After watching the abomination that was Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs The Warrior from WCW Halloween Havoc 1998, I was intrigued to see what other matches Dave Meltzer had rated as the worst matches ever. I was shocked when I came across NJPW in the -5* ratings! Yes, Meltzer is renowned for loving NJPW. Even more shocking, Sting was involved! The NJPW BVD Cup pitted Sting against…Tony Palmore (incorrectly billed as Tony Palumora on the NJPW World listing). Tony Palmore? You can be forgiven if you’ve never heard of him before. He’s a kickboxer, not a wrestler! This was a worked shoot tournament pitting wrestler against real fighter, the brainchild of Antonio Inoki (who also booked himself in the tournament). Was it really a -5* match though?
We’ve all heard of Sting (well, if you are a fan of pro wrestling!). Not a great worker, but a solid worker (more of a beloved character/s than anything else), but he’s been involved in some fantastic matches. Tony Palmore? Never wrestled before, and to my knowledge, never wrestled since. He was a World Champion kickboxer, famous in the 1970s but almost forgotten by 1995. Why were these two put together? Antonio Inoki, booker of NJPW at the time, loved faux-shoot fights. He devised this tournament to showcase MMA and wrestling. Alongside Sting/Palmore, Inoki himself fought Gerard Gordeau, with the winner fighting the winner of Sting/Palmore. Gordeau had some wrestling experience. Palmore had zero wrestling experience.
And it shows. The match mostly consists of Palmore throws a barrage of kicks of punches. These hover between the worst-looking strikes ever (the majority of them), or the most brutal strikes ever. There is no middle ground for Palmore. He obviously didn’t know how to hold his punches/kicks. It looks as if Palmore is trying to non-verbally communicate with Sting, but Sting has no idea how to interpret this communication. So Palmore throws pathetic looking strikes, while Sting looks on, bewildered.
Sting is out of his depth here, as well. God knows why Inoki booked him in a worked-shoot tournament. He was never renowned for being a fighter outside the ring. So, he tries to throw his own (very pro-wrestling looking) punches, but for the majority of the match he holds his arms up in front of his body, to prevent (only upper body!) strikes. Amazingly, he manages to hip toss Palmore in a decent looking spot. But, a few minutes later, he lifts Palmore up for the most awkward-looking German suplex I’ve ever seen. And that’s about it from Sting, until the end calls for him to quickly lock in his Scorpion Deathlock and mercifully end the match.
This sub-ten minute match feels like an 60 Minute Iron Man match. It’s actually funny to watch, for the first minute or so, seeing Palmore attempt weak-looking strikes and Sting looking petrified. However, this continues for the rest of the match. What was Inoki thinking? At least book someone, like Gordeau, who had some wrestling experience. And book someone, unlike Sting, who had some experience of real fighting. This is like mixing peanut butter and Marmite. This is, by far, the worst NJPW match I’ve seen. And I doubt it can get any worse than this. I won’t give any match a scale-breaking rating, but this deserves 0*.
Hammy’s Rating: 0 (out of 5)
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