Sunday, December 31, 2006

Performer Analysis: Sting

1) Innovation- 7/10
When Sting first came upon the wrestling scene, big, brutish, face painted mongrels were very common in the world of wrestling. Sting and his then partner (Jim "Warrior" Hellwig) were no different. But, over the years, as he gained in ring time, confidence, and ability, as well as fan support, Sting crafted a style all of his own. He worked a strong style, mixed with brawling and a lot of high flying. He was one of the first main eventers to implement high flying, risky moves into his arsenal. Also, in regards to character, the "silent" Sting angle drew huge money all the while it was used and Sting pulled it off brilliantly.

2) Conditioning- 9/10
There is no questioning Sting's physique over the years. He has always been in phenomenal shape. His cardio is excellent, and he has had his share of long bouts over the length of his career. His shape wasn't as good as it used to be when he joined TNA, but since has shaped up. The only thing stopping Sting from getting a 10 is his self-admitted pain killer usage.

3) Skill- 8/10
Sting, is not the most scientific of wrestlers, that is not even an argument. But, there is so much more to the show than that. Over the years, Sting has had decent matches with mediocre talent, and great matches with decent talent, and a few classics with great talent. You're only as good as the opponent you're in the ring with and Sting has had to face some awful guys in his past, but his intensity and fire have pulled him through it. I heard Ric Flair say he always thought Sting was great, but never reached his true potential, and I have to agree. As good as Sting was, very rarely was he pushed to the limit during his career and I would say that is what stopped him from reaching his true potential.
4) Psychology- 10/10
This is a score that doesn't come easy to give. Sting, as he has progressed through his career, has learned a lot about wrestling. I think his psych isn't so much about selling a certain body part or playing off an injury, which he has done, but with getting the fans involved in what he does. When Flair turned on him and joined back with the Horsemen in 95, Sting played to the fans, showing his complete disappointment in what had transpired. Just recently, he was stalked in his personal life by Jeff Jarrett and even put his career on the line to get a title shot with him, and he played it exactly to the tee, with having great reservations about doing it. If I was to rate him during the dying days of WCW, I would have ranked him much lower, as I would have everyone involved, but since then, Sting has showed a lot of maturity in his game.

5) Interviews- 5/10
I'm not really a fan of Sting's mic work. Being in main event programs and being a main star, we are so used to hearing certain people speak, but rarely do we really listen to what they are saying. Sting rarely has anything witty or original going on in his promos; I often hear him meandering around basic topics, such as revenge, or titles, or whatever. The fire he has when in front of the fans performing is never shown during his interview time.

6) Character- 7/10
Sting has went from a California beach boy who liked to fight around, to a hero for the fans of wrestling, fighting any evil athlete who came his way, to a "Crow" like character, bent on revenge, to now the aging legend, looking for one last run at glory, and he's pulled it all off while wearing face paint. To have the longevity Sting has had, you need to be able to adapt and change and he certainly hasn't done it in the ring, so he has in character. And while I wouldn't say is exactly with the times, I would say he still brings a certain merit and credibility and wisdom to his style. Sting has been a perennial face, which never being a heel costs him some points, but not enough to overshadow his innovative accomplishments.

7) Fans- 10/10
Probably his strongest category. Sting has had an overwhelming popularity with wrestling fans since his early days in the NWA. He has always seemed to be dedicated to them, even though he has had a few lazy periods in his career. The fire he had and charisma with the people was one of the things that drew a wrestling fan into his work. Sting also remained loyal to his fan base; he didn't jump ship to McMahon just for the money and even if you don't like Sting or his work, I think you have to respect that.

8) Basics- 6/10
Haven't seen a lot of evidence of Sting's awareness of the building blocks of wrestling, but he can throw a mean strike. Once in a while, he pull out some knowledge; an armdrag sequence, a few rest holds, but his transitions are pretty weak and have degraded as he's gotten older. But, he definitely knows enough and what he knows looks good enough to pass in a match.

9) Matches/ Feuds- 10/10
Being the flagbearer for a whole promotion, like Sting was for so long, you get to face the top talent that comes through and Sting has battled against every top name that ventured through the doors of WCW. His feuds with Rick Rude and Vader were among his best, both story and in ring, wise. He also worked programs with all of the various super heel groups that dominated WCW during it's time, such as The Four Horsemen, The Dangerous Alliance, and the New World Order. He's also had long running feuds with the Great Muta and Ric Flair, both the likes of which made him a star in this business.

10) Gutcheck- 10/10
Again, reviewing the Stinger in this day and age, I give him a 10, whereas a few years ago, maybe not. Sting had a publicized drug problem, he had periods where he didn't care about his work, and probably even for himself, but like I said earlier, staying loyal to WCW and being the person that carried them through so many unprofitable years counts for something. I'm sure there were times when Sting had offers to join WWF for a lot more money than he made in WCW, but he stayed and carried the banner for the promotion. And for the most part, tried to make something of his matches, I would say, not phoning in every night like some past stars have been known to do. He made several tours of Japan, to make more big money and to hone his craft with the tough guys of wrestling. And now, in his late 40's, he came back to TNA, not because he is poor because I'm sure he's set for the rest of his life, but because it seems to me like he genuinely cares. His in ring has been substandard, barring his title match with Jarrett, but maybe now he'll pick up the ball and run with it like he did for so many years.

Final Score: 82
Ranking: Legend
PO: Thumbs Middle


BloodyChamp said...

I pretty much agree. I'm so glad Sting has became more appreciated since he's popped back up. He got trashed for a long time, undeservedly. It's ironic that Flair pegged Sting for not reaching his potential since Flair held him down, as far as in righ work. Now I know Flair put Sting over huge in every way possible, but as far as in ring work, Flair slowed him up a little. Sting was doing planchas and suicide dives as far back as 1987, but once he got in there with Flair he got caught up in the by the numbers routine....your hip toss, clothesline, dropkick etc.

Jessie said...

thanks for the comment....sting definitley left a legacy...even if it largely resides in sporting a rat tail, as me and fellow reviwer brian did in the mid 80's....but seriously, a motivated sting is a major player...and an unmotivated sting is well payed