WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016: Sting

sting

Sting

Class of 2016

The Icon, The Franchise, The Vigilante, The Face of WCW

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Hall of Fame Rating

9 out of 10

Icon

Survivor Series 2014. In a moment anticipated for years, Sting made his debut in a WWE ring. It was 13 years in the making since the death of WCW. One can even consider it to be 25 years in the making. Everyone came to WWE, except Sting.  Sting in WWE was a surreal moment for sure.  What made his entry in a WWE ring even stranger is that he’s always been the star of the “other” company, whether NWA, WCW or TNA. Sting, a main event talent around the world, was finally becoming part of the WWEized reality of professional wrestling. The other promotions’ guy was now a WWE guy…kinda.

Throughout his long and storied career, Sting has been in the main event, hovered near the main event, or been a franchise player. In WCW, he became the “face of the company” starting back in the early 90s. By the time WCW went out of business, there were few who had the longevity, name recognition or gravitas in WCW that was enjoyed by the Icon.

In TNA, Sting took on that role as well. He became a corner-stone of the organization when he joined in 2006/2007. He quickly became the elder statesmen, the good hand and the first TNA Hall of Famer in an organization which at its best…floundered.

lolTNA

One could easily say that despite “never making it to the big time” (aka the WWE…at least according to the WWE), it wasn’t for lack of opportunity. Sting easily could have joined the E in the 80s during his run as Surfer Sting (in fact there was some talk of bringing him in during 1988-1989 time period…at least according to Hulk Hogan….) and again upon the dissolving of WCW. Sting was very blunt as to why he didn’t join the company in 2001 during an interview with TNA

And Sting was right. If he had joined in 2001-2004, he would have been treated as lesser talent like many of his WCW brethren: DDP became the Stalker (huh) losing in a match to the Undertaker’s wife. Booker T went from the 5 time WCW champion to fighting Edge over a hair care product commercial (huh). Scott Steiner went from Big Poppa Pump to Triple H’s bitch and the list goes on and on. IF WWE were good at business and able to put personal feelings, and resentments aside, WCW would probably exist today, under the WWE banner. But Vince McMahon and company have never actually done what’s best for business, as much as what they feel. Just look at Roman Reigns….

Biggest flop since Lex Luger

Biggest flop since Lex Luger

So when Sting arrives in WWE, he is 55/56 years old, much too old to be a full-time performer. He is treated, like the Undertaker, Triple H and other main event players of yesteryear, as an attraction. That was a good choice and a smart way to use Sting. All seemed like it was leading to Sting having his Wrestlemania moment. And then at Wrestlemania 31, this happened….

Sting lost…to Triple H… in order to protect Triple H? Triple H has a history of making WCW talents feel lesser and that was the story WWE told.  Sting was the last bastion of WCW that Triple H needed to beat. I’m so glad Sting waited 14 years to get buried….

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Triple H did it to Booker T, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash and even Goldberg. He now proved he was better than Sting. Good for you Triple H.

smug triple h

Thanks. Its great to be me

Sting’s WWE record is 2-2, with two wins on the same episode of RAW (and one being a DQ victory over Big Show). At PPV, Sting’s WWE record is 0-2. And now he’s hurt and now he will retire. And that’s that. All in all, not a great run with the organization. And funnily, even since joining WWE, nothing has really changed for Sting. He is still the guy from the other company and now that’s he going into the Hall of Fame- he will be immortalized as that-the big name from WCW.

For those not in the know, Sting did not began his career in WCW. He began it in a tag team with this man…

UltimateWarriorYeahhh

As one half of the Blade Runners, Sting, despite his greenness showcased that he was clay to be molded. Both Warrior and Sting proved the old adage of the “Shawn Michaels of a team” wrong and had great success as singles stars.

bladerunners

Funnily, Sting and Warrior, in the late 80s/early 90s played the same role in their respective organizations. They both were the second tier star (after Flair/Hogan) who came into their own through their energy, character and passion. While Sting became a much better in ring performer than Warrior, it can be argued that he didn’t reach the pinnacle of popularity Warrior had in 1990/1991. And yet Sting did have something else Warrior did not have, longevity.

And Killer Hair

And Killer Hair

In WCW, Sting never fully reached that high Echelon marker in his time as Surfer Sting. He certainly held the world title and did serve as baby face for the company during 1990-1991, but WCW never fully believed in the Sting’s type of “WWE style” wrestler. He was for lack of a better word, a sports entertainer, in a company of wrestlers.

WCW officials always preferred Ric Flair and his ilk; good performers in the ring. Flair served as the go to champion, holding the belt for the most part from 1986-1991, when he took it to WWF.

Sting, after becoming champion, was a victim of bad writing, bad storytelling and lack of clear opponents. I am hesitant to even mention some of the Wrestling Crap Sting was put through during his reign.

Okay, I mentioned it.  Still Sting, played the company guy and feuded with Vader, trading the US title with Rick Rude, hit Jake Roberts with a Coal Miners Glove and all in all was the solid face character up until 1994 when the landscape of WCW and Sting’s career changed.

In 1994, WCW got its biggest acquisition in history and brought Hulk Hogan to the organization. This changed everything for WCW. Gone were the wrestling days of WCW/NWA and the bizarre and terrible writing of 1992-1993 WCW. It was replaced with the Hulk Hogan show, featuring a group of extremely unworthy and terrible wrestlers jobbing to Hulk Hogan.

In that world, Sting was an after thought, as was Ric Flair. He pleasantly trucked along as tag partner of Lex Luger and did what was told. By 1996, while still beloved, it appeared Sting had peaked. He would remain an upper mid-card face who never quite made it in the main event long-term.

Then this happened

nwo1

In 1996, WCW- everyone was joining the NOW, it seemed a day couldn’t go by without some star, both large (Randy Savage) and small (Mike Rotunda) joining. Lex Luger accused Sting of turning his back on WCW and joining the NOW secretly, mostly due to the fact that Lex Luger isn’t very good at noticing fake Stings.

fake sting

Sting then said” Fuck ya’ll I’m going home” and had one of the greatest character changes and feud bookings in the history of professional wrestling. Sting became Crow Sting, a man who didn’t speak, carried a bat and was his own man.

Its easy to forget just how amazing it was when Sting finally used his bat on the Now. The build to Sting’s match with Hollywood Hogan at Starrcade 1997 was the best in the history of WCW. And they really didn’t pull it off. WCW, like current day WWE, was not good at the storytelling thing. Convoluted is a word and is what happened.

Sting’s win by cheating at Starrcade fizzled out his momentum and for the next few years, he fell back into doing whatever was asked of him, including joining the NOW Wolfpack for some reason, turning heel for some reason, and eventually having the final WCW match against his greatest rival, Ric Flair.

This easily could have been a career ender for Sting. He decided to wait out his Time Warner contract (as did Hall, Nash, Goldberg, Steiner and many others) and get paid for sitting home. Biggest difference is Sting didn’t go to the WWE once the money ran out. Instead he found god, and joined TNA.

Now, I don’t speak on TNA very often…because frankly it doesn’t matter. It is I think the only organization in history who has ever been able to squander not only Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Sting, Booker T, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Jeff Hardy but also its own homegrown talent. It’s just a poorly run place.

And Sting did very well there. He fell into his role, won the belt a bunch of times and that’s that. The reason I even mention TNA is it did help define and strengthen Sting as a performer, even if WWE will not admit it.

Sting added Joker Sting to his repertoire. It was a huge change to his character (and a basic direct copy of Heath Ledger’s Joker) and it worked. It, in my opinion, is one of the best things TNA has ever done.

And it funnily enough even came to WWE a little during Sting’s feud with Seth Rollins. Ah.. Joker Sting…

So what’s the conclusion here. There are some reports that Sting will retire live at the WWE Hall of Fame due to injuries sustained during his bout with Seth Rollins. Sting himself has said that those rumors are bunk, which probably means they are true.

Sting is, was and forever will be an amazing performer who changed himself in ways other main event talents have never been able to do. It’s a worthy headline induction.

sting-woo

 

 

Why 2016?

Who else could headline in 2016? WWE will have tons of headliners upcoming, just not right now.

Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Triple H, Batista and John Cena are all upcoming, but first they needed the greatest missing 80s and 90s star.

Plus Sting is 57 years old, semi-retired and now with WWE. The E is happy with his two matches on PPV and are transitioning to more of legend mode for Sting.

Opens Door For?

The rest of WCW- DDP, Lex Luger, and Vader should join.

Also, others from TNA- Kurt Angle I am looking at you.

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

Sting not wanting to go in due to continuing to wrestle. WWE really does hate WCW, mostly because they couldn’t make it work due to their general incompetence.

 ‘

Sting Announced for WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016

sting

The headliner is in! The Stinger is officially joining the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016. Expect Sting to headline this class as the major marquee star.

Sting, the last of the great WCW stars to join the WWE, had his only 4 matches with the E in 2015, coming out with a record of 2-2. (and 0-2 on PPV)

His injury during his WWE WH Championship match had led to speculation of retirement. His induction likely cements that we have seen the last of 56 year old Sting in the WWE ring.

Sting will be forever entwined with WCW, its legacy and its style. His greatest feuds included Ric Flair (likely to induct him), Hollywood Hogan, Vader and Lex Luger.

I will write a full breakdown of the Stinger in the upcoming weeks.

Are you Happy to see the Stinger in the WWE Hall of Fame?

 

WWE Hall of Fame 2016 Predicitions

2015 has  been a real up and down year for wrestling. NXT is blossoming while WWE pretends its biggest star in history doesn’t exist. We’ve lost Hall of Famers like Roddy Piper, Verne Gagne and Dusty Rhodes meanwhile Icons like Undertaker, Sting and The Dudley Boyz are back.

The WWE Hall of Fame in 2015 was no different. Macho Man Randy Savage finally joined the Halls!….after he died. Larry Zbyzsko wrote an amazing speech…which he forgot. Kevin Nash headlined….wait their is no positive there.

2015 suffered because of its size. It had 9 inductees. That’s two headliners, a woman, a celebrity, a foreign act, a tag team, an 70s wrestler, The Warrior Award and Rikishi.

While I love Zbyzsko, Medusa and Fujinamani deservedly going in, The Bushwhackers, Rikishi and even our celebrity inductee were lackluster at best (granted Luke and Butch were great comic relief)

2016 will be in Dallas, Texas. If one thing came out of 2015’s class it is that we are guaranteed a smaller class of likely no more than 6 and the Warrior Award, 6 total or 6 without the Warrior Award (aka the award which can only now go to dead children)

izzard

With all that in mind. I have broken down my predictions for the WWE Class of 2016. We start with an ICON!

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Sting

sting

Many might be expecting the Undertaker here in this slot. Last year, I predicted that Undertaker would headline the Class of 2015.  I was dead wrong, pun intended. Taker did not retire as expected, he appeared at Wrestlemania 31 and as of this writing also wrestled Summerslam. Now, by no means is the actually 50 year old “dead man” returning full time. He’s not. He did Vince a favor. A favor to come in and main event Summerslam to give it the big time feel and extra WWE Network buys.

Well what does all this have to do with Sting? Well, the WWE simply doesn’t need Sting as much. And although he is now in WWE World Heavyweight Championship program, even if he beats Rollins, it will be short (and cashed in upon from Sheamus) Sting is the pinnacle of part time. Most of his time is spent doing marketing and being an ambassador for the company. He can do that as a WWE Hall of Famer.

I expect Sting to retire at Wrestlemania 32 (he is 56 years old as of this writing). He will not face Taker, instead he will fight and likely lose to an up and coming talent who can carry him (Looking at you Cesaro). End career. Welcome to the Hall of Fame.

Chances of Induction: 7 out of 10

Reason it Won’t Happen: Summerslam forces Taker to retire. Or WWE does induct him while still active. (NOT A GOOD IDEA)

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Fabulous Freebirds

TheFabulousFreebirds_crop_340x234

This omission has been one of the biggest head scratchers since 2009 (with the induction of the Von Erichs). Why are the Fabulous Freebirds not in the WWE Hall of Fame? They were one of the most important tag teams in the history of wrestling. Their feud with the Von Erichs was one of the hottest feuds in the country from 1982-1985. These men were territory specialists. They succeeded almost everywhere they went (excluding the WWF where they were made faces for no reason and left after a month). They could have easier fit in classes in Atlanta (2011), New Orleans (2014) and California (2015). The Freebirds are that prolific.

Michael PS Hayes has worked with the WWE for 15-20 years. He’s bought in to the WWE way of doing things, important to the company and an obvious choice.  Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts are both deceased, so expect Jimmy Garvin (Freedbird circa WCW) to join as a member as well.

Most importantly, this years Hall of Fame is happening in Dallas. Dallas was one of the major cities in WCCW, where arguably the Freebirds had their greatest success.

Chances of Induction: 9 out of 10

Reasons not to induct: Confederate Flag was their costumes. Racism of Hayes. I mean he is most defiantly a racist.

http://www.tmz.com/2008/04/23/wwe-writer-allegedly-dishes-racist-smackdown/

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Stan Hansen

hansen

Stan Hansen is one of those talents who someday will make the WWE Hall of Fame. He is an obvious inductee. He was a huge talent, who fought for every major promotion (including WWWF, breaking Bruno’s neck)

In 2010, WWE brought Hansen in to induct Antonio Inoki. This was the last piece of the puzzle, opening the door for his inclusion. He, like Future Hall of Famer, Vader were the epitome of  American wrestler success in Japan. WWE has been continuing to globalize their brand, and with the hiring of KENTA, and Fujinami joining last year, Hansen is a perfect choice. He’s also Texan, wears a cowboy hat and is again…TEXAN.

Chances of induction 6 out of 10

Reasons Not to Induct: WWE goes with JBL instead. WWE really likes inducting their own. And with the inclusion of our next prediction, Hansen’s Japanese ties are perhaps, less important.

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Jushin Thunder Liger

liger

For the first time in history, Jushin Liger appeared on WWE television in a WWE ring. At NXT Takeover August 22nd, Liger, aged 50, did a very good job convincing us that he still “Got It”. 50, while old for a WWE wrestler (not named Sting or Undertaker) is old hat in Japan. Wrestlers, especially large talents like Liger, are known to wrestle well into their 60s in limited role. (Like Ric Flair with less hard living and chops)

Liger is the perfect candidate for a international induction. He wrestled for quite a bit of time for WCW, is a great contact to have to be an ambassador (like Tatsumi Fujinami is currently) and will help build WWE’s brand in Japan. Win win on all sides.

Liger’s appearance (and just recently announced future appearances)  are  too random without the Hall of Fame attached. While its possibly Hansen or Liger, it could still be both.

Chances of induction: 7 out of 10

Reasons Not Too induct: Doesn’t speak English. Perhaps WWE wants to a bigger foreign name.

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Jacqueline Moore

jacqueline-moore-02

When doing these lists, I always have to remember two things.  There will always be a woman and likely always be a minority. WWE does not like to have 6-9 white guys standing on stage.

They’d much rather have 6-9 white guys,  AND one woman AND one minority

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See Much Better

Jackie Moore or Jacquiline fits the mold of the next women’s inductee. They’ve done the biggest names in Women’s wrestling in the last 20 years (Western audiences only). 2015 gave us Alundra Blayze in a welcomed surprise move.. The next women’s champion after Blayze (and the deactivation in 95, reactivation in 98) was Jackie Moore.

Many forget that she beat Sable to claim the newly rechristened WWE Women’s Championship. Technically, she is the first women’s champion of modern Women/DIVA wrestling.

Plus she is from Dallas Texas. Fits the bill, makes all the sense.

Chances of Induction: 6 out of 10

Reasons Not to Do Induction: Skip ahead of her and go right to Sable. Seriously, Sable should be in the WWE Hall of Fame. She is legit married to Brock Lesnar as well. Why hasn’t that happened already?

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Celebrity Bullshit

Anyone who has visited here at all knows I hate the celebrity inductee. Why? Because it is unnecessary. It is rewarding a celebrity for making a paid special appearance in a product which most of them do not care about.

Champions of the sport and the entertainment in wrestling are welcome.

Mr. T, Mike Tyson and Andy Kaufman belong in the Hall (although Kaufman isn’t in) , but Pete Rose, Donald Trump and Arnold belong no where near a wrestling Hall of Fame.

Bullshit like Jeremy Piven said above (SUMMERFEST!)  is more the norm that the exception. And even when a fan of the product comes along, they are given heinous dialogue and look strange and out of place. Jon Stewart was so weird at Summerslam…awkward and scripted.

Regardless of what I say, a celebrity  inductee will  join the Hallowed Halls currently holding the greats, like Drew Carey and William Perry, both of whom were obviously NOT getting a paycheck/promoting some stupid comedy show which lasted three months.

sarcasm-sign

Who Would I Accept?

Cyndi Lauper

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Lauper had a great impact on WWE. Like MR. T, her presense helped to legitimize the WWF in 1985. The rockin wrestling stuff was great,

Her return in 2011 was to say the least absurdly awkward. It be a short speech and a deserving nod.

Who is Likely to Get it?

William Shatner, Shaq, Pamela Anderson ANYONE!!!!

anger

Chances of Lauper, Muhammed Ali or Andy Kaufman: 0 out of 10

Chances of Bullshit: 10 out of 10

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Final Thoughts

As a PS, there are two other names I would not be surprised to see in 2016. The first is Raw’s third announcer JBL, mentioned above. The second would be more of a surprise. I am talking about Owen Hart. You see, a DVD is coming out about Owen’s career, without Owen’s wife permission. Because the lawsuit is settled….and WWE can legally do that….and Bret Hart wanted it and wants an induction….and they just inducted Macho Man without the involvement or support of his widow…and Owen Hart might be in the video game.

I don’t feel confident quite yet that Owen will go in, but IF we see him in WWE 2k16, I will amend my list and add “The King of Harts” Owen Hart.

Here’s hoping.