Background: After a year and a half searching for a hero, World Championship Wrestling found itself stuck on the verge of unadulterated defeat at the hands of the Hulk Hogan-led New World Order. But during that time, a Crow-like Sting continuously made his presence known while attacking New World Order members with his trademark black baseball bat. Hulk Hogan had no choice but to defend his title against Sting with the recently debuting Bret “Hitman” Hart acting as the match’s guest enforcer to give us a definitive victor.
December 28, 1997
Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Sting
The champion tried to get the head of his challenger by shoving and throwing his bandana in Sting’s face as the bell sounded. Hogan seemed a little too distracted by the Sting-supporting fans chanting, “Hogan sucks!”
It became obvious Hogan had the power advantage early and had no qualms of cheating by raking the eyes of Sting to gain an advantage. Avoiding the elbow drop, Sting exploded with a dropkick that brought the crowd to its feet. Hogan took his time to regroup, only to be dropkicked not once, but twice more. The front row fans argued with the fleeing champion. Vice-like side headlock by Sting brought Hogan to his knees. Ducking a clothesline didn’t help Sting when the champ pushed him into the ropes as he turned around to feel Hulk’s second attempt at the maneuver. Sting fired back after rallying to his feet, but the simple, illegal eye poke put him on the canvas again. Taking Sting’s baseball bat, Hogan whacked his challenger in the back. The referee refused to let the match end like this, giving Sting a chance to recover and reverse an Irish whip into the guardrails. The challenger was looking for the Stinger Splash, but Hogan moved at the last second so his challenger collided chest first with the steel.
Hogan kept the pace slow, grounding Sting with chokes and his famous big boot. Hogan signaled for the end, dropping the Big Leg … for the three count!
Wait, Bret “Hitman” Hart came out and stopped the bell from sounding. Why? Because Bret claimed it was a fast count. Oh, here we go. The referee confronted Hart, telling him it was a three count. Hart said it was a fast count. When the referee argued with Hart, Hogan took his leave with the belt. Big right hand from “Hitman” to the ref. Hart entered the ring to become the official referee. Sting was on fire as Hart restarted the match. Sting, with the help of Bret Hart, helped clear the ring of NWO members Buff Bagwell and Scott Norton. Two Stinger Splashes on Hogan left the champion prone to the Scorpion Deathlock. Hart got in Hogan’s face as Hulk admitted he couldn’t take anymore. Sting wins!
Winner: Sting (10:03)
Is It A Classic: With the year-plus build, there was no way this match could live up to the hype the fans gave Sting-Hogan. But that ending didn’t help matters at all. Everyone now knows the referee messed up the count and an injustice wasn’t rectified as planned. Rather, the bad guy got robbed and the hero looked like a fluke winner. The match, while not spectacular, has been and still is looked upon worse than what it turned out to be thanks to that horrible ending. Enjoy the build, skip the match.