This Sunday Hulk Hogan and Sting are scheduled to face on another at TNA’s Bound for Glory. TNA has been building the match since Hogan first came to TNA nearly two years ago, similar in the length of build to their Starrcade match in 1997. Due to the physical condition of Hogan, they are not slated to wrestle each other, but to have a sanctioned fight. The Hulkster and the Stinger have a long and storied past going back to their days as an alliance when they were the two top baby faces of WCW. Even before then, the Hogan-Sting comparisons were made. During Hogan’s prime in the World Wrestling Federation, Sting rose to prominence as the next stallion on the cusp of superstardom. Hulk Hogan vs. Sting was a dream match before they even coexisted in WCW.
The first time Sting and Hogan had a big one-on-one confrontation, it was not a hyped up event, and it wasn’t even on pay per view. Instead, Hogan and Sting wrestled on an episode of Monday Nitro to a draw after outside interference from their enemies. The encounter wasn’t too bad, but such a meeting surely deserved a grander setting than a slot on television. WCW did what they felt was right for the show by showcasing high-profile matches on TV. By doing so they set the bar higher. When wrestling fans tune into Raw many forget that the show is, in part, what it is today thanks to Nitro.
The baby face vs. baby face confrontation that so many had dreamed about never happened. Both men evolved from their 1980s personas. When Sting and Hulk Hogan finally squared off on pay per view, it was a far cry from what fans imagined they would see just few years prior. Gone was the red and yellow. Gone was the colorful face paint. In their places were two battle-scarred veterans, forever changed by a wrestling war between World Championship Wrestling and the New World Order. Hogan was now a devilish heel, having fallen from angelic grace and leading the charge against the establishment he helped build. Sting walked slowly out to the ring dressed in black with his now blank expression, looking for redemption. The 1997 Starrcade event was the perfect setting for Hulk Hogan vs. Sting as the biggest pay per view they ever put on. The bout helped WCW score on of its higher pay per view numbers ever. The aftermath carried over for several months as WCW launched their new Thunder program, built up a Hogan-Sting rematch at the 1998 SuperBrawl, and led to the eventual civil war within the New World Order. Sting and Hogan would continue to do battle as members of opposing NWO factions.
Eventually a baby face match that so many had imagined would occur in some capacity. In the middle of 1999 Hogan returned from an injury and won the WCW Championship. Only a few short weeks later he shaved his beard, shed the black and brought back the red and yellow. When September’s Fall Brawl rolled around, Hogan and Sting were slated to go one-on-one for the championship again. Sting would once again pick up the victory by turning heel on Hogan. It was an unnatural fit for Sting and didn’t come across well in the storyline as fans still cheered for him. Within two months, he would be a baby face again.
Hogan and Sting would reunite as members of the Millionaires Club during Hogan’s last days with WCW. Sting would continue with WCW until the very end in 2001. They would not reunite until TNA. The next Hogan-Sting showdown has been pending for nearly two years. Sting once again turned heel in early 2010 and began making threats about TNA’ future. It would turn out that he was trying to warn them about Hulk Hogan’s true intentions. At last years’ Bound for Glory, Hogan turned heel and formed Immortal.
Hulk Hogan has come across as bitter about some of the losses he took in his career, particularly to Ultimate Warrior, Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar, mainly because he wanted some form of a receipt down the line. But that never seemed to be a problem with Sting. Hogan lost to Sting several times. The only moment of controversy was the Starrcade incident when their planned finish came off making Sting look weak, and Hogan like he had won the match. Regardless, there always seems to be a mutual respect the two.
What happens this Sunday is not certain. There is no telling what kind of shape Hogan is in and how well he will perform. In all honesty it could be absolutely dreadful. Arguments can be made, and rightfully so, that this match has no business taking place. There is no denying that this has no shot at being a classic encounter. Instead this Sunday’s encounter will encapsulate a story between two men. Hogan is a legend and it is painful to watch him put himself in positions such as this. Nobody wanted an end for him where he couldn’t take a bump anymore or even perform his signature legdrop. Sting hasn’t had the easiest year himself. He was put in a very awkward position with Jeff Hardy earlier in the year and now will be responsible for the well being of Hulk Hogan on pay per view. That being said, Hogan is in good hands with Sting on Sunday.