STARRCAST 2 SPOTLIGHT: Sting talks about critical turning points in career, knee injury, changes to Hogan match at Starrcade ’97, did he like rappelling from rafters

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR (@zheydorntorch)


Ongoing coverage, reviews, grades, and analysis of this weekend’s Starrcast 2 shows and events from Las Vegas, Nevada.


BEHIND THE PAINT, WITH STING
MAY 24, 2019
PRO WRESTLING TEES THEATRE
STREAMED ON FITE TV

Host: Tony Schiavone

Sometimes it’s fun to kickback, relax, and enjoy a legend of the business talking about the business. That’s what this event was all about. Did Sting get into intricacies, politics, and other controversial topics during his hour long event at Starrcast? No. Instead he traversed the entirety of his career in broad strokes, but in a way that showcased a man content with his place in history.

Tony Schiavone started the event with an old school Sting introduction. Then, the phones came out and the audience gave The Icon a loud reaction. Sting walked out to the stage in his full face paint getup before screeching his patented yell to a second loud roar. To start, Sting talked about his early days in the business with Jim Hellwig. He talked about being the Freedom Fighters and then the Blade Runners in promotions headed up by Jerry Jarrett and Bill Watts.

The conversation then shifted to his 1988 World Championship match against Ric Flair at Clash Of Champions. Sting said he was “very nervous” about the match, but had trust in Flair to get him through it. As that discussion carried on it took a hard turn to the artistry behind Sting’s face paint. He said he started the paint with Hellwig as a means to get attention from promoters and fans. Sting then brought out his Dusty Rhodes impression to explain how the colored “surfer Sting” paint came about. He said all credit for that look went to Dusty, but said ultimately the paint style was typically a game time call influenced by his ring gear.

The tone of the event shifted from there as Sting discussed his knee injury in 1989. He said it was a nervous time for him given how close he was to becoming the star he dreamed of. The injury conversation ended with Sting discussing his comeback and world title win against Ric Flair in Baltimore. He made it abundantly clear here and at other points throughout the event that Flair was his greatest opponent. In this instance, he said he didn’t know if he’d be able to execute the match as good as he did if it wasn’t for Flair on the other side of the ring.

The NWO time period in WCW was up next. Sting called it a great time for him professionally, but a bad time for him personally. Professionally, he said that his creative juices were flowing during this time period and that he “came into his own.” Schiavone asked him if he enjoyed repelling from the rafters and he simply said “no.” He said he could tell stories of multiple close calls, but specifically discussed a time in Chicago where he was “this close” to disaster.

The Starrcade 1997 match against Hulk Hogan topic caused some fans in the audience to groan. Sting acknowledged the groans, but played his cards close to the vest in terms of details he revealed. He said they had a year long plan for the match, but that on the day of the show, that plan changed. He blamed closed door meetings and confusion for the match failing and said that had the entire thing gone as planned, the match would have been better.

To wrap, Sting took questions from the audience and put to bed a handful of questions surrounding the past and future of his career. No, he doesn’t think a match with the Undertaker will happen. His favorite in-ring opponents outside of Ric Flair were Vader, Rick Rude, and the Great Muta. He also replied to a fan with, “yep,” when answering whether or not he’d return for the right price.

Throughout this event, Sting was introspective and positive about his career. Even the TNA days and the dog days of WCW leading up to WWE’s purchase. He was positive and proud about the end of his career as well. In case there was any doubt among fans, Sting took full responsibility for his accident with Seth Rollins and said it was his fault all the way. Still, he was proud of the match and happy to end his career with one of today’s best performers.

Never say never in the wrestling business, but Sting, the man, conveyed a true sense of pride and finality regarding all the things he’s accomplished. One more match? Who’s to say. Sting certainly won’t lose sleep if it doesn’t happen.


NOW CHECK OUT OTHER STARRCAST 2 COVERAGE: STARRCAST 2 SPOTLIGHT: Double Or Nothing official weigh in and press conference

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