WWE – Sting – Into The Light (Cert 15)
3 Discs DVD/2 Discs BD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 76 minutes approx.
In November of 2014 the unthinkable finally happened – the Icon Sting made his WWE debut at the Survivor Series. Now almost a year later we finally get a retrospective on the storied career of a modern wrestling legend and the man behind the face paint.
The documentary portion begins ironically enough with Steve Borden leaving WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut having just agreed to a deal with the one major wrestling company he had famously not worked for in his thirty year career. We then meet the man himself as he returns to his parents’ home for a look through a well-preserved photo album and the early life of the man who would become one of the most popular wrestlers of the modern era.
Initially Steve Borden was a basketball player until his older brother, now a pastor, got him into bodybuilding. As we know from past interviews with Ultimate Warrior, Borden met Jim Hellwig and the pair were spotted working out and were invited to train as wrestlers. Borden’s parents were hesitant but gave their blessing and the rest, as they say, is history.
Jerry Jarrett talks about how he invited Borden and Hellwig to Memphis and we see their disastrous debut as the Freedom Fighters (the complete match is in the extras) which led to their quick release before being picked up by Bill Watts in Mid South/UWF, where they were just as uncoordinated. Luckily Sting applied himself to improving and was one of the few UWF wrestlers to make the move to Jim Crockett Promotions after Watts sold them his company.
Throughout the presentation we flit between the past and the present day as Steve Borden goes about his life, from visiting Titan Towers to negotiate with Triple H and chat with the marketing bods about merchandise and the like. We meet Borden’s two adult sons, his future wife (the feature ends with their wedding) and take a trip to the warehouse in which every piece of Sting merchandise, memorabilia and his ring gear is in storage.
Similar to Daniel Bryan in his DVD, Borden is a very humble and grounded man. He takes his success and status as a star wrestler in his stride and talks about the importance of family, a key factor for staying with WCW for so long, as the punishing WWE schedule wouldn’t have afforded him the opportunity to be a regular presence in his son’s lives.
As we know Borden found religion in the late 90’s and gingerly explains that it was the ending of his first marriage caused by his “other life” on the road that saw him seek a better path. I guess having a preacher for a brother has its advantages. Of his trusted friends, Lex Luger and Rick Steiner are the two featured the most and have nothing but love for Borden.
It’s interesting that the balance between Sting’s wrestling career and home life in this feature means that his wrestling career isn’t broken down into feuds and title wins as others usually are. This is more about the man Steve Borden which may disappoint some fans but he is such a warm and amiable presence that it is refreshing to see someone of his lofty status be so unaffected by his achievements.
One revealing tale concerning backstage politics features the huge Starrcade 97 match against Hogan which failed to live up to the year plus long hype although it was WCW’s biggest grossing PPV ever. As Eric Bischoff explains, Hogan didn’t want to do Sting “the favour” and was upset that Sting didn’t see it his way, basically telling us that Hogan typically refused to do the job hence the screwy (and screwed up) finish we got.
This is ironic as Borden says that Hogan was a Sting supporter and praises him for getting him acting gigs and the like; shame Hogan didn’t feel that way when he usurped Sting as the top face in WCW in 1994 or couldn’t “support” him at Starrcade. But I digress.
With many of Sting’s famous matches having already been included in his previous DVD and other WCW related releases, the real gems in the selection here come once again from the archives. The early Freedom Fighters/Blade Runners matches are Botchamania worthy but the startling difference just a year or so later in Sting as seen in the classic 45 minute Clash Of Champions match against Ric Flair is borderline miraculous.
Arguably the most fascinating match is the first ever showdown against Hogan from Nitro in 1995. This was the first time the WCW fans booed Hogan, who was in the middle of a nonsensical storyline with the Dungeon Of Doom, which saw Hogan, sans moustache, wearing black and acting heelish towards anyone who didn’t believe in him.
It should be noted that Sting’s original WCW entrance music has been overdubbed with an ersatz generic rock replacement, while the commentary for a COC match against Rick Rude has been muted, despite Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura both visible at ringside calling the action. We know why Ventura has been wiped, but usually they leave in JR’s calling of the action.
As ever this is another top-notch WWE production and Sting/Steve Borden makes for an interesting subject by remaining an enigma for so long by NOT working for WWE. The format is refreshingly different and Borden is very honest – he even mentions TNA!! – but 76 minutes doesn’t feel sufficient for someone with such an illustrious career, and could have benefited from more insight into his thoughts at certain incidents, matches and events.
Unquestionably this particular release has been one long overdue for fans of the Icon, and the result is a great opportunity for the faithful and the neophytes alike to finally get up close and personal with the Man Called Sting!
English SDH Subtitles
Getting Chased at the Mall
WCW SuperBrawl ’91
Behind the Scenes: ID Shoot
WrestleMania XXXI Axxess
NWA Clash Of Champions II – June 8th 1988 – NWA Wold Tag Title Match – Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (c) vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes
WCW Saturday Night November 7th 1992 – King Of Cable Tournament Match – Sting vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman
WCW Monday Nitro – May 27th 1996 – Sting vs. Scott Steiner
WCW Spring Stampede – April 16th 2000 – WCW US Title Tournament Match – Sting vs. Booker
WWE Fastlane – February 22nd 2015 – Sting and Triple Face To Face Confrontation
WWE Monday Night RAW – March 23rd 2015 – Sting Speaks!
Rating – **** ½
Man In Black