Born: March 20, 1959 | Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska
Billed Hometown: Venice Beach, California | Billed Weight: 250 lbs
Other Aliases: Flash
Born in Nebraska, Steve Borden was raised in Southern California, and played football and basketball in high school, before embarking on a bodybuilding career. Not initially a fan of professional wrestling, he was inspired to enter the business after attending a live WWF event in Los Angeles. In 1985, he began training under Rick Bassman and Red Bastein, and became a member of Powerteam USA, a troupe of bodybuilder/pro wrestlers managed by Bassman.
Going under the name Flash, he was teamed with fellow Powerteam USA member and future star, Jim Hellwig. As The Freedom Fighters, they worked their first territory in Memphis (Continental Wrestling Association). Soon after, they moved onto the Universal Wrestling Federation as The Blade Runners, a team inspired by The Road Warriors, and where he first adopted the name, ‘Sting.’ They were drafted into the top heel group, Eddie Gilbert and Missy Hyatt’s Hot Stuff and Hyatt International, and were involved in Gilbert’s war with UWF owner, Bill Watts.
In the middle of 1986, Hellwig split after an altercation with Watts, while Borden stayed on. He won the UWF World Tag Team titles on three occasions, twice with Gilbert and once with Rick Steiner. Sting turned face when he was blamed for losing the Tag Team Titles (with Steiner) to The Lightening Express (Brad Armstrong and Tim Horner). He was double-teamed by Terry Taylor and Gilbert, and agreed to align with Chris Adams, when Adams made the save.
Jim Crockett Promotions bought the UWF in 1987, and with it came a number of UWF wrestlers, including Sting. Figured in to being a future star, he went to a forty-five minute draw with NWA World Heavyweight champion Ric Flair on March 27, 1988, at the inaugural Clash of the Champions. It would be the start of a famous rivalry, and he would continue to challenge Flair for the title, and tangle with The Four Horsemen. He would also team with Dusty Rhodes to challenge The Road Warriors for the World Tag Team Titles at Starrcade on December 26, where they won by disqualification.
Sting kickstarted the new year of 1989 with a one hour draw against Flair in the Omni, before embarking on his first tour of Japan with All Japan Pro Wrestling. Back in the United States, he captured his first singles championship, when he defeated Mike Rotundo for the Television Title on March 31, 1989 in Atlanta. He then began a memorable programme with The Great Muta; at the Great American Bash, Sting was awarded the victory over Muta, only for replays to show he managed to get the shoulder up (the title was later vacated). In a surprise move, Sting ended up allying with Flair later in the night, when Muta attacked Flair after his match with Terry Funk (whom Flair had been feuding with since WrestleWar the previous year). Sting teamed with Flair and gained a win over Funk and Muta at Halloween Havoc on October 28 in a ‘Thunderdome’ cage match.
Despite losing to Muta for the vacated Television title, he was now put on the path to the main event. Flair had endorsed Sting in becoming a member of The Four Horsemen, but it unraveled quickly when Sting won the Iron Man tournament at Starrcade 1990. He defeated Flair himself to earn the points required to win it, and as a result, was now the number one contender to The Nature Boy’s World Heavyweight Title. At Clash of the Champions X on February 6, he was confronted by the Horsemen about dropping the opportunity for a title shot, but Sting refused, leading to him being dumped from the faction on the spot.
Sting’s journey was put off when he injured his knee later in the night, attempting to climb into the cage during the Horsemen’s match with the J-Tex Corporation. Instead, he accompanied his friend Lex Luger when he challenged Flair at WrestleWar 1990. Sting was injured by Ole Anderson, which caused Luger to be counted out when he chose to check on his friend. While out of action, he continued to make televised appearances, including at Capital Combat, when he was saved by RoboCop from being assaulted by The Horsemen. Eventually, at The Great American Bash on July 7, he bested Flair to earn his first World Heavyweight Title.
At Halloween Havoc (October 27, 1990), Sting defended the title against Horsemen member, Sid Vicious. In the lead-up, he was distracted by a series of cryptic promos and mysterious incidents from a man calling himself The Black Scorpion. At Halloween Havoc, it appeared Sting had lost the match to Sid, shortly after they had fought through the crowd to the back. It was actually another Horsemen member – Barry Windham – dressed as Sting and wearing facepaint. But moments later, the real Sting hit the ring and pinned Sid to regain the title. Then at Starrcade in a steel cage match, Sting got his fight with The Black Scorpion, who had to unmask if he lost; this took place and the mystery man turned out to be Flair.
Sting’s first run as World Champion came to an end when he was defeated by Flair on January 11, 1991 (the same month, WCW left the NWA and it became the WCW World Heavyweight Title). He returned to Japan on March 21 for the first WCW/New Japan supershow, where he lost to The Great Muta in a packed Toyko Dome. However, he got back on the winning trail by beating Steve Austin in a tournament final in August to become United States champion. At Superbrawl on May 19, Sting and Luger challenged The Steiners for the WCW World Tag Team Titles, but were thwarted when Nikita Koloff hit Sting with a chain (he had intended to nail Luger), and the two feuded through the summer.
The US champion teamed with El Gigante and The Steiners against Cactus Jack, Abdullah the Butcher, Big Van Vader and The Diamond Studd in a Chamber of Horrors cage match at Halloween Havoc (October 27). Sting had entered the match after he received two mystery boxes, which when opened revealed Cactus and Abdullah, who then attacked him. Sting’s team won the unusual cage match, and later, was challenged by new arrival Rick Rude, who was revealed later in the programme to have been the masked ‘Halloween Phantom.’ Managed by Paul E Dangerously, they declared war on WCW, and identified Sting as the franchise, leading to the formation of The Dangerous Alliance.
Sting battled Rude at Clash of the Champions on November 19, and lost the United States Title when Luger turned on him (later, Luger explained it was he who had arranged the mystery boxes before Halloween Havoc). Despite all this turmoil, Sting managed to win the inaugural Battlebowl Battle Royale at Starrcade on December 29.
On the January 4, 1992 Tokyo Dome show, Sting and Muta defeated The Steiners in the main event in front of over fifty thousands fans. Sting returned from Japan and got revenge on Luger, defeating him for the WCW World Heavyweight Title at Superbrawl II on February 29. The challenges came thick and fast; his rivalry with Big Van Vader began on April 12, when despite having his ribs injured, he found a way past Vader and keep the title. Sting captained his team (Sting’s Squadron) to victory over The Dangerous Alliance in WarGames on May 17, and then renewed his rivalry with Cactus Jack. He got by Cactus in a falls count anywhere match at Beach Blast on June 20, but lost the title to Vader at The Great American Bash on July 12.
On the August 2, 1992 edition of World Championship Wrestling, Sting ran to the ring to assist Nikita Koloff from a double-team from Rude and Cactus. After disposing of the antagonists, Sting was blindsided by a debuting Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who hit him with two DDT’s onto a steel chair. After a series of tag matches pitting Sting and Koloff against Roberts and Cactus, Sting defeated Roberts in a coal miner’s glove match at Halloween Havoc on October 25.
Sting locked horns with Vader again at Starrcade (December 28) and defeated him to win the ‘King of Cable’ tournament, but lost to Vader in the new year at Superbrawl III in a brutal leather strap match. The World Title changed hands rapidly during WCW’s tour of the United Kingdom; on March 11 in London Sting became champion, but then dropped it back to Vader less than a week later in Dublin, Ireland. Back in the United States, Sting formed an alliance with Davey Boy Smith and faced down Vader and Sid Vicious at Beach Blast 1993 (July 18).
Sting renewed his feud with Rick Rude in 1994, and defeated him for the WCW International Heavyweight Title on April 17 at Spring Stampede. Then on May 1, in Fukuoka, Rude used the belt as a weapon to defeat Sting for the title, but it was over-turned due to the nature of the finish. Sting refused the title in that way, and agreed to wrestle Vader at Slamboree on May 22 and was the victor, before dropping it to Flair on June 23 (the International and World Titles were then unified)
That same month, Sting allied with Hulk Hogan when he arrived in the company, along with “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Together, they battled Kevin Sullivan, The Butcher and Avalanche (The Three Faces of Fear), as well as Flair. Sting became a two-time United States champion when he defeated Meng in a tournament final at The Great American Bash on June 18. He defended the gold against Flair on the debut episode of Monday Nitro on September 4, 1995, and was disqualified when Arn Anderson got involved. At the start of the match, Lex Luger appeared unexpectedly in the aisle (having thought to still be with the World Wrestling Federation), and later challenged Hogan for the World Heavyweight Title.
Sting became the middle-man, urging Hogan and Savage to trust Luger after a series of tense incidents. Sting teamed with Hogan, Savage and Luger to a winning effort over the Dungeon of Doom in WarGames on September 17. Somehow, Flair convinced Sting to team with him against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman at Halloween Havoc, only for Flair to turn on him during the match and reform The Horsemen. The next night on Nitro, Sting refused to release the Scorpion Deathlock on Flair during their match, and beat him at World War III on November 26. Prior, Sting had lost the United States title to Kensuke Sasaki in Japan, but went on to defeat Sasaki at Starrcade on December 27 to give WCW a 4-3 victory over New Japan in the ‘World Cup of Wrestling.’
He turned back to tag team action when he and Luger went after the World Tag Team titles, primarily battling Harlem Heat. Sting kept to the rulebook and showed respect to his opponents, while Luger routinely took short-cuts. Somehow, it worked, and they beat Harlem Heat on the January 22, 1996 edition of Nitro for the belts. Sting challenged The Giant for the World Title on May 19’s Slamboree, only for Luger to accidentally cost him the title. Due to the mutual respect Sting had for Harlem Heat, Booker T substituted for Luger in a successful title defense against The Road Warriors. Sting and Luger held the Tag Titles until the June 24, 1996 Nitro, losing them back to Harlem Heat.
The entire landscape of WCW changed when former WWF star Scott Hall (formerly Razor Ramon) declared war on the company on the May 27, 1996 Nitro. At the end of the programme, Hall threatened Eric Bischoff at the announce table, which brought out Sting. The following week, Hall was joined by Kevin Nash (formerly WWF star Diesel). They challenged WCW to a three-on-three bout for Bash at the Beach on July 7, with WCW choosing Sting, Luger and Savage. Hall and Nash’s third man was not revealed until right at the end of the bout, when Hogan turned on Sting and Savage (Luger had earlier been injured and stretchered out) and formed the New World Order.
Sting and Luger convinced Flair and Arn to bench Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael and have them team up against the nWo in WarGames on September 15. Leading up to the big event, Luger was attacked by a man in the parking lot on the September 9 Nitro, who looked very much like Sting, and appeared to be aligned with the nWo. Sting strongly denied it was him, but Luger, Flair and Arn chose not to believe him. They went down a man short for WarGames, while a man dressed and looking like Sting did appear on the nWo team.
The real Sting then showed up, entered the cage and took down the imposter, before taking off. The following night on Nitro, he made an unscheduled appearance and cut an angry promo on everyone who had doubted him – particularly Luger – and then declared himself a “free agent.” After a short tour of Japan, Sting returned on the October 21, 1996 Nitro and went after the nWo Sting, now wearing black-and-white face-paint and a long, black trench-coat. He continued to attack the nWo’s Sting, with the rest of the group standing back, hoping to entice the real version to join them. This new-look Sting – inspired by Brandon Lee’s film “The Crow” – chose not to speak or wrestle for over a year, and hid in the rafters of the arenas with a black baseball bat.
Sting rappelled down from the ceiling for the first time on the January 20, 1997 Nitro to confront Savage. Savage had returned after a sabbatical in which he claimed to have been “blackballed” by Bischoff – now a member of the nWo – unless he joined the group. Savage sat in the ring and held up the show until Sting arrived. After a tense standoff in which Sting handed Savage the bat and turned his back on him, Savage chose to return it and leave the ring with him. Sting and Savage appeared to be allies again, until Savage joined the nWo at Superbrawl VII on February 23. Sting looked like he may join Savage until Uncensored on March 16, when he attacked Hall, Nash and Savage to reveal his allegiance was still with World Championship Wrestling. Commissioner JJ Dillon attempted to get Sting to sign a contract to return to the ring and failed, until offering him a shot at Hogan for the World Heavyweight Title. The match – Sting’s first in over eighteen months – took place at what would be the company’s biggest pay-per-view in history on December 28, 1997 at Starrcade.
Sting initially lost the match when Hogan hit the leg drop and referee Nick Patrick counted three. However, in what would be one of wrestling’s most infamous botches, Patrick had meant to do a fast-count to favour Hogan (Patrick had formerly been a referee for the nWo), but instead did a regulation three. New company arrival Bret Hart – who had earlier been the special referee for the Bischoff/Larry Zybysko bout – ordered the match be restarted due to the ‘fast count.’ Not long after, Sting made Hogan submit to the Scorpion Deathlock and was soon engulfed by the entire locker room. The celebrations did not last long; the following night on Nitro, Hogan got a rematch due to the controversial finish. Again, the match was marred with interference so Dillon chose to vacate the title. Sting regained the championship by beating Hogan at Superbrawl VIII on February 23, 1998, when Savage turned on Hogan.
Savage challenged Sting for the title and defeated him at Spring Stampede on April 19, after help from Nash. A civil war in the nWo erupted when Savage challenged Hogan for the leadership; on the May 4 Nitro after Savage lost the title to Hogan, a red-and-black nWo Wolfpac was formed by Savage, Nash and Konnan. Both nWo Wolfpac and the now-called nWo Hollywood wanted Sting in their ranks leading into Slamboree on May 17, as Sting and The Giant were set to take on Hall and Nash for the Tag Team Titles. Right before the pay-per-view, The Giant inexplicably joined nWo Hollywood, and when Hall turned on Nash, Sting and The Giant became reluctant World Tag Team champions. Luger joined The Wolfpac on May 25 and urged Sting to do the same; the following week, Sting obliged. Now wearing red-and-black face-paint, he returned to his vocal self, and most of the remnants of his “Crow-era” Sting were gone, with the exception of the baseball bat.
Sting defeated The Giant at The Great American Bash on June 14 to gain control of both Tag Team Title belts, and chose Nash as his partner. Sting and Bret Hart then began feuding when “The Hitman” turned on Sting during his match with Hogan on Nitro. Bret revealed himself to be an ‘associate’ of nWo Hollywood, and complained that Sting used “his” finisher (Sting’s Scorpion Deathlock being similar to Bret’s Sharpshooter). At Halloween Havoc, Sting was badly injured when Bret worked him over with his own baseball bat, and was gone for several months. By the time he returned (March 1999) the nWo Wolfpac/Hollywood storyline had ended, and he went back to using the black-and-white Crow face-paint. On the April 26, 1999 edition of Nitro, he defeated Diamond Dallas Page to become World Heavyweight champion. Later in the night, a four-way match was made for the title, and this time Page pinned Nash to reclaim the belt.
At Bash at the Beach on July 11, Sting teamed with the now-World champion Nash against Savage and Sid Vicious in an odd stipulation bout where if Nash was pinned, he would lose the title (Savage pinned Nash to become champion). Ric Flair became President of WCW when he defeated Bischoff, and while at first he ran things fair and square, he soon became drunk with power. On the July 19 Nitro, Sting defeated Flair to end his Presidency. Sting and Hogan – now back in the red-and-yellow – became allies again, until Sting turned on him at Fall Brawl and used his baseball bat to beat him to become World Heavyweight champion for the sixth occasion. He retained the title against Hogan in strange circumstances at Halloween Havoc 1999 on October 24 when Hogan – in street clothes – allowed Sting to pin him. Later, Sting issued an open challenge and in a non-title bout, was beaten by Goldberg. Sting disputed the decision and attacked referee Charles Robinson, causing him to be stripped of the title the following night on Nitro.
Sting entered the tournament to crown a new World champion and reached the semi-finals, where he lost to eventual winner Bret Hart at the Mayhem pay-per-view on November 21 in Toronto, Canada. He got into a feud with his old friend Luger, whom he defeated by disqualification at Starrcade 2000 in December but was injured after being hit with a chair and a baseball bat; he returned to beat Luger at Uncensored on March 19, 2000. On April 10, 2000, WCW was reset by the new creative team of Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff, which caused all titles to be vacated. Sting was entered into a tournament for the United States belt and reached the final against Scott Steiner at Spring Stampede 2000, only to lose after interference from Vampiro. The two wrestled in a graveyard and then in a ‘human torch’ match, which Sting lost when ‘he’ was set on fire. After being injured at the hands of Steiner, Sting was off television and did not return until the final Nitro broadcast on March 26, 2001, where fittingly, he worked against “The Nature Boy,” Ric Flair.
After the sale of WCW to Vince McMahon, Sting appeared for World Wrestling All-stars, and toured countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. He won the WWA World Title on December 13, 2002 against Lex Luger in Switzerland, and held it until May 25, 2003 when he lost to NWA World Heavyweight champion, Jeff Jarrett, in New Zealand. Sting began a long and successful tenure with TNA, starting with sporadic appearances in 2003-04 before going full-time in 2006. He won the TNA World Title on four occasions, co-held the Tag Team Titles with Kurt Angle and became NWA World Heavyweight champion again when he beat Jarrett at Bound for Glory on October 22, 2006. He was a part of the top heel stable – The Main Event Mafia – and by the end of his run, began using a Joker-inspired character. His final match for the company was January 23, 2014.
Sting finally made it to the now-World Wrestling Entertainment, making his debut appearance at the Survivor Series on November 23, 2014, where he attacked Triple H and helped Team Cena defeat The Authority. He went on to face Triple H at Wrestlemania XXXI in a losing effort, and after injuring his neck during a bout with Seth Rollins at Night of Champions, opted to retire during his WWE Hall of Fame speech on April 2, 2016. He has said in interviews the reason it took so long for him to get to WWE was due to loyalty to WCW, and concerns that he would not be booked decently, based on what happened to other WCW talent after the 2001 buy-out.
He came out of retirement after signing a multi-year deal with All Elite Wrestling at the end of 2020. Sting aligned with Darby Allin and a worked a pre-taped ‘street fight’ with Darby against Brian Cage and Ricky Starks which aired on March 7’s Revolution pay-per-view. In front of a live crowd, he teamed again with Darby against Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page at the Double or Nothing event (May 30). For the most part, he serves as an adviser and mentor for Darby, and wrestles infrequently.