Sting in March 2015
|Birth name||Steve Borden|
|Born||March 20, 1959 
|Residence||Dallas, Texas, United States|
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Blade Runner Flash
Blade Runner Sting
|Billed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Billed weight||250 lb (110 kg)|
|Billed from||Venice Beach, California
Every Man’s Nightmare
|Trained by||Red Bastien
|Debut||November 28, 1985|
Steve Borden, Sr. (born March 20, 1959), better known by the ring name Sting, is an American professional wrestler, actor, author and former bodybuilder, currently signed to WWE. Sting is known for his time spent as the public face of two major pro wrestling companies: the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW), which displaced the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) as the leading pro wrestling organization in the United States from 1995–1998; and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). With a career spanning more than three decades, Borden has cultivated a legacy as one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time.
Sting’s 14-year tenure with WCW and its predecessor, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), began in 1987. Dubbed “The Franchise of WCW”, Sting held a total of 15 championships in the promotion – including the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on six occasions, the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship on two occasions, and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on one occasion – and made more pay-per-view (PPV) appearances for the company than any other wrestler. He headlined the highest-grossing PPV event in WCW history at Starrcade 1997. Upon the acquisition of WCW by the WWF in March 2001, Sting and his long-term rival Ric Flair were chosen to perform in the main event of the final episode of Nitro.
Following the expiration of his contract with WCW’s parent company, AOL Time Warner, in March 2002, Borden held talks with the WWF but ultimately did not join the promotion, instead touring internationally with World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA) – winning the WWA World Heavyweight Championship – before joining the then-upstart TNA in 2003. Over the following 11 years, he won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on one further occasion and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship four times, and was the inaugural inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame in 2012. Previously described by WWE as the greatest wrestler never to have performed for that promotion, Sting finally joined the company in 2014, making his first appearance at Survivor Series and having his debut match at WrestleMania 31 the following year.
Sting has held 25 total championships throughout his career, including 21 between WCW and TNA. Readers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated named him “Most Popular Wrestler of the Year” on four occasions, a record he shares with John Cena. On January 11, 2016, Sting was announced as the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2016: this renders him the only performer to be inducted into both the WWE and TNA Hall of Fame, as well as the second man to be inducted while an active WWE wrestler, after Ric Flair.
Borden was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised in Southern California. He excelled at football and basketball in high school, and later embarked on a career in bodybuilding, once co-owning a Gold’s Gym health club. Borden is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles. He had no interest in professional wrestling and no television access to it within his home community, but decided to pursue a career in the industry after being taken to an “incredible” World Wrestling Federation (WWF) event in Los Angeles where he saw Hulk Hogan, The Iron Sheik, The British Bulldogs, André the Giant, and others perform.
Professional wrestling career
Continental Wrestling Association (1985–1986)
Borden, originally wrestling under the ring name Flash, teamed with Jim “Justice” Hellwig as two members of Power Team USA in independent All-California Championship Wrestling. Power Team USA was a four-man unit also featuring Garland “Glory” Donahoe and Mark “Commando” Miller, plus manager Rick Bassman. Hellwig and Borden later moved to the Continental Wrestling Association, a wrestling company based in Memphis, Tennessee and became known as the Freedom Fighters. Fans were slow to respond to the lumbering hulks, so the team turned heel. The Freedom Fighters left the CWA after an uneventful run, the highlight of which was an angle in which they broke the leg of veteran wrestler Phil Hickerson.
Universal Wrestling Federation (1986–1987)
The duo surfaced in the Universal Wrestling Federation, an organization run by Bill Watts and based in Shreveport, Louisiana where they were known as the Blade Runners. Borden changed his ring name from Flash to Sting, while Hellwig became known as Rock. They soon joined Hotstuff & Hyatt International, a heel stable headed by “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert and Missy Hyatt. Together with “Russian” wrestler Kortsia Korchenko, the Blade Runners became henchmen in Gilbert’s on-screen feud with Watts. Hellwig, who would later become The Ultimate Warrior in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, then WWE), left the promotion in mid-1986, leaving Sting without a partner. Sting won the UWF World Tag Team Championship twice with Gilbert in 1986 and a third time with Rick Steiner in 1987.
Following a match against Terry Taylor in mid-1987, Gilbert interfered on Taylor’s behalf, costing Sting the match. Taylor and Gilbert ganged up on Sting until Gentleman Chris Adams came to Sting’s aid. Adams cleared the ring and then asked Sting if he was with him or against him in his feud with Taylor and Gilbert. Sting turned face by declaring his allegiance to Adams.
Behind the scenes, Gilbert endorsed Borden by telling a dirt sheet that Sting would be a megastar in the future. Later that year, Sting was tabbed to win the UWF Television Championship, then held by Gilbert, until Jim Crockett of the National Wrestling Alliance bought the company from Watts. Crockett’s booker, Dusty Rhodes, decided to put the Television title on Taylor to set up a feud between Taylor and NWA Television Champion Nikita Koloff to unify the two titles. Rhodes used then-unknown Shane Douglas as the transitional champion from Gilbert to Taylor because Rhodes did not want to diminish Sting’s growing stardom with a brief title run.
Jim Crockett Promotions/World Championship Wrestling
Rise to stardom (1987–1989)
Sometime after Sting’s arrival to the NWA in July 1987, Dusty Rhodes used the opening bout of Crockett’s first foray into pay-per-view, Starrcade ’87, to showcase the young superstar. Sting partnered with Michael P.S. Hayes and Jimmy Garvin in a six-man tag team match against Gilbert, Steiner, and Larry Zbyszko that ended in a 15-minute time-limit draw.
Having established himself as a rising star, Sting was one of the few UWF alumni to be pushed in the NWA. At the inaugural Clash of the Champions in March 1988, Sting challenged Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The match ended in a draw after the 45-minute time limit expired and the ringside judges could not declare a winner. Sting lost to Flair in several non-televised rematches following the Clash and, later that year, battled other members of Flair’s stable, the Four Horsemen. Sting teamed with Koloff at The Great American Bash in July 1988 to challenge Horsemen Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson for the NWA World Tag Team Championship; Blanchard and Anderson retained the titles when the match ended in a 20-minute time-limit draw.
Rhodes continued to book Sting in title matches throughout the year against both NWA United States Champion Barry Windham and NWA Television Champion Mike Rotunda. In the fall of 1988, Sting was attacked by Hawk and Animal of The Road Warriors after a televised match. Rhodes, as booker, identified Sting as the face who was most over with the fans, despite knowing that turning the Road Warriors heel would be no easy task. Rhodes himself teamed with Sting to challenge the Road Warriors for the tag team championship at Starrcade ’88 that December. Rhodes and Sting got the win by disqualification, allowing the Road Warriors to retain the titles.
Sting returned to singles matches in 1989, starting the year off by wrestling Flair to a one-hour draw in Atlanta’s Omni on New Year’s Day. He would also have his first experience in Japan with a brief tour in All Japan Pro Wrestling, with his most notable match in AJPW against Dan Spivey on January 25. After a long push, Sting won his first title in the NWA when he defeated Rotundo for the NWA Television Championship at a live event in March. Sting defended the Television title actively but tended to face sub-par challengers such as The Iron Sheik. In mid-1989, The Great Muta challenged Sting at The Great American Bash. The match was booked with a classic, controversial Dusty Finish even though Rhodes (the namesake of the technique) had been fired months earlier. Sting got the three-count and was announced as the winner, but a replay showed Muta’s shoulder was up at the count of two. The NWA decided to declare the title vacant. Sting and Muta battled in many rematches for the vacant Television title, but they always ended in disqualification, giving neither man the championship. Eventually, Muta won a No Disqualification match against Sting at a live event in September by using a blackjack to get the win and the title.
In the main event of that year’s Great American Bash, Flair defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Terry Funk, who was a member of Gary Hart‘s J-Tex Corporation. After Flair got the victory, he was attacked by Funk’s stablemate, Muta. Sting came to the aid of his old rival Flair, and the two feuded with Muta and Funk for the rest of the summer and fall, culminating in a Thunderdome Cage match between the two teams, which Flair and Sting won, at Halloween Havoc ’89. The alliance with Flair resulted in Sting joining the newly reformed and now-face Four Horsemen along with the Andersons, Arn and Ole.
Sting finished out the year by winning a four-man round-robin Iron Man tournament at Starrcade ’89. In the final match of the night, Sting defeated Flair to accumulate the necessary points to win the tournament. The victory made Sting the number one contender for Flair’s NWA World title, leading to tension within the Four Horsemen.
Feud with the Four Horsemen (1990–1991)
Sting was summarily dismissed from the Four Horsemen on February 6, 1990, at Clash of the Champions X: Texas Shootout after refusing to relinquish his title shot against Flair, thus restarting their rivalry. Later that evening, Borden suffered a legitimate knee injury while interfering in a Steel Cage match featuring the Horsemen.
Borden’s injury forced the bookers of World Championship Wrestling, the dominant promotion in the NWA, to find a new opponent for Flair for the forthcoming WrestleWar pay-per-view event. Lex Luger was chosen to challenge Flair at WrestleWar. During the match between Flair and Luger, Sting came down to motivate Luger to come back and beat Flair. Before this Sting and Luger had been at odds. When Luger was close to winning Sting was attacked by Ole Anderson. Luger opted to save the already injured Sting and ended up losing the match by countout while assisting his friend. Behind the scenes, WCW officials had wanted Flair to drop the title to Luger at WrestleWar, but Flair refused, saying he had promised Borden he would hold the title until Borden could return to the ring.
Despite the injury, Sting was still utilized on television and pay per views when necessary. At the Capital Combat event in May, Sting was accosted by the Four Horsemen and thrown into a metal cage at ringside. In a promotional crossover, Sting was rescued by his buddy RoboCop.
After Borden’s recovery, Sting finally defeated Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on July 7, 1990, at the The Great American Bash. Sting went on to feud with title contenders Flair and Sid Vicious. Vicious appeared to defeat Sting in a title match at the 1990 Halloween Havoc, but the “Sting” that Vicious pinned was revealed to be an impostor played by Horseman Barry Windham. The real Sting appeared soon after and pinned Vicious to retain his title after the match was restarted.
During Sting’s title run, a masked man known as The Black Scorpion would taunt and attack Sting on many occasions. This feud culminated in a final showdown between Sting and The Black Scorpion at Starrcade: Collision Course in December. The cage match ended with Sting pinning and unmasking the Scorpion, who turned out to be Flair in disguise.