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[1998-02-22-WCW-Superbrawl VIII] Hulk Hogan vs Sting

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We cut to Hogan getting a belly to back suplex and a nearfall. Patrick has taken over officiating duties for this one. Just based on these clips, the match doesn't look as bad as the one at Starrcade. Hogan has some complaints at the count Patrick is giving. Hogan gets a cheapshot in on Sting and pounds away at him. Sting makes his comeback and has the crowd buzzing at his Stinger splash and death drop. Patrick gets wiped out on that and here comes the NWO B-squad. Savage comes in and bonks Hogan on the back of the head. Sting covers him and wins the championship. Can this guy win the title completely clean or not. Sting spray paints WCW on Hogan as the announcers laugh.

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Some not very dynamic action before the inevitable BS finish. Hogan had a 3rd opportunity to do a clean job for the top ranked babyface in the promotion. His ego still wouldn't allow it to happen. The countdown is on until the next Hogan reign.

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Last few minutes. The NWO runs in after a ref bump and gets fought off after Savage costs Hogan the match - the feud that has been pushed harder than everything all year long to this point. Hogan getting WCW spraypainted on his chest should have been a bigger moment and would have had it happened at the conclusion of Starrcade '97. Now Sting can be a midcard champion while Hogan and Savage occupy the main event spots. Pretty clever.

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The funny thing is there was no need for Savage to hit Hogan. He could just as easily have helped fend off the NWO minions while Sting handled his business. That would've made Sting look better and still set up a Savage-Hogan program. Just dumb.

 

Having said that, Sting did not burst off the screen in any of this. The feeling wasn't, "Fuck, they're holding down this supernova." It was, "Eh, Sting's getting fucked again."

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Hollywood Hogan vs Sting - WCW Superbrawl VIII Vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship

 

Sting looked like and wrestled like a sad mime. it was one of the most pitiful performances on a grand stage I think I have ever seen. Sure some wind had been taken out of his sails because they botched Starrcade '97, but still they put him over at Souled Out. Booking or not, when you are out in front of those fans, you control your destiny. He just did not want it. He did not look like gave one single fuck. Hogan on other hand was on his A-game. I was shocked at the amount of effort he was putting into this match. He was working a ton of great heel tactics. He was constantly moving and there was a sense of urgency. You got the impression the belt meant everything to Hogan. At first, he was not taking any chances. He was going to whip Sting with the belt and he was going to cheat like a muthafucka. You felt his desperation. Like any egomaniac, his hubris seemed to be his downfall, he would begin to toy with Sting and Sting would get a hope spot and he would quickly cut off as if it was a wake up call. On top of that you got the sense of entitlement from when Nick Patrick came in. "Do you know who I am, I am Hollywood". The egomania, the entitlement, the desperation, the cowardice all was a perfect confluence of a heel. Hogan has his limitations, he can't bump at all and his offense is pretty straightforward. It was never really all that boring because he was always moving and always coming up with a new way to cheat. Sting looked like all his charisma has been sucked out by a vacuum. His selling was awful. Standing around and staggering a bit is not selling. Get fucking pissed that this asshole is treating you like shit. Let the crowd know you are in pain. Anything besides what ever the hell that was. Maybe the problem was he was trying to get over a new gimmick he was not suited for. Sting the overgrown child hopped up on sugar in the ring suited him so well that this solemn and somber character was just hard for him to really execute. He needed to be a badass and he just felt like a sad mime. The finish sucked so hard. Savage clearly should have fended off the NWO members while Sting made Hogan tap to the Scorpion Deathlock. Having Savage scoop up Sting's heat and just have Sting pin Hogan right after the spray paint can shot was so lame.

 

I don't really feel bad for Sting. I don't think he deserved the title after that performance. Did Hogan gobble him up at the outset? He sure did, but Sting could have done things to make that worthwhile. He could have called for more hope spots, he could have shown more fire, more pain, more anything really, but we got apathy. Hogan wrestled like his career was on the line and did a great job. Sting needed to carry his weight. I do not fault them one iota to going back to Hogan to transition to Goldberg. Sting blew it.

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A third straight underwhelming match in the series again catered entirely to make Hogan look good. You can fault Sting for not putting his foot down or being able to translate his innate Crow charisma into working, but this whole premise stinks. Savage costs Hogan the title instead of Sting winning it and there's no particularly major celebration other than a bit with the spraypaint.

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I second the notion that Sting should have won clean and spray painted Hogan and the aftermath of this match should have been the finish of Starrcade 1998. Now, Sting has lost everything that was built in his cache throughout the crow days. I was surprised Sting won the belt here.

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The first half of this match was fine and about what it should have been (minus bad Sting performance), but beginning with the Scorpion Deathlock this fell completely apart. You had Charles Robinson kicking Hogan's arm away when he was going for a rope break, an unnecessary ref bump, Nick Patrick put into the spotlight (sorry, this was not the time and place for the resolution of this storyline), a second way too long heat segment including Hogan doing face spots (e.g. Sting starting the knuckle-lock-test-of-strength, Hogan overpowering him and while Stings hands are on the mat stepping on them) and a horrible finish.

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