for extra punishment. He grabs a shitty chinlock, since he’s used up most of his offense already. Sting rallies to his feet, only to run into a knee lift. Nash sends him to the corner and follows in with a clothesline. He tries to charge into the corner again, but Sting kicks the leg from under him and drops down across the left knee. Sting with the Scorpion Deathlock, but Konnan offers assistance to pull Nash to the ropes. Nash with a thumb to the eyes and his signature side slam gets a two count. Nash with an elbow drop for two. Nash grabs another chinlock, further proving how he got his nickname “Big Lazy”. Sting rallies again with elbows to the midsection, followed by discus punches. Sting with a dropkick and the Stinger Splash. He hits two more Splashes. Nash practically no-sells it and sets up for the Powerbomb, but his back gives out. Suddenly Hogan runs in for the DQ at 10:41, but Nash doesn’t appreciate the help. Here comes the rest of the nWo (Virgil, Crush, and Mr. Perfect!), and a few WCW guys. *1/2 The match was slightly better than I expected, but it was still below-par and the bullshit finishes are already getting on my nerves. Unfortunately, there’s more.

Sting vs. Scott Steiner (w/ Vincent):

From the April 22nd, 1998 episode of WCW Thunder. Yep, we’ve reached the point where stuff from THUNDER is being included. The previous weekend, Sting lost the WCW Championship to Randy Savage, who went on to form the nWo Wolfpac with Nash and others a few weeks later. Steiner is (Somewhat) freshly turned heel, doing his best to look like Superstar Billy Graham, and calling himself Big Poppa Pump. I’m going to guess he won an Arm-Wrestling Contest because it’s WCW. If not, I don’t care. Because it’s WCW. Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Tony The Tiger (Lee Marshall) is your trio calling the action. Steiner attacks before the bell with rights and clotheslines. Whip to the ropes, Sting ducks under a clothesline and connects with three of his own, sending Steiner to the floor. Sting follows, sending him into the post and the rinky-dink toy known as their ring steps. Sting with mounted punches in the corner. Steiner goes low to slow Sting down. He slams Sting into the corner and traps him in a Tree of Woe. Vincent with his token cheap shots while Steiner distracts the referee. Steiner with a double underhook into a slam. He keeps wasting time posing, and comes off the ropes, taking a boot to the face. Whip to the corner, and Sting with another boot. The Stinger Splash connects and he applies the Scorpion Deathlock, but Konnan runs in for the cheap DQ at 4:23. Here’s Scott Norton, and it’s ANOTHER bullshit finish. Rick Steiner chases Scott from ringside, while the Giant makes the save against the B-Team. ¾* Another nothing match in a long line of them.

WCW Tag Team Championship Match:
Sting & Kevin Nash © vs. Harlem Heat:

From the June 15th, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. We’re now in the era of WOLFPAC STING (a.k.a Lobster Sting), and you might as well stop right now, get up, and flush the nearest toilet if you want my opinion on that creative decision. Some nonsense over the Tag Team Titles had Sting win control of the belts in a match with his previous partner (Giant) and chose Nash to be his co-holder. Booker T is the reigning TV Champion, having won the title the night before at the Great American Bash. Booker T and Stevie Ray appear to have issues. Sting and Booker start. Booker with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. Criss-cross, Sting with a hip toss, sending Booker to the floor. I’m SHOCKED the name “Chris Benoit” hasn’t been edited from the commentary, putting over the series of matches between him and Booker T. Back to the match, Booker comes off the ropes with a diving forearm. Stevie Ray tags in and pounds away. Whip to the corner, Sting gets a boot up and lays Stevie Ray out with a clothesline. Nash tags in with the usual stuff in the corner. Stevie Ray no-sells and slams Nash, but misses an elbow drop. We return from commercial, with Sting avoiding a dropkick from Booker. Nash in with the same stuff as before. Book charges out of the corner and meets boot. Nash with a side slam for two. Sting with a slam and a jumping elbow drop. Sting with another slam and a Vader Bomb from the second rope for two. Sting comes off the ropes for a splash, but meets knees. Nash in with a short-arm clothesline. Sting with a back suplex. Nash goes for snake eyes, but Booker counters with a school boy for two. Sting sends Booker to the corner, but misses the Lobster Splash. Booker with a spinebuster and hot tag to Stevie Ray. He hits Sting with a clothesline and powerslam. He mouths off to Nash, and Sting finishes him with the Scorpion Death Drop at 9:46. At least we had an actual finish. *1/4 Not much to see here. The crowd was dead for most of it and didn’t even react to Booker T making the hot tag. They did pop for Nash and Sting’s win, so who knows what WCW fans want.

Sting & Warrior vs. Hollywood Hogan & Bret “Hitman” Hart:

From the October 12th, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. Yes, this is a match that was actually given away for free as a worthless Nitro Main Event. For those of you who love Scrooge Tidbits, this match marked the first time I viewed a video on a little website called YouTube.com, almost 9 years ago (February ’06). Trying to watch videos on dial-up internet was impossible, by the way. Sting and Warrior are teaming up for the first time since their days as the Bladerunners in 1986, and Bret Hart is the reigning US Champion. Stalling to start. Sting and Hogan finally lockup, with Hogan pounding away. Sting comes back with a clothesline and inverted atomic drop. Hart tags in and gets worked over in the corner with mounted punches. Hogan with a distraction, allowing Bret to hit a low blow. Bret with a headbutt to the midsection, followed by a second rope elbow drop for two. Hogan comes in with another low blow and chokes away. Bret with a DDT for two. Hart with Russian leg sweep and a leg drop. He sets up for a snap suplex, but Sting counters with a cradle for two. Bret remains in control, connecting with a back breaker. He heads to the second turnbuckle, but misses an elbow drop. Warrior with the hot tag, and he runs through Hart with clotheslines. He signals for the press slam, but Hogan attacks from behind. Warrior points the finger at him and suddenly the nWo Hollywood runs in for the nonsense finish at 5:39. Like aways, the classy WCW fans litter the ring with crap. Suddenly, Warrior’s mysterious fog engulfs the ring. Sting comes in with his baseball bat to clear the ring. Warrior chases Hogan off with his weight lifting belt, and that’s all. *1/2 Sting and Bret’s stuff was perfectly fine, but Hogan added nothing, and it’s yet ANOTHER awful finish.

Sting vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart:

From the October 19th, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. Bret’s the reigning United States Champion, but he’s scheduled to meet Sting at Halloween Havoc with the Championship on the line. Hart runs down Sting, calling him a copy cat for stealing his move. Sting comes out and lays into Bret with rights. He takes him to the corner with mounted punches. Sting with an inverted atomic drop before sending Bret to the floor. He follows and sends the Hitman into the security rail. Back in the ring, Sting steals a page out of Hart’s book by stomping the fingers. He plants Hart with a splash and follows up with a jumping elbow drop for two. Sting with a slam, but the Vader Bomb meets the knees. Hart with a headbutt to the midsection, followed by raking the eyes across the top rope. Hart with a back breaker, but meets boot coming off the second rope. Sting drops Bret throat-first across the top rope and slaps on the Scorpion Deathlock, but Hart is too close to the ropes. Sting refuses to release, so it’s a Disqualification at 4:07. *1/2 Too short, but they had some energy in what we got from them. Unfortunately, they followed up at Halloween Havoc with probably the worst match these two could’ve possibly done for a PPV audience.

Sting vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Gorgeous George, Madusa, and Miss Madness):

From the June 7th, 1999 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, and thankfully the Era of Lobster Sting is over. Now we’re in the era of “Awful Team Madness” Randy Savage. When it comes to WCW, it feels like it’s always a lose-lose situation. Miss Madness, a.k.a Mona, is probably better known for her time in WWE as Molly Holly. We all know Madusa (a.k.a Alundra Blayze), and Gorgeous George was Savage’s real life girlfriend who I only remember for a naughty video she did. Gorgeous George immediately creates a distraction, allowing Savage to pound away. They take it to the floor, with Sting being dropped weakly across the rail and some cheap shots from Mona and Madusa. Savage pounds away as the crowd chants for something that isn’t this match. Savage throws a handful of baby powder in Sting’s face despite dominating the entire match. Miss Madness comes in for a pointless bump, and Savage knocks out the referee with a Piledriver, drawing a Disqualification at 4:15. Sting gives Scorpion Splashes to Miss Madness and Madusa, then Rick Steiner, Sting’s opponent for the upcoming Great American Bash, runs out for more nonsense. -* This was just awful. Why was this included?

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Booker T © vs. Sting:

From the July 31st, 2000 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. I had long given up on following the WCW product at this point. I think Sting was using a variation of Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy” as his theme music, but his entrance is cut out here, and I’m sure it will be dubbed over in the following matches with his Crow theme music. Sting offers a handshake. Booker grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Criss-cross, Sting with a hip toss, followed by a clothesline. Whip to the corner, Booker meets a boot, and Sting comes out with another clothesline. He goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Booker fights to the ropes. Sting kicks the leg out and goes for the Scorpion again, unsuccessfully. They take it to the floor, with Booker being whipped into the rail. Sting to the top rope, but a splash meets knees. Booker with a knee to the midsection, followed by the Axe Kick for a two count. Whip, Sting ducks a clotheslines and comes back with a body press. Sting sells it, falls to the floor, and gets pulled under the ring. Then he gets shoved back out, wearing fake blood on his forehead. Back in the ring, Sting with elbows. He misses a charge and Booker rolls him up for two. Sting ducks the jumping side kick and takes Booker down with a DDT for two. Sting escapes a suplex and goes for the Death Drop, but Booker fights out of it and plants Sting with the Book End for the three count at 5:13. Post-match, Sting pulls out the Demon. Vampiro and the Great Muta (MUTA?!) show up, and then Jeff Jarrett sneaks in from the crowd and attacks Booker T with a chair. ** If you take away the post-match shenanigans and the GOD AWFUL commentary (it’s Mark Madden, one of the most annoying men to ever be allowed to call a wrestling match), this was a fine match. Unfortunately, we had to suffer through all of that, so that 2-star rating feels more like a DUD.

2 out of 3 Falls Match: Sting vs. Jeff Jarrett:

From the September 13th, 2000 episode of WCW Thunder (yep, more Thunder. Yay). Sting proposes the winner of this upcoming match gets a shot at the WCW Champion, either Kevin Nash or Booker T, depending on the outcome of the upcoming Fall Brawl PPV. No idea why this is 2 out of 3 Falls. Fall #1: Jarrett immediately plays chicken-shit heel. Sting grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. They lockup again, with the same result. Criss-cross sequence, and Sting keeps running over Jarrett with shoulders. Jarrett with a knee to the midsection, followed by rights. Whip is reversed and Sting takes him over with a hip toss. Sting comes off the ropes with a clothesline, sending Jarrett to the floor. Sting dumps a bottle of water on Jarrett (not kidding) and walks him up the entrance ramp, taking him over with a snap suplex. Back in the ring, Jarrett with rights and stomping. Whip to the corner is reversed. Stinger Splash misses, but Sting remains in control and comes off the top with a flying clothesline. Sting to the top again, and a splash connects for two. He goes for the Death Drop, but Jarrett pulls the referee in, goes low, and plants Sting with the Stroke for three at 5:17. Fall #2: After a 10-second break, Jarrett stomps Sting to the floor and throws him into the rail. Sting comes back in with a sunset flip, and it’s good for three at 6:47. Well that was quick. Fall #3: Jarrett with boots to the midsection. Whip to the ropes, Sting ducks under a clothesline, and grabs a sleeper. Jarrett escapes and grabs his own sleeper. Sting rallies back to his feet and escapes with elbows. Sting grabs another sleeper, but Jarrett quickly counters with a back suplex for a near fall. Sting comes back with rights. They bop heads, leading to Sting falling head first into Jarrett’s groin. Sting starts no-selling being rammed to the buckle and unloads with rights and chops. Whip to the corner, and the Stinger Splash hits the referee. Stinger Splash connects on Jarrett. He goes for it again, hitting Jarrett and the replacement referee. He slaps on the Scorpion Deathlock, but there’s no referee. Sting drops the arm three times himself and calls for the bell at 11:23… and it’s official? ARE YOU SERIOUS, THAT REALLY COUNTS?! **3/4 Stupid, head-scratching finish aside, this was perfectly acceptable wrestling. Unfortunately, this disc has been so terrible, it’s been the best match so far, with little competition.

Sting, Booker T, Goldberg vs. Jeff Jarrett & KroniK:

From the October 25th, 2000 episode of WCW Thunder, out third match from their prestigious second-rate, nonsensically booked program that was supposed to be the Thursday (and later Wednesday) edition of Nitro. We’re a few nights away from Halloween Havoc, featuring one of the dumbest matches ever between Sting and Jarrett. KroniK is the marvelous tandem of Brian “Crush” Adams and Bryan “Adam Bomb” Clarke. Introductions eat up half the chapter run time (THANK GOD). Booker and Jarrett start. Booker with a side headlock and shoulder tackle, followed by a hip toss and spinning heel kick. Goldberg in, as well as Adams. Adams grabs a headlock, but a shoulder tackle does nothing. Goldberg punks him out and levels him with a clothesline. He takes Adams over with a double underhook suplex. Sting and Clarke go next. Sting gets shots in on Jarrett and Adams, kicks the leg from under Clarke, and locks in the Scorpion Deathlock, but Adams helps Clarke reach the ropes. Booker with a twisting diving forearm on Clarke for two. Adams with a cheap shot from the apron and Clarke plants him with a DDT. Adams with a sloppy piledriver for two. Jarrett sends him to the corner, but misses a charge, allowing Booker to roll him up for two. Booker ducks under a right and takes Jarrett down with a neck breaker. Booker tags both men, and I guess it’s legal. Goldberg winds up alone, planting Clarke with a Powerslam. He sets up for the Spear, but meets the post. Adams covers, barely for a one count. KroniK with the High Times (Double Chokeslam), but Sting prevents a cover. Boot to the midsection of Adams, followed by a bulldog. He connects with the Stinger Splash, ducks a guitar shot from Jarrett, and plants him with the Scorpion Death Drop for the three count at 7:01. Post-match, Scott Steiner runs in, whacking people with lead pipes. Steiner locks Booker in the Steiner Recliner, Jarrett has Sting in the Figure-Four, and KroniK are double teaming Goldberg on the floor as we fade to black. **1/2 Surprisingly fun and energetic, with no slow periods and tolerable commentary. Another lame post-match beating, but I’m used to it.

Sting vs. Ric Flair:

From the March 26th, 2001 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, the last night of WCW’s existence, and the last match period. Sting and Flair was probably the most iconic feud in the history of WCW, so it only makes sense to close the doors of the promotion with them going one-on-one. Flair must not be in the best game shape, wearing a Nitro t-shirt the whole time. Lockup into the corner, Sting shoves Flair down. Flair grabs a side headlock, but a shoulder tackle goes in Sting's favor. Sting grabs a knucklelock, and Flair thumbs the eyes. Flair with chops in the corner. Sting turns the tide, unloading with a flurry of boots, rights, and chops. He sends Flair across the ring with a hip toss, and follows with a dropkick, sending Flair to the floor. Back inside, Flair with a headlock and shoulder tackle. Criss-cross, and Flair begs him off before strutting. Whip is reversed, and Sting takes him over with a press slam. Sting ignores the begging and traps Flair in the corner with mounted punches... and we get the Flair Flop because IT HAD TO BE DONE! Sting no-sells the chops, BECAUSE IT HAD TO BE DONE, but Flair goes low, which is, in fact, sold. Flair with chops, a snapmare, and knee across the forehead. Flair with a snapmare, and heads to the top rope... because it has to be done. Sting slams him off, of course, and runs through him with clotheslines. Flair avoids a dropkick and slaps on the Figure-Four in the center of the ring. He uses the ropes because it has to be done. Sting decides it's time to start no-selling it and turns the pressure over. He no-sells the chops and flexes the muscles in response. Whip to the corner, Flair flips, but not quite onto the apron. Sting sets him up on the top rope and connects with the Super-Plex. The Scorpion Deathlock is applied, and it's all over at 7:19. Post-match, Sting helps Flair to his feet and they hug as Schiavone and Hudson put over both Superstars and the history of WCW one last time. ** Generously graded, as this was just an homage to what fans would've expected. They worked in every signature spot they could've mustered, whether the match called for it or not. Flair using the ropes, Sting no-selling the chops, it was all here, and it was all glorious to watch.

Disc 3 Final Thoughts: I’m not going to lie, I went into this portion of the set with low expectations and wasn’t surprised by the lackluster quality of the majority of the matches. I honestly couldn’t pick any memorable matches from Sting other than the Starrcade ’97 stinker and the Final Nitro with Flair from this era of his career, and it looks like nobody in charge of putting together the set could, either. Thankfully the last hour features some moderately decent wrestling, but holy crap, was the first two hours some of the worst I could possibly imagine ever compiled for commercial release. Even the Kane DVD set had a better hits-to-miss ratio.

Final Thoughts: Despite the lackluster third disc of the set (which happens to run the longest, at 2 hours 40 minutes), I still found this to be a mostly enjoyable compilation of matches. You could argue the WWE Network effected the exclusion of certain PPV and Clash matches, but honestly, those matches are on plenty of other DVD sets already, so it’s a false reason to complain about something. I love Sting, but I won’t pretend he was an elite worker. He was pretty good in his prime, and good enough to consistently have watchable matches. TV matches with Vader, Barry Windham, Ron Simmons, and a host of others are largely unremarkable, but only because of the limited time based on their original televised plans. Yes, Vader vs. Sting on any PPV going 15-20 minutes is almost a guaranteed 4-star match, but I appreciate digging deeper for this set and giving us matches we can’t find just anywhere (or by simply logging in to the WWE Network). If you’re a Sting fan, this is obviously a must-see, but for casual fans, there’s enough to give a recommendation, but it’s not a slam dunk like the Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels sets.

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