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[1992-06-20-WCW-Beach Blast] Sting vs Cactus Jack (Falls Count Anywhere)

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I don't really like Falls Count Anywhere as a stip since the nearfalls don't get heat because so much of the audience can't see the count. But aside from that, this is an excellent match, and probably the best possible match with this gimmick. Cactus's typical crazy bumps are taken to another level in the Watts era with exposed concrete, and even more so since this is a PPV and they have the entrance ramp that Cactus loved to use. Good match, but not really one I love.

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I never got into this despite multiple viewings. What makes this so beloved? Is it because of being Foley's first big match and an exhibition of his bumping? It sure isn't compelling from a standpoint of storytelling, brawling or what have you.

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I have always enjoyed this. It was a total sprint with some brutal bumps. Cactus brings some good storytelling by working the Stinger's injured ribs. The finish was cool. I also thought Fonzie may have made the best counts ever in a Falls counts anywhere match.

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This match obviously isn't as vicious now after everything we've seen (including most of what we've seen from Foley himself), but when you compare it to what else was going on in the US at the time, you can see why it has such a good rep.

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This has aged super well. Everything flows naturally. Foley's bumps and spots still look brutal today, and Sting takes his share of abuse too. Some nifty wrestling spots on the concrete too, and a very good use of the guardrails and ramp. I agree Fonzie did a great job, he was really a top notch referee. Funny how safe the chair shots look, and still, it projects the aura of violence instead of stupidly stiffing the fuck out of someone's back like people would in the late 90's. Sting really hit his stride in 1992, he's finally become a cool worker to watch in big matches. Like this a lot.

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Enjoyed it a lot. Cactus just stands on the ramp waiting for Sting as falls count anywhere. They do a lot of brawling outside the ring and make use of the non-padded floor to show off the rule change. I was impressed with Sting taking some of bumps he did. Finish was good with Sting coming off the top rope with a clothesline to Cactus on the ramp.

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Foley was a complete nut doing all those dives onto the concrete. It made me cringe just watching it. What I liked about this was that there was athletisism in addition to the hardcore element. Action packed with no wasted motion.

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While not the incredible brawl it was touted ass in some places at the time, this holds up pretty well and wraps up quickly enough that they actually leave you wanting more. Even if in this case more just may have been less. Hot start on the ramp leads into big bumps including Catctus taking a backdrop outside and then hitting his elbow and doing a sunset flip on the concrete. After some of these bumps the finish almost felt anti-climactic, but still a strong win for the world champion.

 

***1/2

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Good match that's probably better than 99% if not every Hardcore Title match. They pay a bit of lip service to the injured-ribs storyline (though not enough for my liking), there are the requisite loony Foley bumps, and Sting provides some hot moves and bumps of his own. Also, backslides and pin reversals and Irish whips on the floor, which are spots that should be in every falls-count-anywhere match. Most refreshing of all there are no contrived weapons to be found anywhere--all they use are the guardrail and the chairs.

 

I was always waiting for Russo or someone to take one of those "falls count anywhere on the Gulf Coast/in the building" stips literally to the extreme conclusion. Big Boss Man gets a pin attempt on Al Snow for "1, 2...oh, he JUST got his foot outside the arena door in time!" Feel free to let me know if someone has done this already.

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I've always found this to be overrated. I liked it better than I recalled, but I still don't think it's anything special. It's more or less a big bump exhibition, and while, yes, Sting takes some good ones himself, Mick is clearly doing the heavy lifting.

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WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs Cactus Jack - WCW Beach Blast 1992

 

Watching the Submit or Surrender match hurts this match because Cactus has retrogressed in just being sick masochist rather a sick sado-masochist. The exhibition of Cactus' craziest bumps makes for plenty of cringe-worthy moments, but ultimately it is Catcus masturbatory indulgence of his weird belief that if he killed himself wrestling earn credibility and respect. Fuck that noise and be a carny. Whereas in 1991, he had plenty of offense to look like a strong threat to Sting. That being said, I still think this is a great match because Sting is just rocking it and really feels like the top star at this point. He is using Cactus' mistakes against him to slowly garner the victory which is always difference against a fucking masochist.

 

I found the early backslide on the ramp to put over the falls count anywhere rules amusing. Sting is actually the first one to make the mistake and eats steel on a Stinger Splash from the ramp to the post. It was not just Jack taking those nasty bumps, but rest assured here they come. Cactus goes splat on the concrete three times on his own moves and then when Sting hulks up Cactus goes flying some more. His head, body and knees just took a tremendous pounding. Sting did look great taking that early licking, but then Cactus hurt himself he muscle Cactus into the railing. In this match, Cactus relies more on bodyscissors when he is not smacking his head on concrete whereas in Submit or Surrender his offense was more focused on hurting Sting to win the match. I actually liked the finish stretch coming out of the Cactus Clothesline a lot. Cactus whacking Sting with chair and caressing it is always a fun spot. Cactus just can't keep Sting down and Sting really feels like a resilient champion. They have a strong exchange on the floor with Cactus not really able to hit a piledriver because he is so banged up from his own stupid shit. It is now a dramatic war of attrition. He goes for the Cactus Elbow for a second time, but he crashes and burns on the cold concrete. OW! Sting takes him up to the ramp the only place they can pay off the stipulation and still have the whole crowd see. Sting gets his receipt chair shot and looks for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Cactus fights and fights and they tumble off the ramp in a really cool spot. Cactus is up first and hits his Double Arm DDT to get his nearfall. Watts certainly liked Cactus. Cactus just sort of walks away from Sting and Sting nails him from behind. The Sting flying clothesline from the ring to the ramp is such a damn cool finish.

 

Cactus' self-indulgent bullshit aside, this turned into a pretty dramatic war of attrition and I loved the finish stretch with a great climax. Sting was just molten hot here and was a perfect blend of his natural energy and great resiliency. ****

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I'll always have a soft spot for this match, and I realize it was A Different Era, but heaven forbid this could have been a title match. Sting had zero televised defenses between his title win and his loss. The house show defenses were a solid lineup--Rude, Vader, Austin--but it makes for some weird TV viewing.

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I didn't like this much. There's something about watching guys take bumps with little to no rhyme or reason that just turns me off. Mick's the prime offender here, of course, but Sting took his share too. It's almost like a bumping exhibition, and they're barely touched on some of the bigger ones, like the dives over the guardrail. Having regular rules and still showcasing a few of the more meaningful bumps may have been the way to go here, especially since we already saw a better version of this match back in November on the Power Hour.

 

I liked Jesse marveling at Mick using the few holds he did, and he did just as good a job as JR did at reminding the viewers about the new matless floors, which made the bumps taken in this bout look even sicker than usual. Jesse's main talking point, though, was why Sting was stupid enough to even take on this match against a man who JR speculated may be a paid hitman for Vader. (Yes, I waited for a Bret Hart joke from Jesse and was disappointed when it didn't come.) Anyway, he said what most knowledgeable fans were thinking. If Sting was going to put his body on the line against this maniac, at least he should have made it a title match. JR's replies about Sting being someone who never backs up from a challenge really felt empty by comparison.

 

From a booking standpoint, Watts didn't seem to feel like Sting was the man he wanted to carry the promotion; he had him drop the belt to Vader in his first pay-per-view defense, and then came the JYD push for Ron Simmons. I'm starting to wonder if Doc might not have been his ideal choice for champion if they could have gotten him away from Japan. It's kind of surprising that Sting wasn't valued more highly, since he was a UWF guy, but maybe Watts had him pigeonholed as a midcard crowd-pleaser type and wanted more of a tough guy as champ. Regardless, this marks a second World title reign for Sting that wasn't what it could have been.

 

To Pete's point about the logical extreme of stips, I would have howled If Sting and Mick had somehow fought their way into an open limo and gotten out somewhere in Louisiana or Mississippi, where Sting could have scored the winning fall. Hey, Louisiana and Mississippi are on the Gulf Coast, right?

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I question the need for all these bumps on the concrete.  That kind of thing can shorten careers.  Was this match at least partially booked to highlight just that?  Jesse makes a completely valid point that Sting is an idiot for being in a match like this as champ. 

All my quibbles aside, fun proto-hardcore match with lots of actual logical transitions and counters.

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