06th Oct2014

‘WWE: The Best of Sting’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

BO-STING-BD-2D

It’s been quite a while since I’ve personally reviewed a WWE Home Video release – we have some great guys here on Nerdly that are more knowledgeable and are certainly bigger fans of wrestling than I. But when said home video release involves one of my all-time favourite wrestlers, Sting, there was no way I wasn’t checking this out for myself.

WWE: The Best of Sting encompasses the entirety of Sting’s career from his body-building beginnings to his debut as one half of The Freedom Fighters (later renamed Blade Runners), alongside my other all-time favourite wrestler, Jim Hellwig aka Ultimate Warrior, to his early WCW days, to the enigmatic, Crow-inspired, black and white face-painted, icon of wrestling he is today. This retrospective encompasses it all. From his Blade-Runners debut to his last WCW match vs. Ric Flair on the very last episode of WCW Monday Nitro (3/26/01).

It also features over two-dozen wrestling matches from throughout Sting’s career; a career that spans almost 30 years and six wrestling promotions. This Blu-ray release includes a combination of well-known memorable matches, as well as some fairly obscure matches – including encounters with Vader, Cactus Jack, Hulk Hogan and a certain Ric Flair – a man who has faced Sting on many occasions, from the early 80s to the closing episode of WCW Monday Nitro (the only time Sting has wrestled, so far, for the WWE) on March 26th 2001.

Like a lot of WWE’s home video output, there’s a distinct focus on matches rather than telling the story of Sting; and whilst many will say matches often do tell the story, I can’t help but wish we had at least a little more background into each featured match – without prior knowledge, or memory, of the era or the promotion in which the featured wrestling matches take place I couldn’t help but feel a little disconnected from what was occurring on screen. One thing is for certain though, even without knowing anything about any of the matches featured you can certainly see the skill Sting brought to every match, even early in his career.

Of the early matches, the highlights here in WWE: The Best of Sting include the NWA World Heavyweight Championship match; a match that sees Sting, even as early as 1988 (only three years after his debut), out class the legendary wrestling icon Ric Flair, showing the type of skills and strength that would mark Sting out from his wrestling brethren throughout the years. Then there’s their rematch in 1990 at The Great American Bash, which ups the ante on the rivalry between the two ten-fold and proves to be one of THE highlights of this Blu-ray release. Other highlights include Sting vs. Stunning Steve Austin (WCW Pro Wrestling, January 8, 1994), Sting & The Great Muta vs. The Steiner Brothers (WCW/New Japan Supershow II, January 4 1992), the AWESOME match featuring Sting vs. Kevin Nash (WCW Nitro, April 6, 1998), and Sting & The Warrior vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart & Hollywood Hogan (WCW Nitro, October 12, 1998).

As is usual for WWE releases, the Blu-ray version includes a myriad of bonus vignettes, promos and matches, including more matches involving Ric Flair/The Four Horsemen, Vader, Lex Luger and Hulk Hogan. Plus there’s the more of the infamous Sting & RoboCop partnership – this time in a promo for WCW’s Capital Combat 1990; and Sting’s Final Promo in WCW from 2001.

Disappointingly the only interview footage with Sting comes from archival material from 1995 and 1998. Given that Sting reportedly signed a “legends” contract with the WWE in April 2014 it’s a shame that there’s not more newly-shot footage of Sting discussing his career. As it stands now, WWE: The Best of Sting is a great selection of matches (although these are mostly from TV tapings, not PPV’s) that showcase some of Sting’s greatest moments. It’s good but with a little more chat from Sting and a little more insight into his mindset and philosophies this release would have been a must-buy.

WWE: The Best of Sting is released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 13th, courtesy of FremantleMedia.

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