The best matches from every era of Sting’s career (1985-2024)

Hamish Woodward

With his career coming to its ultimate end, it is time to look back on the iconic career of the legendary Sting.

The Stinger will end his career at AEW Revolution 2024, teaming with Darby Allin to defend his AEW Tag Team Championships against The Young Bucks.

This comes very much inside Sting’s final “era” of his career. While his career has lasted nearly 40 years, it has been split into five distinct eras.

These eras are:

Each one has showcased a different side of the Icon, and the matches he had in each era of his career have been vastly different from each other.

It is almost impossible to pick five top matches from the hundreds that Sting has taken part in. However, we have done our best to bring you the best matches from each era of Sting’s career.

Surfer Sting – Ric Flair vs Sting at NWA Clash of the Champions 1988

The very first Clash of the Champions TV special was a defining moment for Sting. He faced off against the NWA World Champion in a 45-minute time limit draw that had the Greensboro crowd on the edge of their seats the entire time.

The match started off slow, with both wrestlers feeling each other out. But soon enough, it ramped up into a series of big moves and intense selling that had the crowd totally captivated.

Sting mostly dominated the match, but ‘The Nature Boy’ wasn’t going down without a fight. He pulled every dirty trick in the book to try to keep Sting at bay. In the final moments, Sting hit Flair with a Stinger Splash and locked in the Scorpion Deathlock, but time ran out before Flair could tap.

The decision went to five judges. Two voted for Flair, two for Sting, and one called it a draw. It might have seemed a bit silly, considering Sting’s dominance, but there’s no denying the quality of the action throughout those 45 minutes.

This match really solidified Sting as a top-tier wrestler and set the stage for him to eventually win the NWA World Championship two years later.

Flair and Sting also battled on the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro 13-years later, putting a nice bookend on their feud in the company.

Crow Sting – Sting vs DDP on WCW Monday Nitro

Sting’s ‘Crow’ persona, which he’s been rocking since late ’96, hasn’t really been linked with epic matches like his ‘Surfer’ character was. But there was this one night in ’99 when Sting turned back the clock in a jaw-dropping showdown with WCW World Champion, Diamond Dallas Page.

DDP had snagged the belt just a couple of weeks before at Spring Stampede, in a wild four-way with Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Sting himself.

That win changed DDP’s vibe. He got all cocky and turned into a bad guy, setting the stage for this massive showdown with Sting on Monday Nitro. The match was intense, with both guys hitting all their signature moves. They were countering each other’s moves left and right, keeping the excitement going.

The ending was insane. Sting managed to turn DDP’s Diamond Cutter into his own Scorpion Death Drop, sealing the deal for the win and the title. The crowd in Fargo went nuts when Sting became the new WCW World Champion.

It was one of the last really awesome matches WCW put on. The energy in the arena was off the charts the whole time. A real hidden gem. Too bad the result got overturned a couple of hours later, when DDP snatched the title back in a pretty boring four-way in the main event.

TNA Sting – Kurt Angle vs Sting at TNA Bound for Glory 2007

One of Sting’s standout singles matches during his time in TNA Wrestling occurred at Bound For Glory 2007.

Here, he squared off against his longtime adversary Kurt Angle in the main event for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. This clash between two legends displayed remarkable chemistry, despite their distinct in-ring styles, resulting in a captivating and physically intense encounter.

The dynamic between them was nothing short of electrifying, as they seamlessly melded their contrasting approaches to deliver a match that left a lasting impact.

The atmosphere within the arena was palpable, with the crowd fully invested in every moment of the bout. However, it’s impossible to overlook the tendency for classic TNA-style overbooking, characterized by frequent interference and outside distractions.

While such elements undeniably added an extra layer of excitement and unpredictability to the match, it’s worth noting that they occurred perhaps more frequently than desired, detracting somewhat from the purity of the in-ring competition.

Nevertheless, despite the occasional interference, Sting and Kurt Angle managed to craft a memorable encounter that showcased their immense talents and left an indelible mark on TNA’s history.

WWE Sting – Sting vs Triple at WrestleMania 31

sting vs triple h

The WrestleMania 31 showdown between Sting and Triple H was a spectacle filled with both confusion and intrigue.

Despite its perplexing elements, the match marked Sting’s long-awaited WWE debut after years of staying away due to concerns about the treatment of WCW alumni. Framed as a battle between WWE and WCW, the clash captivated audiences with its nostalgic undertones.

Sting’s decision to finally sign with WWE in early 2014 set the stage for his debut match against Triple H. While the feud lacked direct ties to Sting’s WCW history, WWE portrayed it as a continuation of the rivalry between the two companies, reigniting a conflict that had officially ended over a decade earlier.

The match itself showcased Sting’s legendary status, highlighted by his unique entrance featuring an Asian-inspired drum group, a first for any WWE superstar. Wrestling without his trademark shirt, Sting exuded the iconic presence that had made him a legend in the wrestling world.

As the bout unfolded, it quickly became apparent that it would be a no-disqualification affair, with both competitors wielding their signature weapons—Triple H with his sledgehammer and Sting with his trusty bat. The momentum shifted dramatically with the sudden interference of D-Generation X, Triple H’s former stablemates, turning the tide in The Game’s favor.

Yet, just when it seemed like Sting was down for the count, the unexpected arrival of the NWO—Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall—added another layer of excitement to the match. Despite Sting’s history as the NWO’s biggest rival, their presence added to the chaos and unpredictability of the encounter.

The match reached its climax with Shawn Michaels making a surprise appearance to deliver a devastating superkick to Sting. With Triple H seizing the opportunity, he pinned Sting for the victory, handing the wrestling icon his first loss in WWE on his debut match.

Despite the confusing booking decisions and the match’s ultimate outcome, which some argued served little purpose beyond setting up future storylines, the clash between Sting and Triple H remained a memorable moment in Sting’s WWE tenure. Its entertainment value and nostalgic appeal solidified its status as a standout moment in WrestleMania history.

AEW Sting – Sting, Darby Allin & CM Punk vs MJF & FTR on AEW Dynamite

In my view, the best Sting match from the final stretch of his career has to be the six-man tag team match on AEW Dynamite in January 2022.

In the midst of CM Punk’s rivalry with MJF in 2021 and 2022, he teamed up with Sting and Darby Allin to take on three members of the Pinnacle – MJF, Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood.

This was the match where CM Punk paid homage to Sting by painting his face like the classic “Surfer Sting“, while Sting also referenced Punk with his own face paint.

The match carried on the fun throughout. Punk was desperate to get her hands on MJF for the entirety of the bout, chasing him around the arena in a vein attempt to get him into the ring.

If you want a five-star mat classic, this match isn’t it. But if you want to switch off your brain and have some fun watching some of the all-time greats entertain a hot crowd, this is the perfect match for that.

However, there are a number of bouts from this era of Sting’s career that are fantastic to match, which you can read about here.

https://atletifo.com/news/sting-best-aew-matches/

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