“I don’t even know who works for TNA anymore.”
Sting rode into Manchester, for the second night of a three date tour to the UK courtesy of Inside The Ropes, and as the quote above suggests, he held nothing back.
Of course in classic wrestling “journalism” I’ve somewhat taken that quote out of context, but we’ll get to that in due course.
After battling the weather and the Conservative Party Conference I arrived at the Comedy Store to a brilliantly well organised set up. The queue system for the meet and greet was logical and the man himself was a pleasure to meet. He had time for each and every person and everyone left with a smile on their face.
The Q&A itself was split into sections, hosted by Robert Duffin and Kenny McIntosh of Inside The Ropes and introduced by some exciting video packages courtesy of Kev Gilmour at Squared Circle Ringwear.
Section one tackled Surfer Sting and the early part of his career, although we tackled his recent injury at Night of Champions first up. Sting said he felt fine but had been warned by the doctors that the MRI scans did not look great. There may have been a hint of kayfabe in that.
He talked about his start in the business and how the famous Clash of the Champions match with Ric Flair put him on the map. When asked about the Black Scorpion angle he said he had thought it was pretty good but that he had had no idea who was going to end up under the mask, hinting that a few potential names had fallen by the wayside.
He put over how much he enjoyed working with Vader (stiff and nervous but Sting “calmed” him) and Cactus Jack (creative but insane, as evidenced by Foley “begging” him to do a spot which saw Foley back dropped onto concrete). He also touched upon Dusty Rhodes’ visions and how things like “Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal” and the infamous Beach Blast promo weren’t his cup of tea and how he knew they were cheesy.
From there we tackled the “Crow” Sting. He said he was nervous to make the change but knew the business was changing and he had to adapt. When asked about suggestions he might have been the “third man” with Hall and Nash he said it had never been presented to him and that he wouldn’t have done it if it had. He wanted to forge his own path.
He put over how creative everyone was at that time, before ego’s got in the way. He was asked about the “fast count” in his Starrcade match with Hulk Hogan, but said he really didn’t know what had happened. He admitted that plans for the ending had gone back and forth all day and changes were made right up to walking through the curtain.
The dark days of WCW were covered, with Sting suggesting everyone was at fault for its demise. Too many people had their own agendas. He touched on Bret Hart’s run and admitted he never really seemed happy there. When someone asked about his team with Vampiro, Sting had very little positive to say, saying that it was just something that didn’t work and was one of the worst parts of his career.
From there it was his TNA days, and his aforementioned admission that he didn’t even know who worked for TNA these days. He was stating that he’s never really been one to watch much wrestling, not even spending too much time looking over his own matches.
He admitted that he didn’t think switching TNA to Monday nights was a good idea but that he could see why they tried it. He said that the infamous “match” with Jeff Hardy was “shameful” but that he was glad Hardy appears to have sorted himself out. He said that his run as “Joker” Sting was a lot of fun and that it was a chance to prove he could be a “promo” guy. He also said the Main Event Mafia was a lot of fun and after years of painting his face every night it was cool to just be able to suit up with a pair of sunglasses!
Things wrapped up with his WWE run. He admitted to years of suspicion that Vince only wanted him to hurt WCW or it’s legacy but that it had got to the stage where it was “now or never”. He said it was largely Triple H who he had spoken to prior to inking the deal and that everyone had been very supportive and respectful to him since he’d been there.
He said that very few had been told about his Survivor Series debut and that he had even been sneaked into the arena that night. His WrestleMania match with HHH inevitably came up and he said that although he was touched that so many fans tell him he should have won, to him it was about more than that. Being at WrestleMania, and sharing the ring with DX and the nWo was what he hoped people would remember, not that he had lost.
He said he didn’t see himself as suited to an on-screen GM type role and that when he goes in the Hall of Fame he would like either Ric Flair or Lex Luger to induct him. He finished by answering his five favourite opponents and nominating Flair, Hogan, The Great Muta, Vader and Kurt Angle. As a postscript he refused to answer whether or not there was any hope for that Undertaker match (having previously admitted that that was one big reason for wanting to go to the WWE).
This was an excellent night. It was well presented and organised and Sting proved to be a great talker and, as importantly, a really good guy too. As ever these nights depend on the audience’s questions but for the most part they were interesting and relevant.
If he ever comes back I’d wholeheartedly recommend spending an evening in Sting’s company.
In terms of the event organisers, keep an eye out for future Inside The Ropes events. They ran a great evening with unique touches not seen in any of the other Q&A tours of it’s kind such as promo videos, a fantastic entrance and a live podcast setting. Great from start to finish.