• Famous WCW Referee Opens Up About Controversial Hogan-Sting Match Finish
WCW Starrcade 1997 drew great numbers and had every chance to be remembered for having one of the greatest PPV main events of all time, especially after the Sting/nWo storyline was building to that very match for more than a year leading up to the show.
Unfortunately, the finish was a total screw-up with Bret Hart sort of reversing referee Nick Patrick’s decision, claiming Patrick had done a fast-count, when in reality he did not, thus making Bret and the entire booking of the finish look stupid.
Patrick recently appeared on JBL & Gerald Brisco’s podcast series ‘Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw’ and had the following to say about that incident:
“[There was] the big match between Sting and Hogan, and there was supposed to be a controversial count. Something like this would never ever happen in the WWF. But I was the referee for that match. It was the first Hogan and Sting match, and I was the ref.
So, Eric Bischoff got there early, pulled me aside, and told me what the finish was. [A] basic, easy finish. Then [he] disappeared and was gone, [I] never saw him again until the next show somewhere.
Then Hulk comes up to me, gives me basically the same finish, but wants me to do a real nice slow, normal count. I’m like, ‘Okay.’ Sting comes up to me [with] the same finish, but wants me to do a fast count. So, I’m like, ‘Okay. Well, let me find out from management what they want.’
Jerry [Brisco], I went around that freaking building all day long. I went in every trailer, I looked in every god-dang [place], everywhere! And there was nobody, nobody that would give me an answer as to which finish they wanted me to do. So, I split the difference and did a kind of normal count. I was being a heel at that time, so sometimes I’d fast count and sometimes slow [counts]. So, I just did something different than what they’d expected.
The announcers were dumbfounded because they were expecting one thing and they didn’t get it. I was completely frustrated. I felt like they were setting me up to get fired. I didn’t [get fired]. I think Eric was happy it was over and [that] he didn’t have to get in the middle and pick a side.
I didn’t get heat from either one of the guys, nobody from management. I think everyone was just glad it was over. There is a picture of all three of us in the ring. You can look at the expression on all three of our faces, it’s like ‘Alright, what the f*ck?’ That’s exactly what that picture captured to me, and I think that was the sentiment of everybody in the ring at that point in time. Which is kind of sad.
That was the biggest matchup marquee. Damn, Hogan and Sting in their first matchup, my god. And for that to end in that much a cluster [of a] finish, that just dumbfounded me. That was kind of my indication that [WCW] wasn’t going to fight as nearly as hard as [the WWF]. But I was going to ride that wave as long as I could ride it.”
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• Old School Wrestling Legend Celebrates His Birthday
Old School Lucha Libre Legend Mil Máscaras (Real name: Aarón Rodríguez Arellano) turns 79 today.
Mil Máscaras is a huge legend in his home country of Mexico, where he’s considered one of the three all time greats, alongside fellow legends El Santo & Blue Demon.
Máscaras started his famous pro-wrestling career in 1965 and still hasn’t fully retired yet, as he still wrestles every now and then, though being protected in 6-man tag team matches, where he has to do very little and is more like a special attraction to sell tickets for the shows.
Mil also had short stints in the World Wrestling Federation (1981, 1983, 1984 & 1997) and Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (1990).
In 2012, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his nephew, Alberto Del Rio.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIL MÁSCARAS!