By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka
Part 16: The Challenge of Sting
After defeating Ron Garvin for the NWA title (his sixth title), everyone thought that then defected Horsemen Lex Luger would be the top challenger for the title!!! But, out of nowhere, came a man from the now-defunct UWF!! A man called Sting. At first, Flair didn't take this challenger seriously. If you would've seen their first matches together, you could've seen why as Flair handled Sting easily!!! By January, however, you could see that Flair had to struggle more and more with Sting at each outing!! Sting gained more confidence and developed his "Scorpion Deathlock" during this period!!! Then, during an episode of NWA World Wide Wrestling, Sting came out during a Horsemen party to campain for more shots at Flair's belt. JJ Dillon, then-manager of the Horsemen, came out and insulted Sting. He even went so far as to throw champane into his face!!! That proved to be a big mistake as Sting tore into JJ!!! He delievered his "Stinger Splash" and locked in the "Scorpion" (which, at that time, was just as deadly and crippling-looking as Bret Hart's "Sharpshooter" version)!! The rest of the Horsemen (Flair, Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard) came to the rescue but Sting had high-tailed it by then!! Flair accepted Sting's challenge for the NWA crown for World Wide Wrestling in February 1988, marking their first televised meeting. Sting, surprisingly, dominated Flair!!! Only Flair's ring savy and Sting's inexperience kept Sting from winning the title right there!! Late in the match, the ref went down!!! Sting, by this time, had hooked in the "Scorpion" and Flair was screaming like a banschee!!! Arn Anderson tried to come out to help but was cut off by Barry Windham and Lex Luger!!! Sting held Flair in the "Scorpion" for about 5 minutes!!! Though the bout had to be called a no-contest, Sting gained a psychological edge against Flair as Flair was carried out on a strecher for one the rare times in his career!!!
Later, a rematch was signed for TBS' first Clash Of The Champions!!! It was on March 27, 1988 on a sunny but cold Sunday afternoon (at least it was cold here in West Virginia). Sting battled Flair to a 45 minute draw!!! While he didn't defeat Flair for the title, he showed that he could battle the champ!!! Flair would spend the next four months battling various challengers like Sting, Nikita Koloff, Steve "Dr. Death" Williams and others but the showdown that everyone was waiting for at that time was coming. Ric Flair VS. Lex Luger.
Next: The Blood Controversy
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Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
We open on a replay of JJ Dillon announcing the Hogan/Goldberg match for tonight. Nitro comes to us live from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. Tony is calling this the biggest card in Nitro history.
Nitro Grrrrls cavort in the ring as Tony, Mike Tenay and Legendary Larry spiel. Larry takes his customary bow while Tony questions Tenay concerning the main event.
Voodoo Child blares forth and Eric Bischoff appears with Miss Liz - followed by Hollywood Hogan and his stooge, the Disciple. Bischoff introduces Hogan who starts his rant, everybody loves him, they worship the ground...yatta, yatta... He then says he has some good news and some bad news. He says the good news is that we are less then a week away from Bash at the Beach and that Dennis Rodman claims that Karl Malone won't be playing basketball after Sunday. The bad news is that the Title match isn't going to happen...according to Hogan. He then says he's going to introduce a new member of the nWo black & white who he claims will be taking the match tonight, and if Goldberg wins then he'll get a Title shot - he declines to make the introduction at this time. Cut to a frenzied Goldberg fan making his prediction concerning the match that Hogan just called off then to commercial.
I can't believe the generally negative commentary I have been reading on the Net about the Hogan/Goldberg match. I think a lot of people are so consumed by their hatred of Bischoff that they are failing to see the possibilities inherent in this development. Just for example - many people seem to see this match as and end in itself. I can't imagine it as anything but a beginning - there are any number of ways that this can be turned into a long running quest by Goldberg to win the World Title...and the longer it takes - the more popular Goldberg will become.
Mean Gene is standing with last year's race car winner Brian Murphy , who is standing next to the Mark Martin race car that's being given away in their Valvoline promotion. They talk some trash.
Dean Malenko vs. Booker T - TV Title match - Malenko is giving up a lot of weight in this one. His superior mat technique evens the odds somewhat but Booker is a very talented wrestler himself and it's pretty close until Booker goes for a missle drop-kick and misses. Malenko now goes to the top and dives right into Booker's arms. Now the bout see-saws and moments later both competitors tumble out to the floor. Chris Jericho shows up at this point to distract Malenko, who falls prey to an axe kick and is pinned. We see Goldberg warming up in the locker room then go to commercial.
Kanyon vs. Raven (w/Lodi) - Kanyon meets his opponent in the aisle and decks him and his flunky. They go to the ring and the match is underway. They trade sleepers then struggle for position and both tumble to the floor. Tony has refined the situation with Goldberg - if he beats the mystery man then he will get his World Title shot tonight. In the ring, Kanyon is dominating the action despite Raven's rules. A chair is in the ring and Raven is on the receiving end until Lodi knocks Kanyon off the top. Raven suplexes Kanyon onto the chair and then Saturn hits the ring and starts suplexing everyone - including Kanyon! He reaches under the ring and gets a table. He positions Raven on the table - which appears to be cut...but doesn't break when he splashes the birdman. Back in the ring, Kanyon gets hold of Saturn and repays him for the shot he took earlier.
Meanwhile in the back a limo arrives, a wheelchair is taken out of the trunk and Buff Bagwell is helped into it. His mother pushes him into the arena. Cut to commercial.
More Goldberg fan reaction as we retrun.
Nitro Grrrls on the platform this time. Cut to a Nitro Party contest promo.
Replay of the DDP/Malone truck entrance from last week plus the nWo reception that didn't come off.
Mean Gene is in the ring. He invites Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone to the come on down. DDP promises Hogan the worst week of his life. He looks forward to watching Hogan get "bruised up" before their match on Sunday. Malone contributes his own trash talk - "Rodzilla, I'm going to whip you the way that Madonna should have whipped you!" He refers to himself as the "Rodzilla Killa". Cut to commercial.
Replay of some of the Steve McMichael pre-recorded interview that aired last week.
Scott (the putz) Putski vs. Scotty (the jobber) Riggs - this is an all-jobber match. I suppose Putski's getting the push - but I can't imagine why. They stumble through this match with Riggs carrying his opponent for the most part. These two put together have about as much talent as Val Venis. The fight goes out to the floor and Putski is taking it. Back in the ring, they both miss clothesline attempts then throw simultaneous flying tackles and collide in mid-air. Putski comes back with his only good move - a Polish Hammer ala his father - Riggs catches him in a jawbreaker. Putski then uses a powerbomb (Putski-Bomb?) to get the win. Goldberg is knocking his head against a locker to psyche up. Cut to commercial.
Hey! That Masterlock commercial for the shrouded padlocks is great! "You look like you've done time!" indeed...
Another limo arrives in the back and Scott Hall disembarks to join his buddies. Tony speculates that Hall will be Goldberg's initial opponent.
Chris Jercho vs. Ultimo Dragon - Cruiserweight Title match - Jericho trades his ring jacket for David Penzer's mic. He introduces himself and goes into his rant about Rey Misterio, Jr. being his opponent for the Bash. JJ Dillon is there to disabuse him of that notion. Malenko shows up and is informed by Dillon that he is disqualified from the Bash if he lays a hand on Jericho before then. Jericho tries to bait the Iceman but Dillon is there to remind him of the consequences. Jericho keeps pushing the envelope and goes to the lengths of questioning Malenko's father's paternity. Malenko snaps and has to be hauled away. Look for the real Misterio to show up for the match on Sunday. Cut to commercial.
Ah yes, the match. Ultimo Dragon makes his entrance as we return. The Dragon grabs the early advantage as Jericho is still rubbing his nose where Malenko hit him. Dragon continues to dominate until he goes for a twisting splash off the second turnbuckle and misses. The match goes on until Malenko runs in and starts pounding on Jericho again. He tears handfulls of Jerichos hair out before the security guys can subdue him. Cut to commercial.
We see that Malenko was arrested and hauled away in handcuffs during the break.
More Nitro Grrrrls....Heenan joins the broadcast team. Tony hawks the Nitro Party contest again.
Johnny Swinger vs. Chavo Guerrero, Jr. - Swinger has his own rant before the match - claims he's the hottest young commodity in the wrestling world. Chavo comes out wearing a hardhat - to prevent another hair-cutting I guess. He wants to wear it during the match but the referee is having none of it. He then wrestles with a hand covering the place where Eddie cut his hair. Swinger is aggressive but no match for his opponent who puts him down in a couple of minutes with a Tornado DDT. Chavo notices that his opponent has some "split ends" so he gives him a trim. He then proposes a "hair vs. hair match" to Eddie for their match at the Bash on Sunday. Goldberg is shown winning his 25th match - against Glacier. Cut to commercial.
More of Goldberg warming up backstage. Tony is convinced that he will face Hall but there is no confirmation of that supposition and I am dubious yet...
The Dancing Fools vs. Public Enemy - personally I am tired of this team (Wright/Disco)- they should stick to dancing separately. Tokyo Magnum joins them in the ring again but they just appear confused. PE comes out carrying two tables, set them up in a tandem then chase the Fools out of the ring. PE dominate this one from the get-go until Wright manages to sneak up behind them while they are busy with Disco. Tokyo Magnum remains at ringside during the match. Wright gets put on one of the tables but Tokyo Magnum pulls him off. The Dancers split so PE stack up the tables and crash Magnum through it. The Dancing Idiots...uh, Fools...whatever....run back in and attack with trashcans to eject PE from the ring. PE wins in a DQ.
Mean Gene brings Buff Bagwell out to the acclaim of the crowd. Buff says "I love Atlanta" and gets a big pop. He talks about his close call and thanks his fans from the heart for their love and support. He expresses his gratitude to his mother who beams at the crowd from behind him and declines to get involved in Scott Steiner's "guest star" angle for the present. Goldberg gets his 59th win over Rick Fuller in a video clip. Cut to commercial.
Tony is still hyping a Goldberg/Hall match - maybe he knows what he is talking about...
Goldberg vs Scott Hall - World Title Qualifier match/US Title match - Hall wears Red & Black colors interestingly enough. But then he always did... Goldberg makes his entrance to an overwhelming chant of his name. He stands as the pyro bounces off his chest and face. He and Hall are about the same size and their musculature is approximately the same. Hall fares better then most Goldberg opponents in the early going but Goldberg keeps knocking him down. Hall goes for the eyes but is blocked. He tries to scoop his opponent but gets scooped himself instead. Then Hall starts making some headway and actually tries a cover after a knockdown. He gets a one count then is pushed off with authority. Goldberg is on his kness and getting punched but he comes back to his feet and gets a hip-toss then two rather sloppy armdrags. Hall is reeling and falls out of the ring. He's waving the nWo troups in but DDP and Karl Malone show up with chairs and stop them in their tracks. In the ring Goldberg is knocked down hard again then Hall goes for the Outsider's Edge but is backdropped instead. Goldberg spears him as he gets up. The Jackhammer comes into play and is decisive. Round two will be the main event... Cut to commercial.
Nitro Grrrls are clustered around the broadcast position as we return.
Psychosis vs. Juventud Guerrera - Pschosis rushes into the corner and misses at the beginning then turns and downs his opponent. Juventud returns with a clothesline. The match that follows is a high-flying bonanza like we haven't seen in some time. Guerrera gets monkey flipped right over the top to the floor then Psychosis hits a Suicide Senton Splash. Back in the ring these remarkably resilliant athletes are right back into it until Juvey gets his J-Driver. As he climbs for his 450 splash the Flock shows up. He gets the splash and the pin then is attacked by the thugs. Cut to another Goldberg moment - he wins the US Title by defeating Raven in his 75th match.
The Giant vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggen - Hacksaw attacks before the bell but is soon downed by a foot to the face. He is bulled into the corner and butt-squashed a few times but then gets out of the way. He gets in a few whacks but isn't having much affect until he hits the three point stance and topples the big guy. He goes for a knee drop but gets a big fist in the face. Moments later we get chokeslam city. The Giant grabs a mic and rants against Kevin Greene - he would seem to rather face Greene alone then to have to face Goldberg as well. Greene shows up and spits in the Giant's face. The Giant attacks and gets surprised and clotheslined over the top to the floor. Greene has Hacksaw's 2X4 to assure that the Giant backs off from further engagement. Cut to commercial.
Jim Neidhart vs. Diamond Dallas Page (w/Karl Malone) - the outcome of this match is too easy to predict. Neidhart is very aggressive in the opening moments but so is DDP. Neidhart comes back strong but is Diamond Cut before he gets anything together. Cut to commercial.
Goldberg is shown getting his 100th win against Konnan as we return.
The Wolf pack makes it's first appearance of the evening as we return. Kidman and Sick Boy make an appearance as the Red and Black do their usual pep talk bit.
Sting/Luger vs. Sickboy/Kidman - The Flock members are squashed in a matter of moments - nothing to describe really. Goldberg's winning moment is his defeat of Scott Hall in this clip. Cut to commercial.
Hollywood Hogan vs. Goldberg - WCW World Title match - a camera backs up as Goldberg is shown in the back approaching the arena flanked by security - reminiscent of the entrances Hogan used to make in the WWF years ago. The crowd goes even wilder as he appears in the portal. He breathes fire for a second time tonight and then makes his way to the ring. We go sell something before Hogan makes his entrance.
Hogan says he's going to kick Goldberg's butt. That would surprise me. He comes out alone but don't expect it to stay that way. The fans are rabid as the bell sounds. The chant swells to epic proportions. Goldberg grabs a side headlock to establish the power advantage. Hogan punches his way free then whips his opponent only to be knocked down by a tackle. He gets right up and grabs a front chancilry. Goldberg throws him off after a struggle. They try a Greco-Roman lock-up. Bad idea for Hogan. He is forced to his knees until he goes to the ropes to escape. Hogan comes back with a boot to the gut then levels the monster with a couple of fists to the head. He starts to use his belt as a weapon but Goldberg grabs it away and then tosses it out of the ring. They trade hammerlocks then Hogan gets in a low-blow and takes the advantage. He chokes Goldberg as he lays on the mat then scoops him up and slams him with authority. Then he tries to drop an elbow but Goldberg rolls out of the way. Hogan misses again then Goldberg is up and runs through him. Hogan rolls out to the floor and retrieves his belt. Back in the ring , Hogan knocks his opponent to the floor, smashes him into the railing then uses a chair on him a couple of times. Back in the ring Hogan gets the big boot to the face and then two big legdrops. We see Hennig headed to the ring but he is waylaid by Karl Malone . Hogan is distracted and as he turns around gets speared. Goldberg gets the Jackhammer and the pin!!! Goldberg is the new World Champion!!!
Now they just have to screw him out of it so he can go on a quest...
We open with clips from last weeks latest installment of the Austin/Kane saga then cut to the opening montage.
RAW is on tape from State College, PA.
The Undertaker makes his entrance as soon as the introductions are through. He grabs a mike and demands a World Title shot tonight. In the back Michael Cole is hunting for Austin to get his reaction. He locates him but Austin is too busy heading for the ring to talk to Cole. They seem about to get it on when Vince McMahan intervenes from the platform. He reminds Austin that he (McMahon) has the last word on who gets Title shots. He then says he is inclined to allow the match, but he wants them to wait until the next PPV - but - he isn't talking about a Title match - in fact he is going to put them in the ring as Tag Team against Mankind and Kane! He further states that he will name the #1 contender for the WWF Title later tonight. He offers to salute Austin but flips him the bird instead. Jim Ross says DX has a surprise for us later tonight.
Brakus vs. Savio Vega - Brawl for All match - so here is Brakus at last. Savio goes for a takedown but his opponent widens his stance and stays upright. Brakus gets a takedown then Savio comes back with a barrage of punches and clearly wins the first round punches landed. The unofficial tally shows them even 5 to 5. The second round seems to go in Savio's favor with a goos flurry of punches and a takedown. He gets an immediate takedown at the beginning of the third round - Brakus seems to have a broken nose. He suffers a standing eight count after a knockdown and then clearly loses the round and the match. This was better then either of the Brawl matches last week. Cut to commercial.
Ken Shamrock vs. Dubba J (w/Tennessee Lee) - Jarrett tries to attack on the bell but Shamrock catches him coming in. They struggle for position then Jarrett is clotheslined out of the ring. Edge is shown watching from the gallery. Jarrett reaches through the ropes and trips his opponent but then makes a comeback when Jarrett returns to the ring. He almost gets the ankle lock but T. Lee drags him out of the ring to safety. Back inside Jarrett turns the tables and takes control. He manages a pin attempt and a two count then grabs a sleeper. Shamrock doesn't seem to know how to deal with it at first but then reverses it. Jarrett turns into it immediately and escapes with a jawbreaker. Both guys are down then on their feet and Shamrock comes roaring back. As he seems to have things in hand former KOR Mabel suddenly comes into the ring and flattens Shamrock with a clothesline and a splash. So much for the match... Shamrock clutches his ribs but refuses assistance. Cut to commercial.
Shamrock vows revenge and issues a challenge to Mabel for later tonight as we return.
Vader vs, Bradshaw - here's a couple of bulls getting it on. Vader dominates until he mounts the corner and gets slammed from there. Suddenly Kane and Mankind show up and wreak havoc. So much for the match again...
DOA (w/Paul Ellering) vs. the Headbangers - we get a four way brawl to start. Ellering joins the broadcasters as the match begins. The Bangers are clearly the better team here but the DOA are bigger and they overwhelm their smaller opponents as the match continues. The Bangers have their moments but the DOA is having a banner evening and finish off their opponents in no time at all. The Undertaker is pacing in the back as we cut to commercial.
D'Lo Brown (w/Kama) vs. Terry Funk - D'lo is still wearing a chest protector because of a previuos injury. He uses it liberally as a weapon in this one. Funk gets squashed in the corner. D'Lo delivers some chops and elicits some spirited "Whoooos..." from the crowd. Funk turns the tables briefly but can't maintain that advantage until he takes the fight out to the floor. He throws an Asahi Moonsault off the apron and runs his own legs into the railing (ouch!!) Still he comes back and in the ring he throws a moonsault off the top nto his prone opponent. D'Lo is knocked out of the ring on one side but Kama is wrapping his fist in a chain on the other side. As Funk leans onto the ropes he is brained. D'Lo gets a frog splash to win. The Undertaker appears and attacks D'Lo and Kama with chokeslams. Then he turns and does the same to the battered Terry Funk! Cut to commercial.
Vince McMahan goes to the ring to make his announcement. He calls Mankind to the ring then Kane, then the Undertaker. He compliments Mankind on his performance at King of the Ring. He turns to Kane and calls him "one of the stupidest men I have ever seen..." for giving Austin a Title shot last week but says that Kane's agreeing to set himself on fire at the PPV was a brave act and teases Kane as the #1 contender. He turns to the Undertaker and excoriates him as "evil" and "diabolical". He orders a triple-threat match for tonight to determine the next Title contender. Cut to commercial.
Hawk vs Puke- Brawl for All match - Droz swings wildly as Hawk lands punches and fends him off. Puke goes for a takedown but the bell sounds before he can complete it. Score one for Hawk. Hawk goes for a takedown but is blocked. They exchange blows and Droz is landing a few now. Hawk is bleeding from his nose. The match is even after the second round. The third round is hard to call - in fact the result is a draw. Cut to commercial.
Marc Mero comes down with Jaquelyn as we retrun - we are treated to clips of Mero's dismal performance in the first Brawl for All match last week. The Sable chant erupts as they enter the ring. Jaquelyn says that Mero's loss last week was her fault. She says that the night before she had worn him out (wink, wink). She goes on to rant about Sable's inability to satisfy her man. This is interrupted by the arrival of the subject of this tirade. She says she had her "pedal to the metal" but his "tire was flat". Jaquey says her body is "prime real estate" and Sable wants to know "how many times have you've rented it out?" Jaquey response is too challenge Sable to a bikini contest - of course (what else..?) Cut to commercial.
Val Venis vs. Dustin Runnels - Dustin prays before the match and wants to shake hands - Venis waves his crotch at him. Mr. Cheese shows us a little wrestling ability tonight while Dustin doesn't seem to have any arsenal outside of his various punches. A couple of short knees followed by a side Russian leg sweep put Dustin on his back but then Kaientai runs in to attack Venis. Yamaguchi brings his wife to ringside to witness the humilliation of his nemesis. He makes a little speech after they punk him and gets in his own shot. Mrs. Y seems a bit taken with the Cheeseman (why I can't imagine...). Cut to commercial.
DX makes an entrance disguised as NOD as we return. I have to admit this is their funniest bit yet. HHH is doing his Maivia impression, he can't decide if he's the "Crock" or the "Rock"- Road Dog as D'Lo - Billy as Kama, a little stranger does Owen Hart with police tape all over him and Waltman is stuffed up to resemble Mark Henry. They show a replay of Mabel's attack on Shamrock earlier then cut to commercial.
Mabel vs. Ken Shamrock - Shamrock blocks the first punch by his opponent but he is only postponing the inevitable. Mabel gets a punch to the ribs then lowers another splash on him. Shamrock is trying to hold his ribs and wrestle at the same time. Still he does pretty well but he keeps getting overwhelmed by his massive opponent. Mabel goes to the second rope to throw a clothesline but Shamrock grabs a reverse arm bar the switches to the ankle lock and won't let it go. Mabel submits but still Shamrock won't let go. He finally relinquishes the hold but then starts pummeling Mabel. He passes McMahan and Paul Bearer on his way up the ramp. Vince continues to the broadcast position. Steve Austin makes the next entrance much to McMahan's chagrin. Looks like Vinnie Mac will have company at the table.
The Undertaker vs. Kane vs. Mankind - Triple Threat Title Contender match - Foley comes out first. I can't believe this guy is ready to compete yet. The lights go out and here comes Kane. The Undertaker fails to show. McMahan enters the ring and instructs the announcer to say that the Undertaker hasn't shown up because he is "chickensh*t". The match is made between Kane and Mankind - no holds barred - falls count anywhere. Mankind then decides to sit this one out because he doesn't want to fight "his friend Kane." Kane stands in the ring in confusion, Mankind sits propped against the steps. McMahan is trying to get them to fight but Kane is hesitant. Finally he brains Mankind where he sits with a chair then rolls him into the ring. Mankind is dragged to the center of the ring and pinned with no fan fare. Then he pulls off his mask - it's the Undertaker!! UT is now the #1 contender.
I hate to say it but the best thing about RAW tonight was the first Brawl for All...
At least that's the way I see it...
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