The Top 10 of Sting



On the 10th anniversary of WCW’s closing, and the current reign of Sting as TNA Champion, I began to compile a list of moments I believe to be the ten that any wrestling fan should know are Sting’s best. So, here it is.

First, let’s start off big.

10. Sting vs. “Hollywood” Hogan – WCW Starrcade 1997.

In a match built up for almost a year, where Sting rarely wrestled at all, this promised to be an explosion of immense proportions, not only in the career of Sting, but also for World Championship Wrestling. WCW had enjoyed a seemingly endless streak of “victories” over the WWF in the Monday Night Wars, thanks to the boom caused by the New World Order, led by “Hollywood” Hogan.

Sting would fight Hogan in this match for the World Heavyweight Championship in front of over 17,000 people at the MCI Centre, Washington D.C. The match itself wasn’t fantastic, and the finish, it turns out, was botched by Nick Patrick, who was meant to do a fast-count, but the build-up and the energy of Sting makes this an unforgettable moment in the history of the Stinger. It had the potential to be number 1 on this list, but Hogan’s poor wrestling ability, the botched finish by Nick Patrick and the nonsense that followed Starrcade made it slip down the pecking order.

9. Sting vs. Ric Flair – WCW Nitro 2001.

From one glorious moment in the career of Sting, to the seeming end of it. WCW was bought by the WWE (back then the WWF) and the final Nitro on March 26th, 2001 would start with Ric Flair issuing a challenge to Sting in an amazingly intense in-ring promo. “My greatest opponent. Sting, it’s your last chance… to be the man, you gotta beat the man.”

The fight was smooth, the banter between referee Charles Robinson and Ric Flair during, and the ultimate baby-face nature of Sting made this match the perfect way for WCW to sign off forever.

8. Sting vs. DDP – WCW Nitro 1999.

Possibly a surprise to some, but a must-have for me. The rise of Diamond Dallas Page was a completely different one to what Sting had in the late 80’s and early 90’s. From a manager and announcer to a World Champion, his scale of the ladder was incredible, and remains one of the best stories to come out of pro-wrestling to this day. And in April 1999, the two squared up on WCW Monday Nitro. Not for the first time, and not for the last, but they squared up in a World Title match on Nitro after DDP had won the World Title at Spring Stampede the previous Sunday.

A 15+ minute match that showed two of the best WCW had to offer in the prime of their careers.

7. Sting vs. The Great Muta – NWA/WCW Great American Bash 1989.

Two high-octane, adrenaline pumped, super-fast pro-wrestlers go at it not only showcasing their high-flying and athletic ability, but also their sublime technical ability in a superb wrestling match which ends in controversy. This year would be the year Sting finally broke out and made the world sit up and take notice – he was a superstar… an Icon in training.

6. Sting vs. Jeff Jarrett – TNA Bound for Glory 2006.

The first entry on the list for TNA, and what an entry it is. After months out of the ring again, and a challenge set in stone for Bound for Glory, Sting would face Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Championship. Jarrett had built a faction of people to not only protect him and his title, but also to dominate and run TNA ragged. Sting accepted this challenge when he noticed Alex Shelley filming him and his family on the “Shelley Cam” and confronted him about why he was doing it.

The sheer energy of the crowd in this one is enough to put it down as a classic for TNA. Jeff Jarrett has always been a smooth worker in the ring, and Sting looked excellent physically. The finish swerved many people and the crowds reaction to Sting before he wins it is incredible. Oh, and did I mention Kurt Angle would be the special enforcer in this match?

5. Sting vs. Mick “Cactus Jack” Foley – WCW Beach Blast 1992.

“Cactus Jack” had been on the rise in WCW. Sting was the current World Champion. The two were eventually going to meet, but nobody thought it would be under these circumstances. The title is NOT on the line, however, in the typical hardcore style of Mick Foley, this would be a falls count anywhere bout and have some serious bumps in it that would make any fan cringe.

Foley isn’t as beat up as he was in the WWF/E, Sting was the surfer-blonde “dude” full of energy so this is even more of a classic now as it was back then.

4. Sting vs. Vader – WCW Starrcade 1992.

Sting and Vader wrestled each other on and off for two years between 1992 and 1994, and every single PPV match was a classic in its own right. On WCW’s biggest stage, Starrcade, they would both go at it to crown a new “King of Cable.” The huge Vader goes in with a massive weight advantage, as well as striking ability. Sting goes in with speed, charisma and that energy you expect from the Stinger, pre-1996.

This match just goes to show that contrasting styles don’t always go wrong. A great match.

3. Sting vs. Kurt Angle – TNA Bound for Glory III/2007.

Kurt Angle arrived exactly twelve months previous to this event, and the seeds had been planted at BFG 2006 for the two to meet at some point. During the year, Sting and Angle would face each other time and again. The whole year would go on the two building up to an explosive match at Bound for Glory. Angle even resorted to stalking Sting’s son Garrett and accusing Sting of slapping his wife, to which Sting actually had to get a restraining order out on Karen, Kurt’s then wife, to stop her from going near him. The restraining order was still in effect at Bound for Glory as she attempts to distract Sting. But it isn’t Karen that Sting should be worried about.

Another 15+ minute match that shows that Sting could still go at the top level, toe to toe with the best. Sting even takes a legitimate baseball bat to the head, busting his head wide open, yet still completes the match.

2. Sting vs. Ric Flair – WCW Great American Bash 1990.

This is the moment Sting on his first NWA/WCW World Championship. This would validate Sting as a true Main Event player, but also showed that he had the potential to be a man that could be one of the biggest wrestling has ever seen. Fight after fight, promo after promo in the feud with Ric Flair culminated in this, and would be talked about forever.

On this day, the Ric Flair seal of approval went to Sting.

1. Sting vs. Ric Flair – NWA Clash of the Champions.

The prequel to Sting’s Great American Bash title win. This is the match that made Sting the Main Event of the NWA/WCW with Flair. A 45 minute draw with “the Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Incredible technical wrestling and charisma from two of the best at the time. Ric Flair is on the top of his game and Sting is already over with the fans, needing that one match that can shunt him into the limelight for the rest of his career. Never since have I seen such a match end in a draw and be so satisfying, and never have I see a draw elevate one or both wrestlers to all-new heights in pro-wrestling than this. Nothing more needs to be said about this match. It is simply a masterclass.

Honourable Mention:

Sting vs. Goldberg – WCW Nitro 1998.

Not many matches stick out in the memory of WCW fans as being particularly decent when involving Goldberg. This one isn’t going to blow your socks off, but at the time, Sting had just joined the Wolfpac, remaining arguably the biggest face in the company, squaring off with arguably the second biggest face in the company, and a man on a 130-odd winning streak in World Champion, Goldberg. Sting did things to Goldberg that were simply impossible to imagine at the time. Scooping him up like he was a bag of air, slamming him upside down in the tree-of-woe, reversing a tombstone-piledriver and drilling Goldberg down on his head.

The mutual respect documented in Goldberg’s book “I’m Next” compliments this match perfectly, and at the end, Goldberg checks on Sting then helps him to the back.

Sting vs. Kurt Angle – TNA iMPACT! 2009

The infamous “Empty Arena Match.” While the match itself isn’t a classic, it’s certainly a unique and vital part of Sting’s history, particularly in TNA. The Main Event Mafia remains to this day one of the best factions, if not THE best and most successful factions to come out of TNA, and at the height of it, Angle and Sting formed a vital part of its success.

The promo at the end is full of anything you need from a promo. Best of all, it’s believable.

(The list above is a personal compilation of Sting’s greatest matches to me personally. It is in no way official.)


About Mark Ashworth
Life-long Blackburn Rovers fan. Long-time wrestling fan. Passionate Juventini and Culé. 19 Year's as a "little Stinger."

2 Responses to The Top 10 of Sting

  1. Richard Wright says:

    you said this was the top ten moments and as a moment Sting Vs Hogan at Starcade 1997 was the biggest moment not just for Sting but possibly the biggest for WCW. If this was top ten matches yeah it might not be but as a moment Sting Vs Hogan at Starcade 1997 should be number 1.

  2. he6rt6gr6m says:

    I couldn’t possibly begin to estimate Starrcade ’97 as being over the Clash of the Champions or Great American Bash.

    While I agree that it was a massive moment in the history of Sting and WCW, the sheer stupidity of the way it was all handled and played out was a huge letdown. It should have been different, and would have been higher if it had been done correctly, elevating Sting to all new heights. As it was, Nick Patrick completely fluffed his lines and, for whatever reason, Hogan refused to job cleanly. The use of Bret Hart became embarrassing, due to Patrick’s incompetence.

    I guess thinking about what this could have done for Sting has made me see this in a different light and place it way down in the list.

    I consider the article not so much about one company, but more about one man and his legacy across three organisations.

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