By the fall of ’98, World Championship Wrestling’s premiere show Nitro was falling in the ratings and World Wrestling Federations’s premier show, RAW, was growing at a rapid rate. Thus, some desperation would enter the minds of the management team in WCW. Both programs had been known for putting on some great programming, and the September 14th edition of WCW Nitro was no different.
Earlier in the program, Ric Flair made his emotional return to the company and the fans in Greenville, SC were very interested in a dream match between WCW World Champion Goldberg and Sting to take place in the main event.
Sting had been the most popular performer in WCW for ten years while Goldberg had just made his debut a year prior and had won the WCW US Championship and WCW World Championships during is first year. Two months prior to this showdown, Goldberg had pinned Hollywood Hogan for the WCW World Championship. Goldberg had a lengthy undefeated streak, but hadn’t encountered someone quite like Sting. Would Sting be next?
The show would get a 4.5 overall rating, with a 4.8 during the final hour, which the program took place during. By the way, at this point, Sting was part of the NWO Wolfpack, and was not the Crow Sting, which he was for the majority of his run in WCW during the late 90s.
Goldberg starts the bout with knee strikes against the ropes and a power slam after sending Sting into the ropes. Sting avoids Goldberg in the corner and picks up Goldberg to ram the champ back first and upside down in the corner. Sting hits a snap suplex, but Goldberg no sells it and pops right up causing Sting to bail to the floor. Sting stops Goldberg with a boot, but the champ drops Sting after a few strikes. Goldberg runs the ropes and is met with a dropkick, but gets right up and puts a leg lock on Sting for a brief moment until Sting reaches the ropes. Goldberg tries to get out of a headlock with a back suplex but Sting hangs onto the hold. Goldberg does break free from the hold and they have a standoff. They do a test of strength, which Goldberg takes control of and backs Sting into the corner. Goldberg works over Sting with knee strikes and goes for a tombstone, but Sting counters and spikes Goldberg with a tombstone! Goldberg still gets up rather quickly and Sting hits a Stinger Splash in the corner, twice! Sting hits the splash a third time and avoids a spear in the corner! Sting chop blocks the knee of the champion and locks in the Scorpion Death Lock! Goldberg is able to use his leg strength to cause a weak hold. Here comes Hollywood Hogan sneaking down to the ring. Hogan kicks Sting on the back of the head, and somehow the referee didn’t see that. Goldberg takes Sting out with the spear! Goldberg hooks Sting up and hits the Jackhammer to win the bout. After the match, Hogan enters and attacks Goldberg until an injured Bret Hart runs down and chases Hogan from the ring. (***)
For an eight minute main event bout on television, the crowd was amped up for the action and is felt like they thought there was going to be a title change. When Goldberg actually competed against top tier talent, the result was typically pretty good in terms of match quality. By the end of ’98, Goldberg would lose the WCW World Championship and Sting would vanish after Halloween Havoc until his return as the Crow Sting in the spring of ’99.
Goldberg and Sting would battle it out a few more times in WCW, including an awful three minute squash match at Havoc ’99, but they also had another singles match at Slamboree ’99 in May, which had next to zero promotion attached to it. So, this is their most meaningful match and it delivered in my eyes. They should have been remembered for many pay per view classics, though.
What are your memories on this bout? Leave your thoughts below.
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