I don’t know why, but wrestling movies…well…they usually suck. Sure, there are the odd good ones (The Wrestler, Beryond the Mat, Wrestling with Shadows), but by and large, they are in general quite horrible. It seems the writers and directors of them tend to talk down to the regular wrestling fans in order to appeal to the non-wrestling fans. I never ever understood the logic in that at all. Regular wrestling fans are the ones that are going to come watch your movie before non-fans. What’s so hard to understand about that?
That said, I watched the Sting: Moment of Truth movie. It’s less about wrestling and more about Sting’s life and Born Again Christianity. Now let me back up for a second by saying I have nothing against the Christian elements of the movie. I think it’s GREAT if someone feels better about their life when they find religion, no matter what it is. (Note from RD: As a guy you can find at church every Sunday, I agree.)
So yes, that is good, and we applaud Sting for it. But man…this movie…this movie may contain the worst production values and flawed script this side of an Ed Wood movie. Also, if you’re looking for what the DVD box boasts as “special appearances by Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Lex Luger, Jeff Jarrett, Ric Flair”, well…you’re probably going to be a wee bit disappointed.
The movie begins with young Steve Borden looking into a snowglobe, dreaming of his future. It sorta reminds me of the series finale of St. Elsewhere, where it’s revealed that the last 6 years of a popular tv show with complex characters and storylines were created in the mind of a child.
I still think that’s how the last episode of Nitro should’ve ended.
We cut to many years later where Jeremy Borash has a cameo as a ring announcer.
Is it just me or does he remind you of Eraserhead?
“In Heaven, everything is fine.”
SPEAKING OF Heaven!
We see Sting coming down the ramp to enter the ring for his match. He stops and looks to his crucifix for guidance and strength.
At first, I thought it was one of those cheapo “Undertaker symbol” pendants the WWE sends out if you order one of their crappy pay-per-views.
And looks like he’s gonna need that strength and guidance because Sting has a match with Jeff Jarrett in TNA.
I was prepared to say it’s one of the few times we’ll ever see Jeff lose in TNA but they don’t even show that part.
Even in the movie about the life story of his opponent, Jeff Jarrett is booked to not lose!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve NEVER seen someone get THIS wound up for TNA. Especially Michael Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe.
Then the scene cuts to backstage in Sting’s dressing room where he’s being interviewed by a nervous newspaper reporter who looks like the love child of Beaver Cleavage and Tim Kazurinsky. In a weird scene that goes over my head, he drops his pencil under Sting’s chair and apprehensively bends down to pick it up. Before he could get it, Sting gives him a pen. I don’t know if that was metaphoric of Jesus giving you a pen when your pencil falls on the floor, but already I’m becoming leery of the script quality.
Sting and the reporter for an undetermined publication share some awkward banter that falls flat before talking about his home state of California. That leads us into one of approximately 4,314 montages with stock footage and crappy music we’ll be exposed to. S
ting says “California used to be the land of opportunity, until taxes took over”. Yeah!
Wait, what?? Does this mean the other 49 states had to pay taxes while California got a free ride from the government til the 80s?
Sting says his father was a football fanatic and encouraged his boys to play the sport. The elder Borden looks like every a-hole sports coach in 80s teen films that wants the jocks to defeat the geeky, physically inept underdogs. We miss out on a scene where he gives his son a double jock lock.
Soon afterward, we get yet another montage of young adult Steve Borden having fun at an amusement park where he defies gravity by not falling out of a roller coaster upside down.
He decides to go into bodybuilding and eventually co-owns a gym when of all people, Hulk Hogan walks into his gym which gets Sting thinking about the wrestling business.
I should note the budget for this production isn’t too high. In fact, it apparently is so limited that the scene where Sting meets Hulk is represented not by footage, but a scan of a PWI magazine.
And for some reason there’s a lengthy shot of clothes tumbling in a dryer. “We need to pad the scene out, get the clothes dryer footage!”
He is eventually recruited for Power Team USA by Rick Bassman and trained by a guy that reminds me of Sal Bandini from Ready To Rumble, only I don’t think this guy ever won an Oscar. If he did, he ate it.
He roughs up the students and gives a guy in zubaz pants a fat splash for his horrible fashion sense.
Young Steve Borden giggles about wrestling being fake so the trainer decides to show him how real it is….by making a student drop-kick a board. Yeah, that’ll really scare the reality into him.
Shouldn’t he put some kinda Stu Hart submission hold on him til he screams in pain?
Shortly after Sting’s training, he’s teamed with Jim Hellwig (aka Ultimate Warrior) by Jerry Jarrett in Memphis. This leads to yet ANOTHER MONTAGE as Sting mentions the long hours of travel around the American south and long hours of film padding with highway signs.
Seriously, we get laundry dryer footage followed by billboard footage.
There’s even a scene where they’re stopped by a cop for driving while wearing wrestling tights…I think.
Sadly, we don’t get to see Warrior being frisked by another dude and making a Village People joke that gets him savagely beaten.
What a gyp.
Wow, I didn’t know Scott Hudson was the ring announcer in Mid-south during the 80s. It’s like Bill Goldberg in the NWA in 1978 for the Jesse Ventura tv-movie. Instead of the “Blade Runners”, they’re now referred to as “The Freedom Fighters” and now have a nameless previously unknown hot chick valet in their corner.
Wrestling bio-pics are the stuff that would make Dave Meltzer wind up in a padded cell.
This leads into the reporter asking Sting if there was a special girl in his life and he says his California girl named Sue is the special one he married. Then we get a, yep you guessed it, COUPLES MONTAGE where they do couples stuff like point at the sky, feed each other ice cream.
Oh! And they get married in the woods with no one presiding over the wedding and no witnesses.
(Note from RD: Did Sting just conduct the wedding ceremony himself? I don’t think that’s legal, not even in Utah.)
I’m not trying to be a smart ass here, but I really must ask: was the budget for this movie $50?
Next, Sting explains that he and Hellwig split up as a team. Hellwig became the Ultimate Warrior in the WWF and he became the first incarnation of the blond surfer Stinger.
This would be a great opportunity to recreate some of Sting’s best matches from the NWA with opponents like The Great Muta and Lex Luger.
Instead, we get Sting wrestling an indie-looking guy named “Hammer Jack.”
No, not Jack Hammer.
(Note from RD: Are you sure it wasn’t Hammer (Comma) Jack?)
And I’d just like to point out the scenes when Sting wrestles in a darkened arena like this, you can plainly see there are empty seats all around the ring.
Yet we get random shots of a full capacity crowd going crazy.
This movie even has a Stunt Granny doing her Macaulay Culkin impression. Thankfully Sting’s narration does not patronize by showing us a planted kid’s autograph book being torn up by the heel.
Sting is doing well in wrestling but he hasn’t quite hit the big time yet. In a moment of desperation, he asks God to intervene and help him hit it big. Sure enough, Sting is asked by the Hardees fast food chain to do appearances at some of their restaurant openings and sign autographs for fans. It’s like the story in Chris Jericho’s book when in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, Jim Cornette sent him and Lance Storm to do a personal appearance at a furniture store.
Only people showed up to see Sting.
(Note from RD: I’m glad you explained this in detail, Kelly. When I first saw this shot of Sting on the bottom there, I thought Hardees was paying him to hold up a giant sign for the day.)
Then clips are shown of Sting wrestling Ric Flair (in a “special appearance”) at Great American Bash 1990 and beating him for the world title. I have a feeling if this movie did have a decent budget, most of it went to clearing these WCW clips with the WWE.
I’m sorry Blade, the Black Scorpion angle isn’t covered in this movie.
I know, I feel ripped off too.
A production assistant ends the interview Sting has been giving Beaver Kazurinsky and thus ends Sting’s narrating his life story, which leads to the 2nd half of the movie with more wrestling in empty darkened arenas that somehow have full crowds.
I think I can safely say this is the only Christian-themed film where someone gets head-butted in the groin.
(Note from RD: Pretty sure there was a battle between Moses and Dathan on Mt. Sinai in The Ten Commandments that featured that as well. I’ll check the DVD and get back with you.)
This second half also deals with Sting’s reliance on pills, alcohol and not being satisfied with the fame that’s causing a strain on his marriage to Sue.
The only criticism I have of these scenes is that we don’t see Sting doing anything REALLY CRAZY like passing out in a public place, going on insane rants or hitting on random women. In fact, his pill and alcohol abuse is so understated in the movie, you find yourself saying out loud, “Dude, calm down. You’ve got to do a lot more to catch up with Jake the Snake and Scott Hall”.
And we get more random WCW clips edited in a video blender to show us what a popular good guy Sting was.
Oh, remember those “special appearances” I mentioned at the beginning?
This would be them.
There’s a short scene with a news reporter talking about Ted Turner purchasing WCW in 1998 and “turning it into a goldmine”. I think we can safely say Samantha Bar is employed by the same network as Nancy Grace.
And again: Dave Meltzer, padded cell.
There’s also a scene where Sting poses with his merchandise. A lot I’m sure you’ve seen on the Someone Bought This page. WCW Commemorative Plates from Franklin Mint will really impress the hot babes.
Then we get the stereotypical obsessed wrestling fanboy who dresses like Sting, claiming to be an “internet reporter”.
“What’s your name kid?”
Nah, I’m just teasin’.
It’s really Bryan Alvarez.
(Note from RD: I am 99.9% certain that is, in fact, Bryan, during one of his early acting stints.)
Despite being very annoying and guffawing about knowing “a tall girl who thinks she’s the Undertaker”, they talk about Starrcade ’97 and show random non-linear clips from the match. We miss out seeing Nick Patrick’s “fast count”, where he left the ring, went to Taco Bell, ate his chicken ranch gordita then came back to the ring to resume the count. “It was the biggest selling pay per view in the history of pay per views. ANY pay per views”, according to Sting. I don’t know about that but it was pretty damn big.
Unfortunately after that, it was all downhill for WCW but you probably knew that already.
Sting throws the fanboy out of his dressing room when the fanboy almost orgasms thinking he’s going to be Sting’s tag team partner. People who write movies with wrestling REALLY hate the fans, I’ve noticed.
Then we get a nightmare sequence wear Sting wanders aimlessly amongst druggies and homeless people while being filmed in vaseline with no escape.
(Note from RD: If I didn’t know better, I would think he was Lost in Cleveland with Mick Foley.)
He’s also late for 3rd period Biology and doesn’t have his books.
Man, I’ve been there.
Suddenly, he finds himself strapped to an operating table where he’s surrounded by zombies that don’t want to eat his brains but…..give him breast implants?
This is a WWE diva’s dream, not Sting’s nightmare.
Sting awakens in his hotel bed from the nightmare and asks God to forgive him and praises him.
This scene would have had a lot more impact if I didn’t notice the shadow of the boom mic operator in the shot.
And then…the movie ends.
Like I said before, the Christian elements were absolutely fine and weren’t hammered into the story at every turn. Steve Borden has led a VERY interesting life and I feel that the screenwriter really missed the boat and did not do his life story justice by making up stuff and by side-stepping the wrestling fanbase that were watching the movie because of Sting.
Maybe this wasn’t so much crap as a missed opportunity.
(Note from RD: Did Sting really get a boob job? And if so, what size cup? I’m totally confused.)