Sports site The Players’ Tribune did a great feature on Sting, and allowed the wrestler to get into his career in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. The entire column is written by Sting himself, and goes through an overview of where he’s been and where his head currently is at. He’s also not shy about opening up about his own personal failures, in this piece:
Sting: “I had money. I had fame. I had power. I had an amazing family waiting for me at home. I had every earthly thing you could ever want. And you know what? I was completely and utterly miserable. I was spiritually empty. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I was an addict. The only time I was sober was when I was doing my job. The other 20-some hours of the day, it was a steady diet of painkillers, muscle relaxers and booze. A never-ending cycle. It was only a matter of time before I was dead. I knew it. But the physical and mental addiction to the opioids was so intense at that point that stopping was unthinkable.”
It’s an incredible article, and Sting does a great job really telling his story and selling the idea of how close he was at times from quitting before he even started just for something to push him forward. The stories about being so poor that he was forced to steal bites of a supermarket rotisserie chicken alongside his tag team partner Jim Hellwig (Ultimate Warrior) are enough to probably fill their own book, which I know he’s done one but never picked it up. When you see Sting describe hitting his lowest lows during the height of the Monday Night War, it puts a lot of things into perspective regarding his transformation into the silent Crow character. Even though Eric Bischoff has come out and cleared up some of the discussion around Starrcade 1997 having difficulties due to Sting’s personal issues, I still wonder if he’s just being nice as Sting’s completely turned his life around with sobriety since then. Making jokes about him not being tan enough are fine, I guess, as long as you keep away from the discussion about what actually was happening. One of these days, I wonder if Sting will ever open up about that particular point in his life as well.
Read the piece and be happy for where he is in All Elite Wrestling. He deserves all the praise heaped upon him, and its fantastic to read him describe what its like to be involved as heavily as he is still at age 62.
Last month, I brought up that Buff Bagwell was online trying to hype up an eventual “Deathmatch with Death Daddy” as a way to revitalize his career doing something new. He even made a quick stop at Horror Slam in Michigan to hit Chuck Stein with a stack of light tubes while hobbling around on a pair of crutches. Thanks to the good grace of the Universe’s will, a few days after this appearance, Buff announced that he was moving in with Diamond Dallas Page to start a new project they’re all calling Change or Die. Yeesh!
Good on Buff for jumping over to the “Accountability Crib” and diving headfirst into social media as a way to connect with fans again. His Twitter feed is a little too active with posts throughout the day that are very much not-Buff like, but then again, there are some proof-of-life tweets that doesn’t seem so
fake, err… predetermined. Photos of Buff hanging out, watching AEW with DDP’s crew, and tweets to Big Vito complaining about how Hobbs is selling too much on Dark to a smaller guy ring true. I’m sure that all the messages about #bussy and “no cap” are from Page’s social media DDPY team, but there’s some real good things happening there for Buff Bagwell in between all of the clout-chasing.
Hope it all goes well and Bagwell’s recovery is successful.
There will be more coming out of this soon as Diamond Dallas Page and his team are taping everything as well. Funnily enough, retired boxer Butterbean was revealed to also be a part of the Change or Die project, so I’d imagine that we will be seeing some more regarding where he’s at currently with his health sometime soon as well.
The man who shit-talked Triple H, threatened to kill Hulk Hogan and was even banned from even stepping foot into the 2015 Hall of Fame ceremony is a part of this year’s class. Holla if you hear him, the Big Bad Booty Daddy is gonna be on live WWE television.
Scott and Rick Steiner are getting their long-awaited dues as the Steiner Brothers will be inducted together for their tag-team accolades. The list is extremely short of teams that can even come close to sniffing around their Godly tier that aren’t already in the WWE Hall of Fame. The Steiners have had success in Japan, WCW, WWF, TNA/Impact together. On their own, they’ve held multiple singles championships as well. Even though they’ve seemingly been persona non grata for years now in the WWE world, they still make appearances for signings and get inducted into every other professional wrestling hall of fame out there. Its always sucked that the WWE is so insanely petty and overly interested in rewriting their own history that the Steiners are a team that just haven’t got much spotlight on them for newer fans on documentaries, merch or the video games. They’re both outspoken and been part of lawsuits against the company, which means that you’ll just end up blacklisted for all times going forward.
I think the last and only time in recent history of them being mentioned was for the WWE Network special, The 50 Greatest Tag Teams. They ended up getting ranked at #17, bested by the likes of The Rock ‘N’ Sock Connection, Edge & Christian and The Dudley Boyz.
Big Van Vader getting inducted is bittersweet as it was something he heavily pushed for while he was alive. His whole routine when introducing Stan Hansen at the 2016 ceremony was a bright moment for him where you could tell Vader was a pro at hamming things up for everyone to enjoy. Him on that stage in front of his peers is great to revisit since you can see the guy just beaming. It would’ve been nice to have been able to see this again while he recounted his career in a more in-depth fashion, but his passing in 2018 makes it one of those numerous What-If? moments.
Vader is also one of the most deserving, even though he and the Steiners are similar to where their history with the WWF wasn’t the highest peaks of their careers. Still, hard to look at him and not think PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING.
He is as legit as they come. Just wish he was around to tell you the same.
Queen Sharmell is a surprising choice that sadly riled up the worst kind of people online who felt like her inclusion wasn’t warranted. Starting off as Nitro Girl Storm in WCW, she eventually moved over as a valet alongside The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea as Paisley. Overall, she did a little over a dozen matches in WCW, which is INSANE to me to see now as I had no idea she was so heavily involved beyond a few mixed tags. I think her infamous match in TNA against Jenna Morasca from Survivor is a train wreck that she will never shake, but her role as Queen Sharmell will be what most fans will remember her for. Even as that character, she managed a few mixed tags as well with her husband Booker T., an era that I’m not really familiar with at all, to be honest.
I’m a bit mixed on how I feel about the WWE Hall of Fame personally, but I think I’ve settled down to the point where if the people involved really feel honored by it, then its worthwhile. There are some incredible omissions to the Hall of Fame that are still yet to be named, but that shouldn’t take away from any one going in beforehand. I don’t get their selection process considering a star like Cyndi Lauper still isn’t in. Lauper directly was responsible for influencing the WWF’s spot in 80’s pop culture through her videos on MTV. Her involvement to the initial WrestleMania can’t be downplayed either for what it did for wrestling altogether, but she’s just gets overlooked in favor for someone like Kid Rock.
I just don’t get it.
Also, some guy named Mean Mark will also be getting inducted, so we’re doing a full WCW Class this year as far as I’m concerned. Next year, let’s hope for Sid, another Nitro Girl (Chae or Spice, please) and then maybe a 100% healthy Buff Daddy.
A wrestling toy collector shared with me on Twitter a crazy deal that they got in. FigureNation showed off their original sketches of the WCW S.L.A.M. Force (Secret Legion Against Monsters!) figures from Toy Biz. I’d seen the Sting one up-close from the original artist who wanted something ridiculous for it on eBay a few years back, but this batch showed off the designs for an unreleased Hollywood Hogan figure:
I don’t know if this Hogan end up getting replaced by Bret Hart, Kevin Nash or Chris Benoit in the project’s design, but its cool to see. Eventually, only four figures would be released as Benoit would end up in the WWF before his figure hit store shelves. The proposed comic line never materialized either, but the one pack-in comic was scanned for the site a while back alongside photos of the Sting figure with Stinger missiles and majestic red cape!
As a bonus, the seller also had the original sketch from the rare Bash at the Beach Toy Biz WCW Goldberg figure too.
It’s like Bill Goldberg getting cast in Ghostbusters II. I like it!
J.J. Maguire passed away earlier this month on the 11th at his home. For those who aren’t aware of the name, he was one of the people responsible for some of the best wrestling theme songs in the WWF/WCW AND was a part of Hulk Hogan’s Wrestling Boot Band. Maguire and Jimmy Hart worked together for Shawn Michael’s “Sexy Boy”, Owen Hart’s “High Energy” and, more importantly, Hulk Hogan de facto entrance theme “American Made”.
It’s not a competition, but Jim Johnston could NEVER pull this off:
Jimmy Hart and Maguire were friends together in their lives pre-wrestling as members of The Gentrys, but his musical contributions to the Golden Era WWF themes are so classic. It was actually surprised to see how all of the themes I’d put on my list of favorites from that time were all him and Hart. His death was reported by one of his close friends online and co-writer of Maguire’s memoir. Never knew this book existed beforehand but kinda interested in picking it up due to his life around both major wrestling companies in the 80’s and 90’s.
I’m sure he’s been a fly-on-the-wall for a lot of craziness, wondering if those stories get told in My Life in Heaven Town.
JJ Maguire was 68, and his obituary can be found online here.
March’s biggest WCW-related news item is the sudden passing of Scott Hall on the 14th. Over the years, Hall has been a deeply polarizing figure outside the ring due to his addiction issues with drugs and alcohol. There was a time where he’d make appearances at independent shows or conventions with hardly any ability to even stand on his own. A 2011 ESPN E:60 special highlighted his substance abuse and painted a dark picture of where The Bad Guy’s life was currently at and made mention of the numerous rehab stints he went through under the WWE’s dime in an attempt to better himself.
Reconnecting and moving into Diamond Dallas Page’s home in early 2013 transformed Hall into someone that was clean, coherent, and sober for the first time in years. It seemed like being in that environment and that brotherhood with Page and Jake “The Snake” Roberts (who was also getting clean there at the same time) lifted Hall to such a positive place. There’s photos of Hall getting picked up at the airport for his first day there, and he’s in a wheelchair. Within months, he was looking more like his old self due to Page’s DDP Yoga and the specialized rehab program created for him. By 2014, he was back in front of the WWE cameras getting inducted into their Hall of Fame as Razor Ramon.
Hall got his redemption arc and was brought back into the WWE fold with new merch, video games, shirts and television appearances. The old demons had been exercised and for years, Scott Hall was living the life that he and everyone from his era should have been living post their in-ring careers. Being part-owner of the nWo copyright meant a steady wrestling check and he went back to the convention circuits usually with his buddies Kevin Nash or Sean Waltman. Earlier this month, there was a passing news item about Hall getting surgery after dealing with a terrible fall that occurred at his home. It wasn’t until complications from that hip surgery was when people were made aware of the rough shape Hall was truly in. Pro Wrestling Torch reported that loose blood clots caused Hall to suffer multiple heart attacks before being placed on life support. In one of the most heartbreaking messages I’ve ever seen, Kevin Nash went on his Instagram to let everyone know that they were getting prepared to take his friend off life support after his family had their chance to say goodbye:
There were a few moments of hope that day when no news of his passing ever materialized, but eventually it was announced that Scott was gone.
Since then, more details have come out about Hall that shattered some of the long-held beliefs about him. His attempts at sobriety with DDP was a legitimate turning point in his life, but it wasn’t a cure for his addiction and long-standing diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. Scott Hall wasn’t infallible after all and had relapses since his comeback that were all mostly handled privately. Sean Waltman revealed a little more about Scott Hall’s recent lifestyle citing the Covid-19 pandemic as something that weighed heavily on Scott’s health as he closed himself off. He had been gone off from social media for a while since then, but Waltman mentioned how they were in the middle of trying to convince Scott to move in with him or DDP as a way to help out. Apparently, he also had a drunken collapse the night before the nWo went into the WWE Hall of Fame last year that was kept quiet as well. By the time of the ceremony, no one could tell anything was off with him. He looked exactly the way you think he should have.
It never feels good to read about incidents like this, but it was his reality. Diamond Dallas Page and the wrestling fans who helped raise over $100,000 to help Scott Hall out originally were immensely positive factors in his health and well-being. He was granted more time and reconnected back into the world when everyone had written him off as the next potential cautionary tale of professional wrestling. His success in-ring is one thing, but what he accomplished alongside Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash changed the entire wrestling landscape. The nWo shot WCW into new heights and forced the WWF to change their battleplans as a last ditch effort to not get left behind. Their pairing and booking together helped bring in new fans and set weekly television records that will never be replicated again.
Being described as locker-room poison by some didn’t seem to effect “The Bad Guy” at all as long as he was getting that “Sting Money”. In a way, there were things to be learned by guys like Hall and Nash regarding how to handle the wrestling business lest you allow it to completely mangle your body and leave you broken. Protect your worth, make that money, and let the other guys be a mark for themselves; great advice for any work environment.
Just don’t go in throwing toothpicks or powerbombing your boss first day on the job. Might be a HR issue.
38-year-old World Championship Wrestling fanatic/collector/hoarder. Safety officer by day, scanner of wrestling magazine by night.
He’s got posters on the wall, his favorite rock group’s KISS.