Douces Wild: Sting/Triple H: (Hopefully) The End of An Era & A Sad Resolution (WWE Wrestlemania 31, WCW, Monday Night Wars)

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Hello, Inside Pulse, I’m back after being away for two weeks. The reason for my absence was for a death in the family and it really stunted my mind in writing about wrestling. However, I have been able to recover and now here I present a column that is two weeks late but hopefully will show where I am at on this particular subject. Plus…..expect this to be long……I apologize.

As we all know, the Monday Night Wars was one of the most lucrative and intense times in professional wrestling history. We had one company, whose sole mission was to take out the other company, and the other company firing back. During that time, we, the fans, were privy to some of the greatest characters and moments in wrestling history: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mr. McMahon, NWO, The Rock, D-X, Goldberg, The Montreal Screwjob, Lex Luger jumping to Nitro, Chris Jericho jumping to the WWF, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Kane……etc. In 2001, the WWE finally bought WCW and with it, they bought their very extensive library. With the library in stock, the WWE has been producing numerous WCW DVD collections over the past decade, mostly focusing on the mid-90s. There have been numerous NWO DVDs, a Goldberg DVD, a Sting DVD, multiple Best of Nitro DVDs……most of them focused on the Monday Night War era. The WWE has done the same thing by releasing multiple D-X DVDS, multiple Stone Cold and Rock DVDS, multiple Attitude Era DVDs, and a ton of their top moments and lists in history mostly revolve around that time period. So as we can see, the WWE has benefitted big time from the Monday Night War era and I give them all the credit in the world for that….but I am just so done with it all!!

I’ll have to end up blaming Triple H/Sting for doing this to me and making me realize that I’m just so sick and tired of this time period getting shoved down our throats every chance they get. The WWE takes great pleasure in reviling in a time period that damn near killed the company, was responsible for killing the wrestling business as it once was and for the wrestlers who went against all kinds of wrestling etiquette to get what they want. This is a time to remember, yes, but one that will never come back (no matter what anyone says)……but there was a lot of damage done to the wrestling business during this time (injuries, death, losing money, lawsuits, restrictions), which is something you don’t hear about because the company won’t shut up about how successful it was. It’s a great story though: you have this young, hotshot head guy of WCW in Eric Bischoff who believes he can do one thing: kill the competition. He takes his best shots and he has the WWF down and out on the ground but the WWF rallies back and makes the comeback…..eventually winning the feud itself. Since that timeframe, Vince has had a little bit of a bitter spot towards WCW. Sure, he’ll hire former WCW workers……he even hugged Eric Bischoff on national TV!!……and he’ll pay respects to the company……but in the end, the WWE is superior in every way.

Which, of course, brings me to Triple H vs Sting. First of all, I’m pretty sure that no one, outside of Triple H himself, wanted to see this match. Everybody wanted to see Sting vs the Undertaker or I wouldn’t mind seeing old surfer Sting vs The Rock…..hell Sting vs John Cena is more interesting since they are both the same kind of characters when Sting was in his surfer phase! However, Triple H’s name never came up……just like we always wanted to see Goldberg vs Austin or Austin vs Hogan……yet Triple H and The Rock faced both of those guys and Austin did not. The feud was basically Triple H telling Sting that while Sting was loyal to WCW, Triple H was one of the guys who put the company out of business. If Sting left him alone, Triple H would continue Sting’s legacy and everything would be fine. Of course, that didn’t happen and Sting began labeling himself as a vigilante, a face of retribution and a silencer of injustice. Obviously, we believe he’s talking about Triple H ending WCW and defeating all of Sting’s WCW buddies and how Triple H is now the future owner and Sting can take him out before he gets to the top. So, was Sting here to fight for WCW’s legacy and to preserve it??

Well…………………no.

Sting was there to just take down Triple H……that’s it. He couldn’t fight for WCW because it would be ridiculous…….well, yea, but what other motive would you have? Sting was now just some WCW guy who has come into the WWE to start some shit……that’s it. Plus…..doesn’t that sound a little heelish? Almost as if Triple H is being made into the hero of the program and Sting is the villain. What did Triple H do to Sting personally? Absolutely nothing. Besides, if Sting REALLY wanted to target somebody because of the WWE killing WCW……he should have gone after Austin or Rock or hell…..TAKER!! Triple H was a foot soldier in the grand scheme of things with the death of WCW. Sure he helped formed D-X but D-X originally started off as a way to get Shawn Michaels over as a heel. Everybody viewed Triple H as Shawn Michaels’ lapdog……nothing more. The night the new version of D-X debuted, it was X-Pac, not Triple H the leader, who left the biggest impression on that night. Sure, Triple H was the leader of the pack but he didn’t stand out……especially not in the way of how The Rock stood out as the leader of the Nation when, before, he was just a foot soldier. I’m not hating on Triple H but let’s be honest: Triple H has not been this great, top drawing guy that the WWE has told us he is……D-X was popular but their hottest points were only up to 1998……they were still over in 1999 but the group was breaking up and their peak level was gone. Plus, D-X was able to survive without Triple H in 1998……that says something about their drawing power but it also says something about Triple H not being as important as the WWE makes him out to be.

Where was Triple H during the Invasion angle? Well, he was at home recovering from his torn quad. However, once he returned, Triple H became the WWE’s slayer of WCW. Name them all: Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Goldberg, Booker T, Ric, Flair, Scott Steiner, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and now Sting. Most of the top guys who were champions by the time WCW was killed off, Triple H had beaten them all (ok…..except for Jeff Jarrett and Vince Russo but COME ON!!). The Rock may have beaten Hulk Hogan but there was a reason for it……it was a passing of the torch, it was the old guard signing off to the new blood. Now…..in Triple H’s defense, he did lose his PPV match to Hulk Hogan and he beat Hogan on Smackdown in a random match so I wouldn’t harp so much on Hogan. However, the other guys (Steiner, Nash, Booker, Goldberg), they didn’t fare too well against the King of Kings. Sure, Steiner and Nash were horrible on their own but I don’t think the booking nor did Triple H help them out too much, Booker T got hosed because of a stupid storyline that should have guaranteed a win (otherwise, it would have pissed the fans off) and Goldberg won the World Title…….at a throwaway PPV instead of winning it at SUMMERSLAM…..which is where he should have won the title. Now, here we are with Sting and once again, WWE’s champion against WCW was called up to face the Stinger in a match that not a lot of people were excited to see.

Going into this match, I was curious……not excited or angry but curious. Sting’s entrance was pretty weak……I thought the drums, while cool, didn’t fit with Sting and the daylight kind of killed his entrance (they should have done something along the lines of Taker at Wrestlemania IX…..who still managed to have a creepy entrance in the daylight). Triple H’s Terminator entrance was……goofy and stupid. But what struck me was how odd it was that Arnold Schwarzenegger gave Triple H his blessing in the video and Triple H got a very bombastic entrance. Now, technically, Triple H is the heel and Sting is the face. However, it seems like the storyline is more along the lines of Triple H is the face and Sting is the evil invader from another company…..hence the entrance. Sting looked VERY good for his age…..he got into great shape for this one. The first 7 minutes were fine with the highlights being Sting landing a nice dropkick and both men developing big bruises throughout the match. Sting looked solid in there (although, I must admit, I could not take my eyes away from his bald spot) and Triple H looked fine…….they both looked like two part-timers putting on a match.

Then D-X’s music hit and what was the first thing I did? You really wanna know??? I ROLLED MY EYES!!! I’ve been watching since early 2000 so I was not a big watcher during the peak years of the Attitude Era (I have since caught up on all of that) but I knew who D-X was. However, seeing Billy Gunn (who just looked BAD), Road Dogg and X-Pac run out there to attack Sting just made me shake my head. Sting’s dive off the top was great to see but then we had the second eye rolling moment occur: the NWO. Now, it made all the sense in the world: we were finally getting the big NWO/D-X battle that we never got to have during the Invasion. I had several problems with this, though. First off…….half of the guys in the match were celebrating Nash’s Hall of Fame induction so it kind of surprises me that Nash and X-Pac are buddy-buddy the night before and 24 hours later, these two are beating the crap out of each other. Second of all…….WHY IS THIS HAPPENING??? In 2001, a D-X vs NWO feud would have been HUGE!! Maybe not as huge as it would have been in, say, 1998 but still, huge. This is 2015, this is just nostalgia for the sake of nostalgia. It’s not real (you know what I mean), it’s just these guys going out there, hogging the spotlight and reminding people of better times and when they were relevant in the past. This was on par with the Iron Sheik and Sgt. Slaughter still having problems with each other at Wrestlemania 17 in the Gimmick Battle Royal!

Plus, we have countless DVDs, the Network has a Monday Night War series running, we know that Nash is good buddies with Triple H and HBK…..so what is the purpose of all of this? Now we could make the excuse that the WWE realized that this should just turn into a nostalgic clusterfuck and I’d be ok with that……but the feud before it was very personal and very heated. You had Stephanie McMahon disrespect Sting to his face about his legacy and calling him a minnow in an ocean…..now we have the wacky battle of the NWO vs D-X and for what? To see who was better? To see who was the better faction? To see which company is better? Nope…..just nostalgia. Nostalgia is a great thing to have. When Kevin Nash came out as Diesel in the 2011 Royal Rumble, it was a great moment. When Jake Roberts came out and unleashed Damien on Dean Ambrose when he came back and was healthier, that was a great moment. When Scott Hall showed up on RAW with the Kliq a few weeks prior to Wrestlemania 31, which was a great moment to see how healthier and happier he looked (which is another problem, we just had a Kliq reunion on RAW weeks prior to this show and all of a sudden, Hall and Nash are fighting with the NWO?). Plus, wasn’t Sting the NWO’s biggest rival for a long time (remember that year long buildup to Sting vs Hogan?)?

I mean, are they uniting against the WWE? For what purpose? To make my point clear as day, here it is: it was just EMPTY NOSTALGIA!! Nostalgia for the sake of nostalgia. The only part of that match that I truly felt intrigued by was HBK super kicking Sting because, Sting and Michaels have no ties at all, both were very loyal to their companies (shit, Sting vs Michaels would have made more sense than Triple H vs Sting) and I thought it was a great moment (and, no bullshit, I thought Flair was gonna run out…..not Goldberg but Flair, just to keep this whole buddy-buddy thing going on). The ending of the match saw Triple H hit Sting with the sledgehammer and win the match, thus being the hero and savior for the WWE against the invader, the last of a dying breed. Triple H offers his hand…..maybe out of respect but I believe there is more to it than just that. Triple H offers his hand to Sting out of confidence and dominance……WWE won and the victor wants his hand shaken by the loser. With a slew of Kliq members surrounding him, Sting shook Triple H’s hand and thus the big war between D-X vs the NWO was ended and everybody was happy.

To quote what a great man known as the Iron Sheik once said: FACKIN BULLSHIT!!!!

I’m done with 90s nostalgia. I’m tired of D-X because they aren’t cool or controversial anymore. I’m tired of the NWO because it’s three old guys who hardly wrestle anymore and are just there on name value alone. Sting has been wasted in the WWE. HBK needs to go back to the woods and stay (and I’m a big Shawn fan). And Triple H just needs to focus on running the company…..his work as WWE’s hero is done. At the end of the day, this match just felt wrong. I know people can be blinded by the pomp and circumstance of it all because you can finally see D-X get in the ring with the NWO (which is a pretty lopsided fight anyway because you Hogan, Hall and Nash against Billy Gunn, Road Dogg and X-Pac……see my point?). However, I wanted more than that. I desperately wanted more than that. If the match had been built up as nothing more than empty nostalgia, I’d be kinder to it. And if we didn’t just run a Kliq reunion on RAW weeks earlier, I’d be fine with this. If Kevin Nash wasn’t inducted into the Hall of Fame the night before and have Triple H and Shawn Michaels, his supposed enemies in this big fight, be all buddy-buddy with him, I’d be fine with this. Quite frankly, we were reminded that 5 of the guys in the match were some of the biggest politicians in wrestling history and while they made the business (and themselves) a lot of money, they killed off a lot of things of what made the business so good back in the day. You have three followers in Gunn, Dogg and Pac who are just happy to be along for the ride.

Then…..there’s Sting. The man who never left his dying company. The man who was loyal to his company. He never politicked his way into the main event and to get title shots. He never stabbed anyone in the back. He was never a dick backstage. He didn’t marry anyone’s daughter. He didn’t make himself look better than everybody. He was never lazy and always worked hard. The man who was very reluctant to come to the WWE in the first place because of the very thing that we saw happen at WM 31. Now, he’s a hypocrite. He allowed this to happen. His legacy, not destroyed, but effected. People will remember this. Sting’s first big match in a WWE ring is a losing effort and he’s overshadowed by the Kliq and Hogan. Instead of fighting for the company he loved, he fought for selfish reasons. And he was defeated. The story should be over. He is no hero. Vince McMahon said it himself: the WWE made Sting relevant again by bringing him in and getting him to lose to Triple H. The WWE won the Monday Night Wars. The NWO is being paid handsomely by the WWE to continue to piss on WCW. Now, they got Sting….and he’s doing the same. At the end of the day, Sting’s career will be less celebrated by the WWE than D-X and the NWO (Sting has 1 DVD to like 10 D-X & NWO DVDs or something). Now, Sting’s career has been tarnished……and damaged.

No matter if we get Sting/Taker at WM 32…..I don’t care about it at this point. I don’t care about these 90s stars anymore. They had their time……now it should be over. How can we move forward if we don’t stop bringing up the past? Think about it.

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