Sting drops from the rafters to your video game console of choice
I don’t play video games, so I can’t get all worked up over pre-order exclusive characters, whatever such things may be. (Being facetious — I think I can muddle through what they are.) But the above promo, announcing Sting as a playable character in the WWE’s next wrestling game, 2K15, is a fine bit of production, a true spine-tingler for men of a certain age.
There isn’t enough room or time to go into the chapter and verse on the Stinger, aka Steve Borden, one of the brightest stars in the history of professional wrestling. Let this be the Cliff Notes: His character was that of a day-glo neon surfer dude before he re-invented himself in mid- to late-1990s WCW as a blatant ripoff of everyone’s favorite goth superhero, the Crow. He started dressing in a black trench coat, wearing black and white face paint, and somehow managed to have one of the hottest runs the industry has ever seen despite not wrestling a match or saying a word for over a year. All he had to do was show up and swing a baseball bat at bad guys to close most episodes of WCW’s Monday Nitro, dispensing sweet vigilante justice, and fans went wild. I was one of those fans, watching episodes with my college roommates as we gorged like cavemen on chicken wings and pizza. Just check out the compilation at the bottom of this post to see how insane those crowds were back then, perfect illustrations of the old “blow the roof off the joint” descriptor.
The big deal about the above promo is that Sting, for a variety of reasons, is the only modern star of any consequence to never set foot in a WWF/WWE ring. Since Vince McMahon acquired WCW back in 2001, he’s spent most of his time toiling in the Siberian wilderness known as TNA, a wan replacement for NWA/WCW, the other half of the old bi-polar wrestling order. Rumors have been rampant in recent months that Sting would finally have a run “up north,” as the old-timers say about the Stamford, CT based WWE. Many surely hope that the exclusive game character hooey is a foot in the door for just such a thing. The crowd certainly went a little bit nuts when that promo made its debut last night on Raw. (Cheers which quickly turned to boos when it was realized that Sting wasn’t actually going to show up live and in person. Ah, the fickle favor of mob mentality.)
Even though the make-up is no longer thick enough to cover up the aging Stinger’s wrinkles, that pilfered Crow gimmick was one hell of a ride back in 1997. It really was like a comic book character come to life. Maybe he can tap a little of that magic one more time, on the biggest stage of all.