November 4, 2004
Sting

REAL NAME: Steve Borden
BORN: March 20, 1959 in Omaha, Nebraska
6'2", 252 pounds
ALIASES/NICKNAMES: Blade Runner Flash, Blade Runner Sting


Many have called themselves icons in the wrestling business but if there was one icon in WCW during the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was a blonde-haired muscleman with a blonde brushcut named Sting. From 1988 onward, Sting was firmly entrenched as one of the company's top stars and, for much of that period, THE top star.

Although he had excelled at football and basketball in high school, the man who would become Sting, a young Steve Borden, looked towards bodybuilding before switching to wrestling. Trained by Red Bastien, Sting's career began in California as part of Rick Bassman's Powerteam U.S.A. where he would meet and later team with Jim Hellwig (later the Ultimate Warrior). Borden and Hellwig would team up in Bassman's UPW and later strike out on their own, first as the Freedom Fighters and later as the Blade Runners. Borden would originally be called Blade Runner Flash before changing his tag to Blade Runner Sting.

The Blade Runners would head east from California to the Memphis Mid-Southern area, staying just long enough to be mnanaged by Dutch Mantell and compete in the Southern Tagteam title tournament in January, 1986 before heading to the Texas/Oklahoma-based Mid-South (later UWF) area. Hellwig wouldn't stick around the Mid-South area before heading to World Class.

Having dropped the Blade Runner part of his ring name, Sting became part of Eddie Gilbert and Missy Hyatt's Hot Stuff and Hyatt International, which included Gilbert, Hyatt, John Tatum, Jack Victory and Rick Steiner. In July 1986, Gilbert and Sting defeated the Fantastics to win the UWF Tagteam titles, although the belts would be held up until a rematch (also won by Gilbert and Sting) in August. Sting would also team with Rick Steiner to win the UWF Tagteam titles, defeating Chris Adams and Terry Taylor in April 1987, but following a loss to the Lightning Express, Sting began to break away from Eddie Gilbert. By Starrcade '87, the face turn was complete and Sting teamed with Jimmy Garvin and Michael Hayes to defeat Larry Zbyszko, Steiner and Gilbert in the opener of the card.

As 1988 began, Sting's star began to rise in the NWA. After crossing paths with Horsemen manager, James J. Dillon during a celebration for NWA World Champion Ric Flair, Sting made his challenge to the champion and the altercation led to a World title shot at the first Clash of the Champions. Airing live on Atlanta superstation WTBS, the Clash ran opposite Wrestlemania IV and featured, as its main event, a 45 minute draw between Sting and Flair and essentially put Sting on the wrestling map. Sting would, just a few weeks later, team with Lex Luger to win the 1988 Crockett Cup.

Although Luger would soon be pushed to the forefront as far as challenging Ric Flair, Sting would remain fixed at the top of the card in the NWA's World Championship Wrestling area, fueding with U.S. Champion Barry Windham and teaming with Dusty Rhodes to battle the Road Warriors at Starrcade 88.


Although Sting would come up short in his quest to win the NWA World Tagteam titles with Rhodes, he would defeat Mike Rotunda for the NWA Television Championship in March 1989. Sting would defend the TV title against the likes of the Iron Sheik and Butch Reed, but it would be the Great Muta that would provide the biggest challenge for Sting.

At the 1989 Great American Bash, Sting would defend the title against Muta and although he was initially was given the victory, taped replays showed that Muta had gotten his shoulder up. The TV belt was held up with Muta later winning the rematch. Later on during the card, Sting came to the aid of NWA World Champion Ric Flair during his battle against Terry Funk. For the rest of the summer and into the fall of 1989, Sting would team with Flair against Funk and Muta, including a Thunderdome cage match at Halloween Havoc '89.

His friendship and partnership with Ric Flair led to the offer of a spot in the Four Horsemen. However, his tenure with the Horsemen was strenuous at best, especially after Sting won the Iron Man competition at Starrcade '89, not only defeating Flair in the final match but earning a shot at Flair's World Championship.

Sting's desire to face Flair for the title, however, would lead to his being kicked out of the Horsemen. As Sting attempted to scale a cage wall to get some revenge on Flair and the Andersons, he would suffer a knee injury that forced WCW to delay plans for Sting's eventual World title match. On July 7th, after several non-wrestling appearances, Sting would return to face Flair at the Great American Bash and finally win the World Championship.

After defeating Flair in rematches and Sid Vicious at Halloween Havoc, Sting began to be plagued by a mysterious masked newcomer known as the Black Scorpion who claimed to be from Sting's past. Although the Scorpion was played by several different wrestlers, including Al Perez and the Angel of Death and voiced by Ole Anderson, after Sting defeated the Black Scorpion in a cage match at Starrcade '90, he was unmasked to be Ric Flair.

Just over two weeks later, Flair regained the WCW World title from Sting and although Sting would have his chances to regain the title, he would find himself teaming with Lex Luger against the Steiner Brothers at Superbrawl. Sting and Luger would take the fight to the Steiners but Nikita Koloff's chain shot (intended for Luger) would cost Sting and Luger the match, and create a fued between Sting and Koloff that lasted throughout the summer of 1991.

By defeating "Stunning" Steve Austin in the finals of a tournament in August, Sting became the U.S. Champion. Soon after, large gift boxes began arriving at ringside for Sting. In the first was Abdullah the Butcher, the second was Cactus Jack, an attack that began a long fued between Sting and Cactus Jack. The third gift box, presented to Sting at Clash of the Champions XVII in November, 1991, contained a scantily-clad Madusa who was really a decoy for Lex Luger, who clipped Sting's knee. The injury cost Sting the U.S. title, which he lost to "Ravishing" Rick Rude.

When Sting eliminated Luger from Battlebowl at Starrcade '91, it earned him a shot at Luger's WCW World Championship. The two former friends met at Super Brawl II in February 1992, with Sting defeating Luger to become WCW World Champion for a second time. Sting's early title defences included battles against Cactus Jack and members of Paul E. Dangerously's Dangerous Alliance. However, by the summer of 1992, Sting was engaged in a bitter fued with Vader who would take the strap at the Great American Bash.

With the arrival of Jake "the Snake" Roberts, Sting's objective changed from regaining the World title to getting revenge on Roberts. After a victory in a "Coal Miner's Glove Match" at Hallowe'en Havoc '92, Sting would then turn his attention towards Vader (who had lost the WCW title to Ron Simmons) defeating him at Starrcade '92.

After losing a "White Castle of Fear" strap match at Super Brawl III, Sting would regain the WCW World title from Vader (who had beat Simmons for the belt) in March 1993 during a European tour. But before the stars of WCW came back to North America, Vader had upended Sting, ending his third World title reign at six days. Back home, Sting would team with Davey Boy Smith to battle Vader and his partner Sid Vicious.

Sting would defeat Rick Rude for the WCW International title and after losing the title, would defeat Vader to fill the vacancy when Rude was forced to relinquish the belt due to injury. In the subsequent unification match between Sting's International title and Ric Flair's WCW World title, Flair defeated Sting.

With the arrival of Hulk Hogan in WCW, Sting's status as the top face in the company was in jeopardy. Sting and Hogan would team up to face Flair and later, the Dungeon of Doom. In June 1995, Sting defeated Meng to once again hold the U.S. title, a championship he later dropped to Kensuke Sasaki.

In addition to helping Hogan with the Dungeon of Doom, Sting would also step in to help Ric Flair who was battling Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. But at Hallowe'en Havoc '95, the Horsemen ruse would be revealed as Flair turned on Sting. Sting would then battle Flair throughout the rest of 1995, including a count-out loss in a Triangle match (also involving Lex Luger) at Starrcade '95.

Sting and Luger would team up to defeat Harlem Heat for the WCW Tagteam titles in January 1996, defending against the Blue Bloods and the Road Warriors and others until Harlem Heat regained the titles in June. By then, Sting had other things on his mind. With the arrival of the New World Order, Sting led the fight against the insurgents, teaming with Randy Savage and Luger against the Outsiders in the Bash at the Beach tag match that saw Hulk Hogan turn on WCW.

Just prior to Fall Brawl '96, it seemed as though Sting had attacked Lex Luger and joined the NWO WCW fans and wrestlers were quickly convinced of Sting's guilt but Sting professed innocence and it was revealed the NWO had brought in a "Fake Sting". Sting, hurt by the accusations, left his partners during the War Games match at Fall Brawl, and declared himself a "free agent".

Throughout the rest of 1996 and for much of 1997, Sting observed the goings-on in WCW from the rafters. Gone was the bright face paint, replaced by the somber colours of black and white, reminiscent of the Brandon Lee movie "the Crow". As the months passed, Sting would eventually prove his loyalty to WCW, attacking the NWO and eventually challenging Hogan to a World title match.

Sting would defeat Hogan at Starrcade '97 for the WCW World title, after Bret Hart rushed to ringside and overturned referee Nick Patrick's three-count that would have allowed Hogan to retain the title. Hart restarted the match and then counted Sting's pinfall on Hogan.

The title change didn't immediately stick, and Sting had to defeat Hogan AGAIN, this time at SuperBrawl in order to finally win the title. Randy Savage, seemingly Sting's ally, turned on the champion and, thanks to interference by the NWO, defeated Sting for the championship at Spring Stampede. By the summer of 1998, the NWO was splitting into factions and both sides wanted Sting to join them. With Sting one-half of the WCW Tagteam Champions with the Giant, many believed he would join NWO Hollywood. Instead, Sting joined Kevin Nash, Konnan and the rest of the NWO Wolfpac.

With all the intrigue and commotion involved in the NWO split, Sting began to fued with Bret Hart after Hart feigned friendship only to attack Sting during a bout against Hollywood Hogan. Hart got the better of Sting at Hallowe'en Havoc 98, nailing Sting with his own bat and placing him in the Sharpshooter, putting Sting out for several months.

When Sting returned to WCW in April 1999, he defeated Diamond Dallas Page for the WCW World title...but his latest title reign was also his shortest as he lost the title back to Page the same night. Sting would spend the next few months feuding with Kevin Nash, the Steiners, Ric Flair and Sid Vicious before gaining another WCW World title shot against his friend, Hulk Hogan, at Fall Brawl. Sting would successfully challenge Hogan for the title, but would need interference from Luger and DDP as well as a baseball bat shot to gain the victory over Hogan. For the first time since his UWF days in 1986, Sting would wrestle as a heel.

After a bizarre title defence against Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc, Sting issued an open challenge for the title. Goldberg answered the challenge and defeated Sting. Sting immediately protested the title change. James J. Dillon declared the title vacant and Sting entered the tournament, but lost in the semi-finals at Mayhem to Bret Hart (thanks to interference from Lex Luger).

Luger and Sting would battle for the remainder of the year, with Elizabeth becoming Sting's manager, but only until she betrayed him at Starrcade '99, hitting him with a bat and drawing a DQ for Luger. Sting would be aided in his battle against Luger and Flair (dubbed "Team Package") by WCW newcomer Vampiro. But that all changed with the "reset" of WCW.

Sting became part of the "Millionaire's Club" and soon found himself facing his former partner, Vampiro. Sting defeated Vampiro in the U.S. title tournament, only to have Vampiro drag him under the ring during the final match against Scott Steiner, allowing Steiner to get the victory over the now battered and bloodied Sting.

The war between Sting and Vampiro continued for weeks, even after Sting defeated Vampiro at Slamboree. The pair would meet in a "House of Pain" cage match and an Inferno match. During the Inferno match at the 2000 Great American Bash, Vampiro was seen to set Sting on fire and then toss him from the stage. When Sting returned (wearing a ski mask to cover his burns), he found himself having to battle the Demon and the Great Muta in addition to Vampiro.

Even as the fued with "the Dark Carnival" (Vampiro, Muta and the Insane Clown Posse) continued, Sting found himself battling Jeff Jarrett and later, Scott Steiner. It was supposedly an injury that Sting suffered during a Number One Contenders match against Steiner that sent Sting off of WCW television until the very last Nitro broadcast.

As WCW folded, bought out by Vince McMahon, Sting returned for one last match in WCW, when he defeated his long time rival, Ric Flair on March 26th, 2001, in the main event of the final broadcast of Monday Nitro in Panama City, Florida. Sting, disturbed by the content of the product put out by the WWF, decided NOT to jump to Vince McMahon's company and instead sat out his contract with Time Warner/AOL.

Although he would announce his retirement in a February 2002 issue of Ted Dibiase's Get A Grip newsletter, Sting would join the WWA's European tour, battling Lex Luger for the WWA World Heavyweight title, winning the crown on December 13th, 2002. Sting would retain the title against Rick Steiner and Shane Douglas in a Triple Threat match as well as Disco Inferno before losing to NWA Champion Jeff Jarrett who unified the titles at the WWA's Pay-per-view on May 25th, 2003.

Less than a month later, however, Sting would team with Jarrett in the NWA-TNA against A.J. Styles and Sean Waltman (a.k.a. Syxx-Pac). Sting would make several non-wrestling appearances over the summer of 2003 for NWA-TNA, being interviewed by Mike Tenay before returning to the ring in November to battle Jarrett.

Sting would then devote himself to creating a movie of his life Sting: Moment of Truth that was released on DVD in October, 2004. The movie looked at both Sting's in-ring career as well as his battle with drugs and his life as a Born-Again Christian. In addition to the movie, Sting has not completely closed the book on returning to the ring, competing in Hawaii in July 2004 and in Korea in January 2005. Sting even had some talks with WWE head Vince McMahon about joining that company but nothing came from those talks.

In January 2006, Sting returned to wrestling, in TNA. He teamed with Christian to defeat Jarrett and Monty Brown at Final Resolution only to walk away from wrestling a week later on Impact.

Jarrett continued to taunt Sting, even sending Alex Shelley out to videotape Sting and his family. Angered by this invasion of privacy, Sting (as Steve Borden) returned to attack Jarrett at Destination X only to be attacked in turn by Scott Steiner.

After Sting's Army (Sting, Styles, Ron Killings and Rhino) defeated Jarrett's Army (Jarrett, Steiner and America's Most Wanted) at Lockdown, Jarrett and Steiner demanded a tag match against Sting and a mystery partner at Sacrifice. After weeks of speculation, Sting chose Samoa Joe. Joe and Sting won the bout but Joe left Sting to be "sacrificed" in a post-match beatdown by Jarrett and Steiner.

Sting would get his revenge by beating Scott Steiner by DQ on the June 8th edition of Impact to get a spot in the King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary for a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Title. When the match was over, after much controversy and chaos, Jarrett had won the NWA World Title once again. Sting then vowed to kill off the cancer of TNA: Jeff Jarrett. At Victory Road, Sting defeated Christian Cage, Samoa Joe, and Scott Steiner to prove he was the true number one contender and was not too old to have one more run.

A month later, Sting was all set to take on Jarrett for the title, until Christian Cage turned his back on the Stinger and ruined his chances. After a one-month break from TV, Sting put his career on the line at the Bound For Glory PPV, with TNA newcomer Kurt Angle as the special referee. In the final minutes of the match, Jarrett attempted to cheat his way to victory with a guitar shot to the head. Sting was unharmed and proceeded to power up. He locked Jarrett in his patented Scorpion Deathlock and Jarrett tapped out. The Stinger was once again world champion -- but not for long.

At Genesis in November, Sting would take on Abyss. Sting let his anger get the best of him and lost the title via DQ. Since that point, Sting, Abyss and Christian Cage have been locked in battle over the belt.

-- compiled by John Milner and Steve Urena

STING STORIES

  • June 8, 2012: Ever evolving Sting ready for Roode, TNA title at Slammiversary
  • Nov. 22, 2006: Sting DVD for die-hards only
  • Apr. 17, 2006 column: Sting still has something to offer
  • Jan. 22, 2006: WWE run great 'what if?' of Sting's career
  • Jan. 13, 2006: Sting ready for one more run
  • Oct 27, 2004: Review: The Truth Stings
  • Oct 25, 2004: In-ring Sting not done
  • Oct 18, 2004: On a Sting and a prayer
  • Oct 16, 2004: Warrior & Sting headline NYC signing

  • CANOE.CA SLAM!