Show and Tell was always one of my favorite assignments in school, but the hardest thing was selecting something that was special, cool, not too weird, and most importantly something that wouldn’t grow legs and “walk off” on it’s own. On a previous, Friday Five, I disclosed my adoration for professional wrestling, so today, I’m going dive off the top rope and through the announcer’s table about two of my Pops. With WrestleMania 32 a week from Sunday (4/3/16), I’m already preparing for a fantastic week of celebration. What does a wrestling icon and a television superhero have in common? More than you think…
I’m going to level with you, when I was in undergrad, I watched a lot of professional wrestling. My Monday nights belonged to the Monday Night Wars between World Wrestling Federation (now WW Entertainment*) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). While many of my favorite WCW Wrestlers flip-flopped between being Faces (good guys) and Heels (bad guys), Sting consistently remained a good guy (for the most part), especially when he took up a Crow-meets Casey Jones (TMNT) inspired look complete with black and white face paint, trenchcoat, and a black baseball bat. He would pop up when you least expect it, and in his new incarnation rarely said a word. It was some of the hardest core miming I had ever seen.
The unveiling is key, but watch the audience…
For those unfamiliar with Sting (the wrestler not the singer), the Scorpion is a large part of his character image and finishing move skill set. He’s got the the Stinger Splash, Scorpion Death Drop (Inverted DDT), and Scorpion Deathlock (Sharpshooter). Look up any of those moves, and all them hurt. He was mysterious, dangerous, but he always rained down his own brand of justice in the end. Sting brought back the superhero without making it look comedic.
Way to be, Lil Stinger!
When it came to hunting down my Sting Pop, I went to four stores before I was able to find him. Several locations had the later release of The Wolfpac Black & Red Sting, but honestly, during the multiple NWO factions at WCW, I rapidly lost interest because Sting was buried in the shuffle of feuding factions. Also, I never followed TNA Wrestling, so I mercifully missed his Insane Icon (Dark Knight Joker homage) days. If I were to have only one Sting, I wanted the Vigilante who stole my heart when I was 19. I say this now, but by WrestleMania, I may wind up with the second one before they all vanish like AJ Lee in the wake of her retirement.
From Vigilante to Hall of Famer
When the WWE bought out its rival WCW in 2001, Sting was one of the biggest names in the company that WWE couldn’t manage to immediately bring over with the rest of the roster. After over a decade of negotiation, Sting not only debuted as a playable character in WWE 2K15, but also as the spokesmodel. The hauntingly beautiful promotional video paid homage to Sting’s vigilante persona complete with stringed orchestra playing his theme. At the 2K15 launch event hosted by WWE personalities Renee Young and Stone Cold Steve Austin, Sting was asked who he’d love to wrestle and the wrestling marks worldwide collectively gasped when The Icon named The Undertaker as his dream matchup.
I wish I could find a clean video of Sting’s WM31 Entrance with Taiko Drums! Glorious!
When Sting finally had his WrestleMania debut last year, it was not against Taker, but Triple H (son-in-law to WWE owner, Vince McMahon). The build up to the match spread like wildfire because akin to his time in WCW, Sting would crop up when everyone least expected it. In the weeks leading up to WM31, my Monday nights belonged solely to wrestling in the hopes that Sting would make an appearance. My reservations aside, it was one of the most iconic matches of the evening.
I was frustrated by the booking move because I had a gut feeling that it would be the only viable chance to bring that epic match-up to fruition. There was talk that the Perfect Storm of WCW Company Man Sting versus the WWE Company Man, The Undertaker, was planning on being slated for this year’s WM held in the Taker’s home state of Texas. Unfortunately, Sting sustained a potential career-ending spinal injury last fall at Night of Champions which made him the top batter for this year’s class of Hall of Fame Inductees. In the mean time, I’ll just need to get a Funko Taker to keep Sting company. I can dream about them decimating my living room each night while I am asleep. Who knows? A miracle could happen, but I’d rather these guys be safe than sorry.
For now it’s a pipe dream, but safety comes first.
I cannot wait for Saturday, April 2, when Ric Flair (WOOOOOOOOOO!) inducts his long time friend and rival into the WWE HOF.
From Ringside Fan to SummerSlam
The most difficult part was trying to figure out which incarnation of Amell’s Oliver Queen/Arrow I wanted most. I could not justify the purchase of both #206 Oliver Queen (in full Arrow costume without the hood/mask) and #207 The Arrow (with mask and hood). All my fence sitting promptly went out the window when I was shopping at Gods and Monsters and I came across The Arrow: Unmasked (#208; Summer Convention Special Edition). While I didn’t pay +$65 for it, I certainly paid a little above the usual $10-13 dollars for him. I do not regret the decision one bit. Now I just need to get a Felicity Smoak for him to cozy up with. You may wonder why I went to such an extreme, but for those who religiously follow our beloved Green Arrow on Twitter, everyone know’s he’s a huge wrestling fan!
For every fan who ever dreamed about jumping that barrier: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!
As part of the comic book hero/villain angle involving WWE Superstars Adrian Neville & Stardust (Cody Rhodes), Amell realized a childhood dream last year in his Arrow off-season. Not only was our Savior of Star City able to banter back and forth with Stardust, but his superhero status lead to an alliance with Neville, known as “The Man that Gravity Forgot.” Neville’s finishing move is called ‘The Red Arrow,’ so aligning of The Arrows was bound to happen.
Guess which hero showed up Unmasked at Summerslam!
While there were mixed reviews about an actor/celebrity jumping into the ring by commentators, reports, wrestlers, and fans, the fan girl within had quite the moment. I enjoyed the match complete with all the shameless promos leading up to the event in which Arrow was constantly touted. As part of the hype leading up to their tag team face-off at Summerslam, Amell x Stardust released a charity fundraiser shirt which sold out before I even caught wind of it! Even after the match’s conclusion last summer, Amell and Stardust (Don’t call him Cody!) trade playful barbs via twitter.
Sorry, John Stewart, had you jumped off the top rope, you might’ve secure my vote.
While taping Arrow on location in Canada, Amell won the WWE Slammy Award for “Celebrity Moment of the Year,” and since he was unable to be there in person to accept his award, naturally Stardust did our beloved Green Arrow a favor by receiving the award in his place, and then proceeded to do what villains do: try to ransom it back. The proposition “did not involve fisticuffs,” but teaming up to raffle off Amell’s signed Golden Grappler for a one of the WWE Superfans, an 8-year-old-boy, Elijah. Known to other fans as ‘Drax Shadow,’ Elijah is grappling with his arch nemesis, Stage 4 ‘Effin’ Cancer. Those familiar with Amell’s charity work with F*CK CANCER, where he’s released two different shirt designs to help raise community funds, continue to marvel at the size of his heart. The Slammy was returned in person by Stardust later at Dallas Comic Con during an Arrow panel, and the press conference would be then moderated by Rhode’s impartial wife and WWE Ring Announcer, Eden Stiles.
Some speculate that the continued frenemy-ship between Amell/Stardust could potentially lead to a rematch at this year’s Summerslam as the season finale of Arrow is slated for May 11, 2016. With the countdown clock already ticking down to August 21, 2016, who knows what could happen. I would love for it to become a reality but not before I can get my hands on a Funko Pop for Stardust!
With WrestleMania next weekend, including the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, don’t be surprised if I’m on Sting overload next weekend. I apologize in advance if my social media is flooded with event prep featuring tiny Sting, and perhaps Arrow Unmasked might team up for some tag team action. For me, the Road to WrestleMania is my March Madness, and I am glad to have not one, but two vigilantes by my side!
Answer Me, These Questions Three
- Aside from Undertaker, I’m torn between getting the late-and-oh-so-great Rowdy Roddy Piper and the Most Electrifying Man in Sport Entertainment: The Rock. Which one should I chase after first?
- Are you a little curious to learn more about Sting or professional wrestling?
- If you have to pick a costume and entrance music, how would you walk to the squared-circle (the wrestling ring)?
Care to join in?