wrestling / TV Reports

411’s Legends with JBL: Sting Report

August 19, 2016 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.

411’s Legends with JBL: Sting Report

-Welcome once again to another edition of the JBL Legends series on the WWE Network. This time out JBL gets the honor of hosting the cornerstone of WCW, The Icon Sting. This one should be interesting outside of his DVD documentary and Hall of Fame speech, Sting hasn’t opened up too much about his career since coming to the WWE.

-JBL does his usually great introduction as he puts over how awesome Sting is and notes that he is one of the few wrestlers in the history of the business that nobody has ill feelings towards. Sting thanks JBL for the great introduction, and jokes some people may not be happy that he let a lot of dream matches pass by due to coming to the WWE so late. JBL says that came from the hardcore fans and not the boys. He then says that everyone from Gotch to Hogan to Flair has someone that doesn’t like them. He did some research before the interview and Arn Anderson told JBL that Sting is a tremendous person, and JBL says only other person he knows that has that much universal respect and admiration is The Undertaker.

-Sting laughs and says that it has to be something that was engrained in him. He always treated people like he wanted to be treated. He also realized early that you never know who you may end up working for in this business and even the guy that is putting up the ring one day, can be your boss the next day. JBL mentions that even the nWo liked him.

-We go to the early years and JBL mentions that Sting got into the game late. Sting says he grew up in an area in Southern California that didn’t get pro-wrestling on TV. He worked out at a local gym and this massive blonde guy would always come in and the place would be crazy because it was Hulk Hogan. Sting says he knew the name Hulk Hogan, but didn’t know what wrestling was all about. He ended up getting picked because they needed a 4th guy for their group. So the group went to a wrestling event and Sting loved seeing Hogan, Andre, Studd, etc. He says the athleticism, personalities, the fans, and really everything is what got him hooked.

-Sting got into the business thanks to Red Bastian, and the only one that answered their press kits was Jerry Jarrett. He only had room for 2 guys and said he wanted the 2 on the left: Sting and Warrior. Once Sting got to Memphis there was a few times he wanted to go home as it wasn’t the life he saw when he watched that first show. Sting admits there was times he and Warrior would stuff their faces with chicken in grocery stores without paying and he mentions he’s not proud of it.

-He bounced around between working for Fritz Von Erich and Bill Watts. He had a falling out with Warior due to Warrior thinking Sting was trying to get to Dallas without him. Sting says he did get along great with Jim (Warrior) and says he misses him. JBL brings some knowledge as he says that Warrior ended up in Dallas as the Dingo Warrior and was going to get the character of Big Van Vader in Japan (just think about that one for a second), but signed with the WWE instead and Leon White ended up being Vader. Sting seems stunned by that news as well. JBL mentions that Sting and Vader had great matches.

-Sting ended up in the UWF and ended up in the NWA/WCW when the UWF was bought out by Crockett. JBL says Sting was only one really taken care of in that merger, and Sting mentions that Rick Steiner was as well. JBL brings up Starrcade 87 and how Vince ran the first Survivor Series the same day to screw with them (remember Vince only worries about himself and not what the other guy is doing). That led to Bunkhouse Stampede in January and WWE ran the first ever Royal Rumble the same night on free TV. Crockett responded by putting the first Clash of the Champions on free TV against WrestleMania IV with Sting vs Flair as the Main Event and they drew a great rating. JBL asks Sting if he was aware of all this fighting and his thoughts. Sting says he was aware, but was oblivious as he was still young and was worried about himself. He thinks Ric Flair hand picked him for the spot and Sting covers the angle that lead to the match. He thinks Ric saw dollar signs and figured he could do something with this kid.

-As the territories folded, JBL asks Sting if he ever had a thought about going to New York. Sting says he talked to Vince at that time and he had thoughts as he watched some people leave. Each time though different heads would change in WCW and he would work out a deal that took care of him financially. Sting says he was always ready to leave if they didn’t give them what he wanted and they always did.

-JBL brings up that Nash always called Sting a Hall of Fame pitcher that got there without a fastball. Basically saying that Sting became this giant star without having the WWE machine behind him and what could have been if all their merchandising, etc would have been behind him. JBL brings up a convention where WCW was sending Sting and he knew the WWE woud be there as well. Sting is in full “Sting” gear and he has to go through the front door as the guy WCW sent with him didn’t know how to get him into the building. As he was entering he heard Okerlund hyping up appearances of Koko B Ware and Hulk Hogan. Sting had a podium with a sign written in pencil while the WWE had a ring set up and were doing live matches. Sting ended up leaving because of how embarrassing it was.

-Sting says they were always viewed as second class citizens and even when WCW was #1 in the world he would go on some shows for interviews and he would be introduced as WWE Superstar, Sting. Ouch!

-Talk moves to Bischoff taking over and Sting says that is what he meant earlier as Bischoff went from a 3rd string announcer (JBL’s words paraphrasing Bischoff) to the head man in charge. Sting says that Bischoff was at least a wrestling guy and better than a Pizza Hut owner (Ouch, Jim Herd!). It was still weird that since he was a 3rd string announcer.

-We jump to the first Nitro and JBL brings up how Bischoff didn’t want to hire Luger. They show Bischoff from his appearance on JBL’s show talking about his issues with Lex. Sting says he thought it would be a win-win for everybody and it was.

-Jumping forward again and now we get to Starrcade 97. This should be interesting as JBL asks Sting his thoughts on the politics backstage. He mentions that Bischoff told him that he and Hogan were concerned about Sting’s lack of commitment. Sting thinks they built themselves into believing that at the time. He isn’t sure if Hulk really believed that though, but does say he had personal issues at the time. He doesn’t think he that affected his performance. Sting says he isn’t sure why they changed course as the fans were with them for the entire ride and not until they went out through the curtain for the match did they agree on how things would go. A crawl of the bottom of the scream pops up to tell us that Starrcade drew an “astounding 1.9 million PPV buys which is a WCW record.”

-Continuing on with the Starrcade talked as JBL asks Sting if he feels they did the right thing. Sting feels the whole thing was botched up and he still isn’t sure what happened. He doesn’t think the match lived up to the epic buildup and he is disappointed by that. It was just a weird deal all around, and shame Sting still isn’t clued in to what happened.

-After that the WWE started rolling a bit and JBL brings up the Austin/Tyson confrontation. Sting says that he did see the momentum falling and he says the unity in the company was gone as things broke into factions. JBL asks Sting what he felt went wrong and mentions that nothing like the Monday Night Wars has ever happened before or since. Sting says it was a combination of what they did wrong and also what they couldn’t do. They were a family owned company and couldn’t compete with the WWE with their style and there was the breaking off of factions in the company.

-At that same time Sting started battling his own demons before accepting Jesus. He admits that he probably should have gone to rehap, but once he found Jesus, everything changed for him.

-JBL talks about the shift in wrestling and you can tell one was coming when Hogan and Sting both shifted their characters to something darker. He says he could see things were changing when Hogan started getting booed and once the nWo hit it changed everything. He realized how cool the nWo was and he knew he could change quickly to keep up. He was looking for something and Scott Hall pitched him the “Crow” character. He says it was risky because it was so different for him. He admits to now knowing if it would work until the first night he sat in the rafters and the crowd went crazy when they saw him.

-JBL brings up how Sting was the original choice as the 3rd member of the nWo, but he isn’t sure as he doesn’t even remember if he was. He says that if done right, he would have been the 3rd man, but he always wanted to be on his own with a new character.

-Next JBL asks about Hall and Nash coming in and how it fractured the dressing room. He says in the beginning it was great and that Hall and Nash brought somethings that WCW needed. After a while there was unity because of the success and it lead to all kinds of creativity. Eric would listen to everyone and even get feedback from the fans.

-Sting says he never really wanted to see the WWE shut down because they all had friends that worked up there. He said there were rumors that WWE may shut down, but in a blink of an eye, Vince was on Nitro bragging about buying his competition. Sting loved Vince’s interview on RAW/Nitro when he talked about choking the life out of WCW. Sting says everything about the night was surreal and he just couldn’t believe it was happening. Everything was flashing before his eyes and he couldn’t believe it was happening.

-JBL asks if Sting’s loyalty was mainly to WCW or because he was afraid what Vince might do with him. Sting says he was always suspicious that Vince wanted him more to hurt WCW, then wanting to help himself. He just never trusted it and that is why he stayed.

-JBL brings up how when he saw Booker T on RAW and the Rock asked who he was and Sting felt it was a shot at WCW. That closed him off from going to the WWE.

-JBL brings up the rumor that Sting was penciled in to face Kurt Angle at WresleMania X-8 in 2002. Sting says he was close as he was talking to Vince. Things fell apart when the attorneys got involved. He thinks Vince wanted a longer commitment than Sting wanted to give at the time.

-Wow, JBL actually mentions “TNA” as I nearly fall off my couch. He does mention that TNA wasn’t really competition, but Sting stayed loyal to them and missed out on dream matches vs. HBK, Rock, Brock, Cena, etc and if Sting regrets missing out on that. Sting laughs and says saying that way it seems like it, and JBL mentions the way he presented it was unfair. Sting says he still wasn’t sure and he was happy with TNA as they let him do things he wanted to at home.

-They talk about how the Invasion didn’t work as well because all the really big names sat out, and while WWE got some good WCW stars they didn’t get Hogan, Sting, Hall, Nash, Goldberg etc. Sting says just look at Mania 31 and his match with HHH. That is what should have happened with the Invasion and how jacked the crowd was to see that.

-We jump to Night of Champions and the match with Rollins as JBL brings up how the crowd was chanting “you still got it.” Then something happened and JBL says it scared him and Cole to death as they were calling the match. They weren’t sure if he had a stroke or what had happened. It certainly was a frightening scene. Sting says it happened on the buckle powerbomb and Sting says it was an easy bump to take and says it was his fault. He doesn’t blame Seth at all. He says he had stingers in his hand before and thought that was all it was, and then it happened again with the second one. The strength was gone in his legs and when the doctors came out he just kept thinking that that it can’t end this way. He says he feels fine now and he is supposed to have surgery, but he is waiting because people tell him if he is not having issues then he shouldn’t do the surgery.

-Now to the Hall of Fame where Sting shocked the world by announcing his retirement. JBL says that he knows deep down that Sting still wants the match with The Undertaker. Sting says if he gets the surgery than he knows his career is done, and JBL says that is why Sting hasn’t done the surgery yet. Man, it sure seems like Sting is leaving the door open and really a Mania match with Taker seems like the only thing that would bring him back.

-Thankfully, JBL brings back the “No Bull” segment which I sorely missed during the interview with Booker T. This is word association and Sting says he sucks at these things. Favorite Movie: Tombstone; Greatest Wrestler All Time (not counting yourself): Shawn Michaels (Sting would never say himself anyway); Greatest piece of advice he has ever gotten in his life: submit to God and heaven above; Favorite opponent: Ric Flair; Greatest Accomplishment: the day in August of 1998 when he accepted Jesus Christ; Bucket List: be able to watch all his kids be happily married and walking with God; How does Sting want to be remembered: The wrestler who worked hard to entertain and thought about others before himself, and one who loved God.