Sunday, March 04, 2007

March Matchups: Sting vs. The Ultimate Warrior

"Ladies and Gentleman! This bout is an Iron Man match! The contest is scheduled for 60 minutes. At the end of that duration the man with the most pinfalls, submissions or wins by count out and/or disqualification, will be declared the winner..." To my left from Venice Beach, California, weighing in at 255 pounds....this is...Sting!!! To my right, from "parts unknown," weighing in at 275 pounds, the former World Wrestling Federation Champion...The Ultimate Warrior!!
Sting vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Welcome to the fourth match in our special series, "March Matchups." This time it's a contest between two former tag team partners - who were once known as The Blade Runners, Sting and Rock - and worked for the old Mid-South promotion based in Shreveport, Louisiana which later became known as the U.W.F. (Universal Wrestling Federation). The two were only a team for a short time in 1985-86, but later both men went on to great prominence in the world of professional wrestling.
The Ultimate Warrior, like Dr. Strangelove, went a little funny, you know, a little funny. Hey rent the movie if you don't get the joke, it's a classic. Anyway, Jim"The Ultimate Warrior"Hellwig does not have all his buttons. The knock on The Ultimate Warrior is that if you can hang with him for more than 15 minutes, you got him beat. So Mr. Hellwig requested this be an "Iron Man" match. Sting, of course, not to be confused with the "King of Pain," obliged his former tag partner.
Although they were considered to be good as a team, and separately, many viewed The Blade Runners as ripoffs of another tag team that painted their faces, The Road Warriors(Hawk & Animal). Rock went on to wrestle for the World Class wrestling promotion as The Dingo Warrior (a heel). where he feuded with the legendary Von Erichs, before venturing on to the World Wrestling Federation in 1987. He was a two-time W.W.F. Intercontinental Champion beating the Honky Tonk Man in 32 seconds and then later regaining the belt from Rick Rude.
The pinnacle in his career, however, was when The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI to win the W.W.F. Championship. That match was unique for the W.W.F. back then. For one it featured two "baby faces" or good guys fighting each other. In addition, both the World and Intercontinental titles were on the line. Warrior was supposed to be the guy to carry the torch for the retiring Hogan, but was just never able to do it.
The Ultimate Warrior has had an interesting career. Rumors of his demise are definitely not true. In fact, and ridiculously so, many of those rumors were fueled after he was put in a casket by The Undertaker. Hey, it was part of a story line! Warrior is still alive and has sued the W.W.F. (now called the W.W.E.) on multiple occasions. Apparently, Warrior was incredibly difficult to work with, and often times did really hurt his opponents because of his careless nature.
Steve"Sting"Borden on the other hand is an entirely different story. After The Blade Runners broke up and the U.W.F. was absorbed by the National Wrestling Alliance (N.W.A.), Sting immediately went after World Champion Ric Flair, but was unable to beat him for the belt at that time.
Overall, he's been a nine-time World Champ(N.W.A./W.C.W.) but has never wrestled for the W.W.E. Sting is probably the most popular wrestler around that has never worked for Vince McMahon. The Stinger basically has cited personal reasons, most likely the immense amount of travel that the W.W.E. does around the world throughout the year.
When McMahon bought out the W.C.W., Sting sat out for over a year in order for his contract to expire so he did not have to work for McMahon. Eventually he showed up in the upstart Total Nonstop Action (T.N.A.) where he captured the N.W.A. World title. This is a bit confusing but I think I have made sense of it. The World title which has lineage back to at least the 1950s is defended in the W.W.E. and is currently held by Batista. That belt - the gold belt - went from being the N.W.A. to W.C.W. World title. When the W.W.E. took over W.C.W., it had two world titles, the W.W.E. World Title and the World Championship. One would be defended on Monday Night Raw the other on Smackdown. The N.W.A. title was restarted in T.N.A., but does not have the direct lineage all the way back. Got it? Well, at least that makes one of us.
Anyway, Sting's finishing moves are the "Stinger Splash" and the "Scorpion Death Lock." What are they? Sting throws a guy into the corner and leaps through the air onto the guy. The scorpion death lock is when he basically pretzels the other guy's legs with his own, presumably he hurts the other guy more than himself. The Ultimate Warrior uses the "Gorilla Press" in which he lift his opponent high over his head before unceremoniously dropping him and finishing with a splash.
Both guys had awesome ring entrances. The Ultimate Warrior would run down the aisle and then would shake the ring ropes like a maniac to a rock song that I have no idea what it is. Although it does sound a lot like Led Zeppelin's Communication Breakdown. Meanwhile, Sting has been known to enter the ring by "flying" down from the rafters on a pulley. But that ended after the untimely death of Owen Hart, when he tried to enter the ring area the same way. Tragically, one of the pulleys malfunctioned causing Hart to fall into the ring and snapping his neck. Since then Sting usually enters from a spot in the arena that according to the script no one knows where he is going to come from. He is then shown to be walking through the crowd.
Sting and The Ultimate Warrior were great performers. Sting has always tried to stay out of the limelight, despite being so popular. I never hear anything about his life outside the "squared circle." Warrior has obviously been very controversial.
After 60 minutes, Sting holds the edge over The Ultimate Warrior 3-2. Therefore, I declare the winner of the "Iron Man" match to be...Sting!!
Stay Onsides!

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