It has been decided that instead of focusing solely on the current and past happenings in WWE, which all of the previous articles – save for Jeff Jarrett – have been about, a different route is the order of today. Let’s go all the way back to 1999 and take a nostalgic look back at a match from WCW, an out-an-out forgotten classic featuring two of the all-time greats from the now defunct promotion.
So let us begin the very first instalment of WCW Hidden Gems Revisited: Sting Vs. Diamond Dallas Page – WCW Monday Nitro – April 26, 1999. The Background
Sting made his long-awaited return to WCW programming in March 1999, reverting back to the black and white Crow-inspired attire he debuted in 1996 after having been away from action since October’s Halloween Havoc event, during which time he was a member of the red and black NWO Wolfpac, due to storyline injuries inflicted by Bret “The Hitman” Hart during their United States Championship match.
Diamond Dallas Page on the other hand, on April 11 at the Spring Stampede pay-per-view, became WCW World Heavyweight Champion for the first time when he defeated Sting, Hollywood Hogan, and Ric Flair for the title in a Four Way Dance with “Macho Man” Randy Savage serving as the special guest referee. Upon hearing more and more boos from fans who had started to grow tired of his babyface character, the decision was made to subsequently turn Page heel and the turn took place on the following Nitro in a match against Goldberg. During the ensuing match, Page knocked Goldberg out with brass knuckles and repeatedly struck his leg with a steel chair as it was propped against the ring stairs, then taunted the fans by saying “boo me now” repeatedly.
Come the April 26 edition of Nitro, in the show’s first hour, Sting issued a challenge to Page to defend his title that night. The challenge was accepted and the match was all set.
The bell rings and Sting, as challenger wants the strap badly, giving DDP hell, but Diamond isn’t about to be disrespected and labelled a fluke champion, so he gives as good as he gets as they treat the championship with the respect it deserves, especially after the infamous “Fingerpoke of Doom” incident in January of that year.
After starting out in the ring, they eventually take it to the outside, fighting all the way down the aisle with referee Mickie Jay showing far more leniency than would normally be allowed. These guys trade back & forth, neither man holding momentum for very long, with a ton of exciting false-finishes, and over the course of the match, both guys pulled out all the stops, utilising moves not usually seen in their movesets.
Even after kicking out of an assortment of piledrivers, neckbreakers, Stinger-splashes and roll-ups, it all came down to the closing moments of the classic battle as Page twice went for the Diamond Cutter only for Sting to hold onto the ropes before Sting reversed Page’s finsher into the Scorpion Death Drop to pick up the win and become for the fifth time, the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
Unfortunately for Sting, he would not have long to bask in his glory. Because later on in the same night, he would lose the title in a four-way match with DDP, Goldberg, and Kevin Nash without being pinned. DDP instead pinned Nash, allowing him to win the title back without directly beating Sting.
Sting’s 90-minute reign would have the dubious distinction of being the shortest ever World Heavyweight Championship reign in WCW history. But the rapid fire title changes did nothing to take away from the overlooked classic earlier in the piece and nor should it.
The Final Analysis
Sting/Diamond Dallas Page really should have been a pay-per-view match; in fact it could easily have been mistaken for one, as there was everything possibly required: old school big fight feel, fully engaged crowd, cracking pace, numerous false finishes, and an epic ending, all in 20 minutes of gripping non-stop bell to bell action with the added bonus of no commercial breaks, a rarity with lengthy television matches. It got so much time to work to tell the wonderful story of both men hitting a number of devastating moves, without quite putting the other man away until the very conclusion. And DDP deserves his due for playing the villain quite brilliantly on this night, showing just how underrated he was in this role, getting the fans to hate him with a passion because Sting was such a fan favorite.
But in spite of the unanimous praise and high ranking in lists when talk turns to the greatest matches in Monday Nitro history, it had still managed to go largely overlooked and underappreciated over the years. That is until 2011, when the match made its way onto DVD for the first time, namely the first volume of The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro. While hosting the set, Diamond Dallas Page considered the match to be one of the best of his entire career. A viewing of this match will be all the proof that is needed to bore his statement out.