**In this series, I’ll show you moments that are historically significant, but aren’t actually worth watching in their entirety. The amount of time spent is wildly disproportionate to the entertainment value. Don’t waste your life; benefit from me wasting my life.**
So, here’s the thing, everyone knows this match is a huge disappointment, and if that’s all you know about it, you know enough.
For over a year, Sting and Hogan were each able to do what was believed to be impossible of them both. For Sting, this meant being a dark, brooding, 3-dimensional character with motives other than “being the good guy.” For Hogan, it meant actually being compelling and watchable. (Of course, I’m specifically referring to 1997-Hulk Hogan. I would never deny the true initial outbreak of Hulkamania that had created a pandemic in the hearts of all real Americans.) When people say the entire build for this match was incredible, they aren’t exaggerating. The hype for this match — literally until right before the match — was awesome.
How could this match turn out badly? Well… I’ll show you.
At the top of the show, Tony Schiavone announces that the WCW Executive Committee has decided to select a referee at random to officiate the main event bout, in order to avoid any secret collusion with the nWo. Who will it be? Mickie Jay? Scott Dickinson? Mark Curtis? Lil’ Naitch? JJ Dillion meets with Mean Gene to reveal the results.
The match is set to be officiated by the newly-reinstated Patrick, who was welcomed back to WCW after forfeiting his allegiance to the nWo, but can he be trusted?
Buffer announces the match with only 20 minutes remaining in the show, and despite being the champion, Hollywood comes to the ring first. He does some of the laziest showboating I have ever seen. In hindsight, this is how you know he’s not leaving with the belt.
After Sting is announced, they cut to a screen suspended from the rafters. On this screen, they project what is supposed to be a cool laser show of Sting swinging a bat and a scorpion.
Accompanying this sad display is a great voiceover explaining who Sting is now and what has motivated him to become this “dark warrior.”
This is definitely way less cool, but Schiavone smartly explains that “the end of the summer of 1996” was the last time Sting walked to the ring, underlining the importance of the match.
Another incredible piece of production are these flashes of Hogan that appear as the pops of pyro go off, as though we can see into Sting’s mind.
The bell rings, and the match begins with mutual disrespect.
Two whole minutes later, Hogan stands still while Sting locks up with him.
I’m only exaggerating a little bit when I say the next few minutes are all punches.
Eventually, the tide turns, and Sting sends Hogan to the outside with a big dropkick, presumably so that the Hulkster can rest after throwing all those punches.
Just over a minute later, Hogan re-enters the ring. We get an extended headlock from Hogan and a “BO-RING” chant from the crowd.
Which send Hogan back to the floor.
We’re then “treated” to two minutes of this
Finally followed by this great exchange
Sting no-sells a suplex
Hogan continues to brutalize Stinger on the outside.
Once back in the ring, it’s all Hogan. He hits the big boot.
And he wins.
The bell doesn’t ring, as Bret Hart steals the time-keeper’s hammer.
He clocks Patrick after accusing him of a fast count.
Depending on who you believe, Patrick was supposed to do a fast count but didn’t. He clearly didn’t. I can show you again.
Nick being a good and responsible referee made the whole angle make no sense.
Bret forces Hogan back into the ring since the match hasn’t officially ended.
Hart served as special referee in an earlier match, and as such, is qualified to replace Patrick as this match’s officiant.
At this point Sting is in complete control.
An attempted interference by Vicious and Delicious is easily thwarted.
A Scorpion Deathlock leads to Hart calling for the bell after Hogan’s submission.
So there you have it. After 18 months of constant and blatant cheating, the evil Hollywood Hulk Hogan was dethroned by… blatant… cheating.
Match Time – 12:53
Gif Time – 2:04