Let me take you back, Sophia Petrillo style. Picture it: Newark, NJ, 1992. A young man engages in a love affair with a man who paints his face and spikes his bleach blonde hair. Across the ring: an absolute monster of a man wearing a mask that hid exactly nothing. At the time, the monster was just a hated rival of his main man. Years later, however, the young man would come to appreciate the talent and sheer brutality of the big man.
Yes, you guessed right. And by guessed, I mean you looked at the title and featured image (and most likely the video embedded below), but I’m talking about the historic rivalry between Sting and Vader. Both men engaged in many classic battles and you’d be pretty hard pressed to find a bad one. That said, this piece is going to cover my personal favorite meeting between the two.
In 1992, Sting is already the rock for WCW, and Flair’s off in the WWF for a spell. Vader has made a name for himself as a certified beast of a man and had actually beaten Sting for the WCW World Heavyweight title earlier in the year. A couple of months later, the two found themselves in the King of Cable tournament finals at Starrcade ’92. The prize? A fucking trophy.
Yeah, I actually can’t remember what this tournament was about. Some very light research yielded that it was either to celebrate their time on TBS, others say it was that, and for some additional ratings during sweeps. Someone else even said that it had nothing to do with television, and that it was because the ropes were made out of cable. Regardless of any of that, I need to stress the fact that these two individuals engaged in a war that night over a trophy.
No title, no #1 contender spot, nothing. If that wasn’t enough, this is one of the two Starrcades that featured the Battlebowl battle royale, plus the tag team qualifying matches, so both men actually wrestled 3 times that evening.
The match itself is really a very well-crafted story highlighting both men’s in-ring styles and personality, while really engaging the crowd in a huge way. Vader showcases how much of an absolute power house he is, literally gorilla pressing Stinger up and launching him into a stun gun over the top rope with one hand. Sting, on the other hand, used to being a perfect balance of speed and power, gets his power game trumped over and over by Vader, and eventually finds himself trying to use his speed and agility to take down the big man.
Eventually, Sting literally wears out The Mastodon by absorbing these big Vader blows, one after the other, and that bleeds into the finish that I won’t spoil for you here (click play on the video above). Really, aside from the aforementioned, the physicality in the match is what draws me in and immerses me. Note that every Sting/Vader match is very physical, so that speaks volumes about this match.
Both these men are a favorite of mine, and by extension, a favorite of many of the Nerdopotamus wrestling team. In the future, we’ll be covering the careers of these men with two new special features: THE VADER TIMES & A MAN CALLED STING.
We hope you enjoy reading, but more importantly, we hope you enjoy the wrestling.
Looking For More Sting Coverage?
Click HERE for a piece entitled, “Starrcade 1997 and Sting’s Botched Moment.”
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.”
What About Big Van Vader?
Click HERE for a piece entitled, “The Vader Times: Making a Monster.”