Starrcade 1997 and Sting’s Botched Moment

Sting, starrcade 1997

WCW Starrcade took place on December 28th, 1997 at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. It boasted an attendance of 17, 500, as well as a buy rate of 1.9, which was the best that World Championship Wrestling ever achieved. That would turn out to be a bad thing. I’ll explain how when we get to the main event – Sting vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan in a match that was hyped for over a year.

Anyway, the show opened with a surprisingly well-directed vignette. It’s Sting being Sting, skulking around in the shadows. That was his whole deal. He was dark and mysterious.

Pretty cool start.

From there, the announcers bring us in, and before long, Dean Malenko is facing off with Eddie Guerrero for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Staring out with a banger. That’s what I’m talking about. It doesn’t get much better than Malenko vs. Guerrero.

I actually saw their matches in ECW, recently. Holy hell, those are all incredible. And luckily, they didn’t lose a step for this one. It’s great. The only bad thing about the whole thing is the announce crew. They were droning on about the NWO the whole time, and almost completely ignored the two masters of their craft, at work, in the middle of the ring.

Guerrero retained his title, after hitting a Missile Dropkick, and a Frog Splash on Malenko’s injured knee, and then pinning him for the three count.

Next up – Scott Norton, Vincent, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. The Steiner Brothers and Ray Traylor. Before the match went on, Scott Hall came out and cut his standard NWO promo: “either you’re with us, or you’re against us.”

Then he explained that Kevin Nash wasn’t going to be able to make his match with The Giant. The Giant was not very happy about that. So he came down to the ring and made it known.

During all this, The Giant (now known as The Big Show) said that he was going to be around Professional Wrestling for a long time. Man, he had no idea.

Onto the six-man tag match. It was hot garbage, same as the next bout (Bill Goldberg vs. Steve McMichael).

In fact, we’re going to skip past both and go right to Perry Saturn (w/ Raven) vs. Chris Benoit in a Raven’s Rules Match.

Chris Benoit vs Saturn, WCW Starrcade 1997 by vsplanet

Not bad, right? Those two were friends, so they had chemistry. That’s the most important ingredient in a good wrestling match. You know who had absolutely zero chemistry?

Buff Bagwell and Lex Luger. That was the next match, and to steal a phrase from my friend Paul Jensen – “it’s doodoo caca.”

They were only put together, because they both had ridiculously jacked physiques. Other than that, there was nothing. Just the displeasure of watching two of the worst wrestlers in the history of the business. That may sound like an exaggeration, but I fully believe it.

Buff is not the stuff, and The Total Package should have been shipped far, far away from a wrestling ring.

Thankfully, the next match had two stars: Diamond Dallas Page and Curt Hennig. It wasn’t amazing, but it was better than most of the others on this card (Guerrero vs. Malenko being the exception). Plus, DDP won, and took home his first United States Championship.

Anyone who knows Page’s story, knows why that is so cool.

Diamond Dallas Page vs Curt Hennig, WCW… by vsplanet

Only two matches remain. The following bout was a colossal disaster. I had to stop watching, I’ll be honest.

It was Larry Zybyzko vs. Eric Bischoff. If Bischoff won, he’d get control of WCW, and if Zybyzko won, then he’d get to face Scott Hall at a coming pay-per-view (WCW/NWO Souled Out).

Larry won, because he was an actual wrestler. After that, somehow, he won again, defeating Scott Hall in their match at Souled Out.


Ignore the WWE 2K14 logo (
Ignore the WWE 2K14 logo (

Finally, we’ve reached the main event of the evening – Sting vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. What a shit show. There’s really no better way to put it.

Here’s how it was supposed to go: Hogan gets a pin on Sting, but only because the referee, Nick Patrick, counted too fast. Then Bret Hart comes out, and rants about how there’d be no screwjob here in WCW, and restarts the match. Then Sting gets a clean victory.

Here’s what happened: the ref didn’t count fast at all, so it came off like Hogan got a fair and square victory over The Icon. Only to have Bret Hart come out, hit some people, and then babble about how something wasn’t going to happen again. From there, he restarted the match, and Sting got an exceptionally weak victory over the leader of the NWO.

He needed that win, guys. It was supposed to be his moment. Eric Bischoff and World Championship Wrestling spent over a year building up the Sting vs. Hogan storyline. Show after show, the Stinger would wordlessly throw a wrench in the NWO’s plans. It was all beautifully done – until the end. They spent all that time and money, and then they blew it. A lot of fans were so disappointed in this match, that they switched sides to the WWF.

Totally understandable. Sting versus “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan should have been a classic.

WCW Starrcade 1997 – Sting Vs. Hollywood Hogan by WWFNetwork

Instead, it is garbage of the hottest variety.

Looking For Further Sting Coverage? 

Click HERE for a piece entitled, “Sting vs. Vader (Starrcade 1992): Beauty Is Pain.”

Click HERE for a piece entitled, “Night of Champions 2015 and Sting’s Warrior Moment.”

Click HERE for a piece entitled, “Anger, Tears, and a Ripped Sting Trading Card.”

Stay Tuned For Even More To Come!


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Joseph Finnegan