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[1998-09-14-WCW-Nitro] Goldberg vs Sting

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This is a huge match to put on Nitro. Why in the world wouldn't they main event a pay-per-view with this? This was excellent. This may be the best Sting performance ever - not match, but performance where he's the one carrying things and directing traffic. The heat for this is completely out of this world. This is Clash of the Titans-style wrestling I'm not used to seeing from Sting. Crap finish with Hogan interfering behind the referee's back, but this was another money match that didn't really happen at a time when they could have gotten something great out of it.

 

Fun fact: WCW would only win the ratings war one more time, and that would be after Havoc when they were forced to replay the Goldberg-DDP match for free.

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Goldberg vs. Sting is another one of those “why didn’t WCW run this on PPV” but what we got was a very interesting match, maybe the only thing that could reasonably follow up Flair’s return. Sting lead Goldberg through a heated match, even with the face versus face element. The finish made Goldberg look a little bit weak and the segment still couldn’t end the night with WCW winning the quarter hour, as they did a 4.26 for the match compared to 4.87 for the rings intros of Shamrock vs. Austin and the first six minutes of the match. Sting/Goldberg did HUGE numbers in the over run – 6.07. They wouldn’t get a quarter hour this close again until Goldberg vs. DDP from Halloween Havoc was shown for free on Nitro the night after Havoc due to cable company issues.

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Probably the best GOldberg match so far. This feels really big and Sting has a decent shot of winning. I loved DDP on commentary putting him over. Sting shows again that he is better in the role of #2 guy than the main guy as he feels important here but doesn't have the company carrying him. I loved how each man started to change their strategy vs. one another when what they were originally doing didn't work out. The finish is cheap but we get a good glimpse that Sting could have won this match as he has Goldberg in the Scorpion when Hogan interferes. There is so many interesting and fresh opponents for Goldberg that it is amazing how much they botched this title run. (***1/2)

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This was pretty great. Sting even apes some Flair spots to get Goldberg over. If this match got another 6 minutes and was on a ppv it would be remembered as a classic. As is this was damn electric. Man that finish took away from the Goldberg win.

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WCW World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg vs Sting - WCW Nitro 9/14/98

 

Watching this match has lent credence to a hypothesis I have had for a while, Goldberg should have been a monster heel. Was he popular? Yes. However, once Sting starts to mount that comeback is when the fans really start to go crazy. Goldberg as a heel would have helped mitigated the effect of his first loss and would have been easier for him to play. In his matches he is a natural heel. However, it works well against cheating scum like Hogan. However, going up against Sting and DDP he will be heeled. Just my two cents, but I thought this match when push came to shove Sting is going to be the babyface and Goldberg the heel. Goldberg did not look weak. It is just natural for people especially Americans to root for the underdog.

 

Easily, the best Sting match of 1998 and one of the few instances of his career where he gets to play ring general. Early on, it all about establishing Goldberg as a force of nature that overwhelms Sting at every turn. Sting tries power and Goldberg pops back up. Sting tries quickness, Goldberg pops up and goes to the ground. Sting tries to contain Goldberg with a headlock and he blocks it. While Sting is putting Goldberg over huge, DDP is making Goldberg on commentary. DDP is fast becoming one of my favorite wrestlers. It all started with the Steve Austin Show appearances and I just thought he was one of the legitimately coolest wrestlers. Talking up Goldberg instead of burying him just continues that trend of showing DDP gets it. You know who does not get it, Hollywood Hogan, but we will get to him soon enough.

Goldberg makes the crucial mistake of trying to tombstone Sting. YOU CAN'T TOMBSTONE STING! That's like trying to see Cena or trying to hurt steel. IT CAN'T HAPPEN! Sting reverses it and tombstone Goldberg. The crowd goes from hot to red-hot. Goldberg does a great job selling that he is staggered, but still not out. Two Stinger Splashes and I am starting to get into it. Hey, 1998 Stinger thanks for coming to the party, even if ya a bit tardy. Goldberg tries to explode out of the corner, but eats post. This is a really perfect layout for these two. Sting chopblocks the knee and it is Deathlock time. I love the struggle on the Deathlock and how Sting can't execute it properly, but it is half-on.Will he or won't he?

Then Hollywood Hogan comes out and clips Sting. Eye-roll. I am not against interference and overbooking in general, but c'mon it actually has to build to something. We all know we are not getting Sting/Hogan or Goldberg/Hogan again so fuck off, dude. The crowd goes from molten to zero heat. It is incredible how little heat the spear and Jackhammer get. Tony has to say the boos are directed at Hogan. No, they are directed at WCW for fucking up a great match with pointless overbooking. Oh yeah, at one point, an injured Bret Hart comes out to save Hogan's attack. Great the 50 turns of Bret Hart in one year. This is getting sadder and sadder. So many interesting matches and angles and instead we get Hogan/Warrior and Bret Hart not being able to make his mind. We still never got Hogan vs Hart on PPV. Enough complaining, great match and great work by Sting in a real down year for him. ***1/2

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I was ready to be all cynical about running this match on TV for free, and thinking it was a waste to try to follow up on the Flair return with something even this monumental. But far from being burned out, this Greenville crowd seems extra-jacked and Sting guides Goldberg through a hell of a TV main event. A long time ago the WTBBP guys asked if Sting had ever carried anybody, and I've been trying to find examples in the Yearbooks since that question was asked. We have another answer tonight, and a better one than the Norton NJPW match from years ago. Sting brings out some trademark early-'90s WCW spots like the tombstone reversal, and the fakeout and counter of the Spear attempt to set up the Scorpion was great, too. We had the Last Great WCW Moment a bit ago--now I wonder if this isn't the Last Great Sting Moment. I don't like the ending or the post-match and I think this could have easily ended with Goldberg Spearing his way through a Stinger Splash, but it was mostly a satisfying match befitting these two WCW-made stars.

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I haven't watched this since it happened, but I do remember it vividly. I might come back and comment more once I've had time to view it again. The reason it stands out to me, is probably because this was likely the moment that I gave up on WCW. I continued to watch it after this, but I believe this is when I stopped saying it was my favorite promotion at the time. They had already messed up the Starrcade/Sting moment that fans had waited a year for. I don't think I'm the only person that may have seen this as the last straw. I was in high-school at the time, and I (like many others) was REALLY into Sting. I remember being on the edge of my seat as this match built, and I started to actually believe Sting could really pull this out. Somehow, I had placed the thought of a Hogan run-in out of mind. When sting locked in the deathlock, I was so pumped... then... another run-in... this had become so formula and so stale - Sort of like the openings of Monday Night Raw in the current product.

 

I like the idea that Marty posted. Goldberg as a heel? This could have been great timing to have Sting pull off an upset. The crowd would have loved it, and it could have built some fire back under Sting. He was the most over guy in the company in 1997, and they screwed it up. This would have lit a fire under him, and Goldberg could have turned heel afterwards and run rampant on the company. Not a bad idea! Goldberg could later get his rematch once Sting regained the title, and then Goldberg spears his way through the Stinger Splash as mentioned above?

 

I also think it is an interesting thought that Pete had... Was this the last great Sting moment??? I think his last great match would come in 1999 (also on Nitro) for the World Heavyweight Title against DDP. So, I'm going to say that was great. But, it sort of happened unexpectedly. There was no real build or follow-up that I recall (I could be wrong). I don't remember anything coming out of that... so, was this the last great Sting moment? If you don't count that amazing DDP match... then probably....

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I was unable to find #499 online at this time, but I do plan to eventually get there in the yearbooks. So, for now, I'll say I'll go back to it. I pick up here with viewing the Top 500 Matches of the 1990's (according to Loss) with match #498.

 

placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-500-451/

 

I had some thoughts on this match prior to re-watching it posted above. Most of that centered around the booking. Marty has a great review of the match itself, so I'll just post some additional thoughts.

 

I do want to point out that they recently had a great Sting discussion on "Survey Says" - Episode 3. In the discussion I was really glad that they talked about this match. Sting had a weak year in 1998, and this was definitely one of the few standout moments. One of the points I found interesting, was that the crowd actually began cheering for Sting louder than Goldberg as the match went on. This had not been accomplished by anyone else vs. Goldberg. Goldberg was super hot, and this was during the prime of that streak. The fact that the crowd actually cheered for Sting over Goldberg is pretty shocking and amazing. Even with the horrible Wolfpack character, Sting was still very much loved by the fans of WCW. I also liked their points that Sting should have beaten Hogan at Starrcade (in the way that we all wanted). He should have been pushed to the moon taking out other nWo members (until it went away completely) as the build for Goldberg continued in 1998. The logical main event for Starrcade 1998 should have been Goldberg getting his shot against Sting for the World Title.

 

placetobenation.com/survey-says-a-wcw-retrospective-3/

 

Michael Buffer gives a great sports main event feel. DDP is great on commentary getting over Goldberg. I actually thought all the commentary was pretty good for this main event. This match still holds up as a memorable TV clash of the titans type match. It has a big feel to it, and you can still feel that now when you watch it. I love the piledriver reversal spot, but I would have liked to have seen Sting work over the leg a little more during the match prior to going for the Scorpion Deathlock. I'm sure time was an issue. The crowd goes nuts when he finally locks it in. Hogan comes out, womp womp. Kills the heat. Not needed. I do think this is a memorable match and deserving of it's placement. I don't think it's a great match, but I do think it is good.

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Loss' #498. DDP impressed me on commentary here and Goldberg's entrance predated the UFC in some ways, but the match itself didn't do much for me. Felt like a smart blockbuster flick at best, but way too short, and the finish let most of the air out of the balloon. A decent main event for 1998 television, but by no means historically great.

 

499 is available on Ditch's site, btw.

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