24 February 2014

Here's to The Icon!

I have to admit, when WCW was around I was never a big Sting fan. Mostly, I thought he was kind of lame. I didn't care for the bright yellow face paint or his neon tights. While I thought the look of the "Crow Sting" was cool, I never saw what the attraction was, he just wasn't exciting to me. When he popped up in TNA a couple of times during the weekly pay per view days I wasn't surprised or all that interested really and when he was officially signed to TNA in 2006, I understood why, but was actually more pumped that Christian Cage had jumped ship. It wasn't until I watched him in TNA that I became a big fan of his. His matches, his promos and his presence always had me glued to the screen. Even until recently, I have found myself enjoying Sting's work more and more, he had became one of my favorite performers to watch during his run in TNA. Then on Genesis part two, Sting lost a "loser leaves" match to Magnus. Now, this doesn't really mean anything in the world of wrestling and I thought "AHH he'll be back by Lockdown." However, judging by Mike Tenay's tone during the voice over the following week and the recent rumors of him signing with WWE, it appears Sting is gone for good. So here, I'd like to give the Icon his due.

I really feel like the departure of Sting will have more of an impact than that of Hulk Hogan. To me, Sting represented a part of wrestling history to long time fans. He was the only major name from WCW to have never worked for Vince McMahon. This made him a hot commodity as TNA was the ONLY place to see Sting. When you looked into the crowds during TNA shows, how many people were dressed as Sting or wearing Sting merchandise? Hogan may have been a bigger name in wrestling, but Hogan will always represent the WWF (I don't care what you say about the nWo, he's WWF) that's why I feel like Sting is a bigger loss than Hogan. TNA fans want an alternative to WWE, Sting represented that. I know in the last couple of years he had slowed down in the ring, in fact, some of matches were hard to watch at times, but his presence always meant something and people did pay to see him.

There has been a lot said about AJ Styles' contributions to TNA and I would never undermine them, he deserves every bit of praise he gets. However, recently I feel like Sting's departure has been ignored by most fans. Sting was to TNA what Terry Funk was to ECW; a legend that came in to a young upstart company and gave his all to help make it bigger and better. Don't believe me? Go back and watch some of his matches with the likes of Abyss and see the bumps he took on tacks, etc. A guy with a name like his and at his age didn't need to do that, he could've said no and I don't think anyone would've blamed him. Go back and watch some of his matches with Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe and see how hard he worked to keep up with those machines. Again, he could've phoned it in like many other "big name stars" that came through TNA, Sting never did. I also feel like he did some of the best promo work of his career when he was with TNA. In particular, during his program with Abyss in 2007 and during the initial run of the Main Event Mafia. He had a more deliberate delivery and spoke more like an elder statesmen than a energetic young babyface. I always find it kind of sad when I see older wrestlers still to try act like they are still in their prime (i.e. X-Pac), and not acknowledge their age. He also reinvented himself in 2011 (one of the few highlights of the Immortal run) as the "Joker Sting". Much like his "Crow Sting" in the 90's he took a character from pop culture (in this case Heath Ledger's Joker) and incorporated into his own persona. I don't know who's idea it was, but Steve Borden made it work. He was more than deserving of being TNA's first Hall of Famer; there may have been other names that some say needed to be there first (cough, Jarrett, cough); but Sting's contributions to TNA Wrestling are hard to match.

I hope Sting does return, I feel like there is still some work that can be done with him, even at his age and limitations. He should have receipts with Magnus and EC3's names on it. I also feel like a program with this new Willow character could be what the doctor ordered. Or what about Samuel Shaw stalking people in a Sting mask? OK. I'll put the fantasy booker to bed because it appears he is done with TNA for real this time. If so, I wish him nothing but the best and hope he gets the retirement he deserves and hope that IF he does do something with the folks "up north" that they treat him right. Above, I shared some of my favorite Sting in TNA memories, what are some of yours?

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