With all the buzz surrounding the at-times excellent Last Ride documentary of The Undertaker and the Vice series Dark Side of the Ring, it seems WWE have embarked on a mission to find anything – anything – in their archives that can be slung up on WWE Network in a similar vein.
And that brings us to the recent premiere of Sting: The Lost Tape.
A 27-minute chunk of footage revolving around the 1995 Slamboree PPV seemed like the perfect job for one half of Because WCW. So, here we go.
The intro is nice enough, mixing VHS-era nostalgia with clips of the Stinger at the peak of his pre-Crow era. And very early on, you get the same impression of Steve Borden that shone through in much of what has been seen since 1995: a laid-back, warm, workmanlike professional.
One of the first things to really hammer home how thick the layers of dust are on this footage is a vox-pop from Brian Pillman, who unfortunately passed away in 1997. He tells us how much Sting cares about the fans, as we see footage of the Icon meeting and greeting some of them as he arrives at the arena.
Marcus Alexander (Buff) Bagwell didn’t seem to know exactly what the crew were filming for when he meets up with Sting, as he keeps things strictly in character for the cameras. Knowing what we know about WCW as a whole, one wonders if anyone involved knew exactly what they were ultimately going to do with the footage.
Watching Sting interact with ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage behind the scenes was amusing, as the two display the sort of chemistry they did whenever they shared promo time. In particular, Savage comes across as an absolute character – and yet, in an entirely different way to the over-the-top persona everybody already knew and loved.
Onto Slamboree, as Sting does his hotline duty and preps the make-up. “I may stick with these two colours for good,” he says of his red and blue get-up for the evening. Crow Sting is but 18 months away at this point.
Next, footage of the match itself (which the Network also has in its entirety). The ‘Lights Out’ rules are very vague, and it appears to be your standard no-DQ grudge match.
It’s been a while since I’ve watched the whole thing, but Sting and Bubba brought plenty of energy into it from what I recall and the frantic pace of the brawl drew plenty of reaction from the live crowd. The highlights of the match really emphasise this.
As the victorious Stinger walks backstage, he somewhat passively-aggressively laments the physicality of the match he just competed in. Given the magic he and Cactus Jack conjured three years prior to this, it was surprising to hear him speak like that. Perhaps the Bubba match involved a particularly rough bump on the very unwelcoming-looking table used?
Then, at the halfway point of the sub-half-hour broadcast, we get the ENTIRE MATCH. Thankfully, it’s as watchable as I suspected in full. But, that means the actual never-before-seen aspect of the show clocks in at around 14 minutes.
Y’know what? If you’re into WCW enough to know about Sting from around this time, and have a WWE Network subscription already, it’s probably worth a watch. But don’t expect this to be like Last Ride, the Bret Hart-Tom Magee match or anything like that.
The footage of Pillman and Savage was a highlight, but Sting himself doesn’t offer much outside of what we already know – apart from perhaps that seemingly-jaded view of the Lights Out match he’d just completed.