PWInsider - WWE News, Wrestling News, WWE

 
 

LOOKING AT STING VS HOGAN: THE DREAM MATCH THAT WOULDN'T GO AWAY

By Stuart Carapola on 2012-08-01 14:57:33
In one of those situations where my full time job interferes with my ability to do work for the site, I never got to finish the dream match series from a couple of weeks ago, and I promised you stories about two more dream matches we did eventually get...and then got them again...and again...and again until we wished we had never wished for it. I'm still going to do that today and tomorrow, and as a bonus, I'll also talk Friday about the one and only dream match I can ever remember seeing that lived up to my expectations without it being run into the ground or taken it in any weird storyline directions. But that's still a couple of days away, so for now, let's relive the misery of...

Hulk Hogan vs Sting

When Hulk Hogan first came to WCW in 1994, there were two obvious conflicts his presence would cause. Firstly, he would be replacing Ric Flair as the top star in the company, and as I discussed last time, Flair was rewarded for his 15 years of service by being given the opportunity to play jobber for the Hulkster. The other was that Sting, who had long been the top babyface in the company, would also now be playing second banana to Hogan. Longtime WCW fans were furious that their two top guys were now a clear step below this unwelcome guest, and while we saw something like ten or twelve billion Flair vs Hogan matches, the idea of putting Sting against Hogan was a much more interesting one because they held off on doing it for over three years.

For the sake of completeness, yes, Sting and Hogan wrestled on an episode of Monday Nitro in late 1995, but it was a one week thing that ended in a DQ and was used to build Hogan's storyline with the Dungeon of doom. The first time Sting and Hogan came together in a meaningful situation was Starrcade 1997 when Sting would try to destroy Hogan and end the NWO once and for all. It may have been the best build to any match WCW ever did, because Sting had walked out on WCW because of the NWO Sting angle, and spent the next 15 months hanging out in the rafters watching the WCW vs NWO war unfold without setting foot in the ring himself the entire time. The fans were dying to see Sting face Hogan, and it led to Starrcade 97 earning the highest PPV buyrate WCW ever did. It was supposed to be the perfect blowoff where Sting squashed Hogan and beat him for the WCW World Title, destroying the NWO in the process and saving WCW. It couldn't go wrong.

Except it did. After laying Sting out on Nitro the week before Starrcade, Hogan basically beat the crap out of Sting the entire match, hit the legdrop, and pinned him clean in the middle of the ring. Referee Nick Patrick, who apparently was supposed to fast count Sting, instead hit as even and fair a three count as you've ever seen. This led to Bret Hart (who was an official referee for the night) coming out to restart the match so Sting could put Hogan in the Scorpion Deathlock and win the title, but the fact remained that after over a year's build, three and a half if you go back to Hogan's debut in WCW, Sting was supposed to be the hero who saved the day, but what was saw was a 100% clean win for Hogan, who ended up getting screwed by the REAL crooked referee, Bret Hart.

So what did WCW do to salvage the situation? If you said "take this huge, money drawing main event that was years in the making and do a rematch the NEXT NIGHT on Nitro" then you win the million dollar prize! Due to Hogan's understandable fury at being screwed the night before, they had a rematch the next night just to make all the fans who paid for it the night before feel like idiots, and just to screw them that much more, they did the infamous "we're out of time!" finish we got every other week on Nitro where there were a bunch of run-ins and the show ends before the match does. So the match ends in some kind of no-contest, and I suppose this was their moron way of making us want to see them fight again and have a conclusive finish.

Sure enough, the title was held up and they faced off a third time at Superbrawl VIII to decide matters once and for all. Sting hit the Scorpion Deathdrop, but before Hogan would let Sting pin him with his finish, Randy Savage ran out and hit the already unconscious Hogan with what appeared to be a spraypaint can before Sting finally pinned him in no less a screwy fashion than the first two times to "win" the feud. By the way, Sting lost the title to Savage two months later and then Savage turned around and lost it to Hogan the next night, so you know who really won in the end.

Wait, did I say the end? Not even close, because now we get to fast forward to 1999 when their feud reignited, and it was WAY worse than the first time around. Hogan was a babyface again by this time, but Sting was again accusing him of something untoward involving a white Hummer, and I honestly forget what it was, but I think most people have probably put it out of their minds and just remember it as a really bad angle. Anyway, the match at Fall Brawl 99 was atrocious and featured run-ins from Diamond Dallas Page, Bret Hart, Sid Vicious, and Lex Luger before Sting, who was supposed to be the accusing babyface, knocks Hogan out with a baseball bat and gets the Scorpion Deathlock to win the title.

It was actually the cleanest win I think Sting had ever gotten over Hogan, but WCW had gotten really sadistic by late 99 and booked a rematch at Halloween Havoc. Oh, and by the way, Halloween Havoc 99 was the first WCW show Vince Russo ever booked. So Sting comes out for the match, Hogan's music starts and stops twice before he finally comes out in street clothes, then lays down and lets Sting pin him. We all know how Russo loves his work/shoot things, but this was one that frankly had even the online fans scratching their heads, though they chalked it up to Hogan probably just pulling a power play because he didn't want to do a job. In any event, Hogan disappeared from WCW for a few months, came back to squash Billy Kidman for a few months, then had the EXACT same thing happen at Bash At The Beach 2000, except this time Jarrett laid down for Hogan and then Russo cut a promo on Hogan afterward in what turned out to be Hogan's last appearance in WCW.

Hogan ended up going back to WWE in 2002, Sting went into semi-retirement, and all was well with the world...until 2010. Yep, Sting had been back in the ring working in TNA for several years when who should happen to suddenly sign a big deal to become the centerpiece of the company? That's right, our old buddy Hulk. At least this time his in-ring activity would be kept to a minimum, except that...yeah, you know where this is going...Hogan's entire storyline in TNA led to him turning heel, taking over the company, and building to a match with Sting in the main event of the biggest show of the year. People had made all kinds of jokes that we'd see Hogan back in the ring with Flair and Hogan, and he'd probably bring the Nasty Boys with him, but everyone meant those as jokes because they didn't think any of them would actually happen.

Every last one of them did, but Hogan vs Flair and the Nasty Boys were just blips on the radar, because TNA was soon all about Sting vs Hogan for the thousandth or so time. This time, Hogan came in as this big babyface who was going to "save the company, Brother" and Sting (who was joined for a while by Kevin Nash & D'Angelo Dinero) had apparently turned heel and tried to convince Dixie Carter that Hogan was only out for himself, and that he and Eric Bischoff would pull some kind of power play eventually.

Dixie obviously didn't believe Sting (one of her most loyal soldiers) and Nash (one of the greatest politicians in the history of the business), and I'm not sure if that makes her the smartest or stupidest person in TNA. Either way, she didn't believe Sting and Nash and they ended up disappearing from TNA. Hogan tricked Dixie into signing the company over to him, and the heel turn happened at Bound For Glory when Hogan helped Jeff Hardy (also turning heel) win the TNA World Title and using him as the centerpiece of his Immortal faction.

I guess everyone involved thought the buyrate at Starrcade 97 was so good, they ought to try to do the same thing again, so now Sting returned as the TNA patriot turned outsider turned last hope for the company, and they spent the entire next YEAR building to what now stands as the final Hogan-Sting match at Bound For Glory 2011. This was now 14 years after the Starrcade match and Hogan was so broken down physically that he could barely move, but he still tried to play babyface and dominate Sting throughout the match. Sting finally managed to knock out Ric Flair (who was now Hogan's sidekick through a series of storyline twists I don't care to even try and sort out), steal his set of knucks, and use them to bust Hogan open. Two Stinger Splashes and a Scorpion Deathlock later, Hogan taps out. Immortal runs into the ring to beat Sting down, and after Sting desperately screams for help from Hogan (you know, the guy he had been trying to destroy for the last year), Hogan hulks up, tears the shirt off, and clears out Immortal basically by himself. No title was on the line here, but Sting's victory did return control of TNA to Dixie Carter, who rewarded Sting by making him the GM of Impact Wrestling.

Of course, she was also a big enough mark to take Sting's advice to make Hogan (whom Sting was now best buddies with) the GM a few months later, which is exactly the position he was in when he stole the company the first time around, but at least now everyone's getting along. At least until next time.

I'll be back tomorrow with one more dream match we seemed to see every time we turned the TV on, then on Friday it's the one and only dream match that turned out as good as we had hoped!

If you enjoy PWInsider.com you can check out the AD-FREE PWInsider Elite section, which features exclusive audio updates, news, our critically acclaimed podcasts, interviews and more, right now for THREE DAYS free by clicking here!