For most WCW fans, Starrcade 97 marked the start of the end. After nearly two years away from the ring, Sting was finally making his return to vanquish the nWo by conquering ‘Hollywood’ Hogan for the WCW World title and would go on to a long title reign against challengers like Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Ric Flair, Raven and newly arrived Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart.
It should have been a slam dunk. Sting does what he’d been doing for months to the entire nWo — wipe out Hogan in under 10 minutes and have the fans ecstatic that the good guys won. Instead, Hogan pulled an idiotic power play to sabotage Sting and botched the payoff to WCW’s biggest storyline. Now, WWE figure collectors can finally write this wrong.
Mattel shocked fans at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con by revealing Sting in its Defining Moments line. It’s been a long year of waiting, but now Sting has descended from the rafters to arrive on shelves. Was he worth the wait or is it another Starrcade 97 screw-up?
Package: I continue to rave about the Hall of Fame line thanks to the little personalization Mattel does with the outer and inner package. You can see the figure from most angles, which is especially helpful in detecting any problems. After getting a few rough WWE figures with paint issues on the back, which I wouldn’t see in the normal package, I appreciate the additional vantage point.
We get a nice bio to explain the specific time frame Mattel was shooting for with the figure. The top portion of the exterior package is outlined with scorpions while the inner package has a cool Sting portrait similar to a look we’ve seen on some Sting T-Shirts complete with Sting’s autograph. It’s a neat addition and one I’d love to see on future DMs.
Likeness: This is an iconic look of The Icon. There have been a few Sting figures from Toy Biz and Jakks, but this one best captures Sting in his Crow gimmick. At first glance, the torso may seem a tiny bit too slight, but in person it’s about right as the near full body outfit made Sting look a lot slimmer than his Surfer Sting days. The arms are a fraction too big but it doesn’t throw off the look noticeably unless you’re looking at pictures from 1997.
As expected, Sting’s trademark Mechanix gloves couldn’t be included on the figure due to licensing issues. so hope you’ve got a steady hand if you want a fully accurate likeness. On the plus side, Mattel did sculpt the outfit’s shoulder pads and the waist, thigh and knees as well as the chest piece for complete accuracy. Those really can’t be used by anyone else so you can be sure we’ll see another Crow-era Sting so Mattel can get some more use out of the mold.
Paint: With such minimal paint applications, you’d think it’d be pretty simple to find one that doesn’t have some issues. It took me 11 Stings to get a good one. The biggest problem was incomplete paint around the eyes, overspray around the lips and eyes not completely filled in. If you can choose, be as picky as possible with the facepaint as that’s where the majority of the problems are based.
Surprisingly, the scorpion tampo was fine and on each of the 11 figures I browsed through in my search for the perfect face paint, they were flawless. Of the two for most folks the facepaint may be easier to fix rather than filling in the complicated torso design.
Scale: Sting is 6’3″ so his figure looks to be right in scale with the 6’1″ Randy Savage, 6’5″ DDP and 6’9″ Kevin Nash. You may never need to put the figures that close together to see the subtle differences in height, but Mattel accounted for it and I won’t stop appreciating their efforts to keep everyone in scale.
Articulation: Sting is your average Elite figure. He’s got full shoulder, arm, waist, mid-torso, hip, thigh, knee, boot and ankle articulation. If his arms could go around just a tiny bit more, you’d be able to perfectly pose a Scorpion Deathlock without any assistance, but you’ll have no problem hitting The Stinger Splash and Scorpion Deathdrop.
Accessories: The Stinger comes with his trusty leather coat. Thankfully, it’s a cloth version so there’s no danger of breaking the shoulder peg every time you put it on and off like the hard plastic ones you’ll commonly find with Undertaker figures. The jacket is a good fit and is a solid likeness for Sting’s trench coat. I still don’t understand why Mattel tries to get away from doing cloth with everything as this was another great example as why this should be the norm.
Additionally, Sting comes with his ever-reliable baseball bat. I’m hesitant to include it since it doesn’t come off, but Sting also the necklace he wore during that match. If there was one other accessory that would have been a nice addition it would have been the WCW title. I know we’ve gotten it with a bunch of Mattel figures, most recently the Wrestlemania 30 Daniel Bryan, but defeating Hogan and winning the title was a true defining moment
Like the other DM figures in the line thus far, Mattel is sticking with the absolute top tier characters in wrestling so if it makes you feel any better tell yourself you’re paying for the premium character.
Sting is my favorite wrestler so sticker shock be darned, I was gonna be all over this one. Once you get him though you’ll see a good amount more work than the regular Elite figure was put into Sting.
Also, you’ll realize how more nWo era figures are badly needed. Mattel revealed a Hollywood Hogan DM for next year and a Scott Hall that doesn’t fit the same timeframe as the Sting figure. Hopefully, some more nWo figures and guys like Goldberg and Raven aren’t completely off the table.
Where to get it: Target is your best bet right now although there’s been reported sightings at Wal-Mart. Toys R Us will stumble in a bit later and you can always try Amazon.com: WWE Elite Collector Defining Moments Sting Action Figure
For more Sting swag, check out these T-shirts from WWEShop: The Sting “Scorpion” Men’s T-shirt now available at WWEShop.com!
Sting “Silent Warrior” Authentic T-Shirt