Sting (wrestling)

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Steve Borden (1959-) is better known to wrestling fans as "the man called" Sting; he has served as a professional wrestler since 1985. The majority of his career was spent in WCW, where he became one of the company's biggest stars during the 1990s. Starting off as a bleached-blonde surfer-type, he eventually transitioned into the Crow-inspired look that he's retained to this day while feuding with the New World Order. Sting was a member of the WCW roster up until the company's demise in 2001, and wrestled in that company's last match, defeating longtime foe Ric Flair. Notably, Sting has never once worked for WWE in any capacity since WCW's demise[1], choosing instead to have control over his career and gimmick. In 2006, he became an on-again/off-again member of the TNA roster, and has been working in that promotion to date.

As usual, That Other Wiki has a nice, long article on his career.

(Do not confuse with the trope, the musician (Gordon Sumner), the film, the dagger used by Frodo and his Uncle, or the painful infliction of the same name.)


Sting (wrestling) provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Achilles in His Tent: All of 1997.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: For some weird reason, there are tons of comparisons between Sting and The Undertaker.
  • American Accents: Born in Nebraska, but grew up in Los Angeles; his California accent can be quite prominent when he speaks.
  • Animal Motif: The Scorpion.
  • Arch Enemy: Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Lex Luger, and the New World Order.
  • Batman Gambit: Disrespected Hulk Hogan in front of Ric Flair to get Flair angry enough to call the match between the two of them back on after Hogan convinced Flair not to. Ironic considering his present gimmick.
  • Batter Up: His Weapon of Choice.
  • Badass Longcoat: Once he made the transition to "Crow" Sting, he got one.
  • Badass Pacifist: On Feb. 19, 2015 episode of RAW, he shows up during a 3 on 1 handicap match. All he did was just show up and points to the ring while standing there. This caught the attention of The Authority and guy in the ring with Seth Rollins, Big Show, and Kane were fighting. This resulted in a win for Cena, who saw a chance to pin Rollins.
  • The Cassandra: When Sting saw through Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff's good guy personas in TNA and knew they were plotting to Take Over the World, only Kevin Nash, D'Angelo Dinero, and smarks believed him in his Necessarily Evil crusade.
    • Also a subversion of Crying Wolf, as this was the one notable time he saw the evil plan coming before it happened rather than naively embody the Good Is Dumb and Stupid Good tropes. However, because he had to be cryptic with the hints (possibly so as not to catch a slander case due to absence of evidence), and possibly in part because of his history of failure as a judge of character, few believed him.
  • The Comically Serious: His "Crow" gimmick. Inverted with his "Joker" gimmick.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's 53 and he's still wrestling for TNA as of 2012.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite the gothic style, Scorpion motifs, and omnipresent black bat, Sting is pretty much always a face even as a designated heel.
    • One of his gimmicks for much of 2011 took a good bit of inspiration from The Dark Knight version of The Joker, including face paint, being Laughing Mad, and even having a small horde of clown masked Mooks. And yet he was most certainly a face.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy Character Development: Sting is considered to be the "dumbest man in wrestling" because of how many times he's allowed himself to be duped and betrayed over the years, infamously trusting the Four Horsemen twice. Things began to change in the middle of his career with TNA, as he began making Designated Heel Turns for necessary causes and each time his plans came to fruition somehow.
    • We start in 2008 with his helping to organize the Main Event Mafia because he felt the younger guys in TNA were getting too disrespectful. He spoke and acted upon his cause before the group officially formed, and even became its de facto honor figurehead through virtue of walking in having just won the World Heavyweight title. He expected most of the members to eventually betray him all along, and at the end of the day, the measures he took to be the Token Good Teammate led to younger guys accepting his help in fighting the Mafia afterward and he left after the Bound for Glory main event in 2009, in which new world champion AJ Styles beat him to retain the title and then gave him the floor as a sign of ultimate respect.
    • Come the entry of Hulk Hogan into TNA. Sting was seen watching Hogan carefully up in the rafters on Day 1, which Smart Mark fans instantly knew meant he didn't trust him. Next time he showed up a couple of months later was actually teasing a 3-on-2 with Hogan and Abyss against Ric Flair and AJ, but instead turned it the other way around. From there he continued attacking Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and anyone they seemed to be promoting above the rest of the talent, only speaking in cryptic language and hints knowing some of the fans would catch on, rather than shout what he knew/suspected from the rooftops and make himself looks like the typical jealous distrustful bastard against the hot new toy in town that you see at least once on every television show. And he was right on the money. Not only did Hogan and Bischoff indeed out themselves at BFG 10.10.10 as being Evil All Along, but EVERYONE who Sting attacked over the last seven months leading up to it was either in on their conspiracy or somebody being used.
      Sure, he was painted as a jealous, bitter glory hound just the same (scaring Dixie Carter didn't exactly work in his favor), and he couldn't stop Immortal from coming, but there were results. He began the fight against Hogan, and got two wrestlers curious enough to eventually join him (both after talking to Miss Tessmacher), one of whom has vowed to carry the fight with Immortal (although Pope Dinero only lasted a cup of coffee before becoming a Sinister Minister because making money imitating Michael Vick seemed like a better idea than constantly failing against Abyss). The dumbest man in wrestling has certainly grown a brain in 2010.
      • During this period he once hid underneath a mask to ambush Rob Van Dam. What kind of mask? A Sting one.
    • And this brain continued to show in 2011. He came back in March (which seems to be a regular thing for him) and defeated Immortal's Dragon Champion Antichrist Jeff Hardy for the World Heavyweight title (and retained in an infamous squash which even he vocally agreed was bullshit) thanks to some aid from an anonymous network representative which turned out to be Mick Foley. Sting and his network buddy pretty much sabotaged Immortal at every turn, even as Hogan claimed full ownership of the company from Dixie thanks to a court case full of eternal failure.
      Then Mick got fired and Sting got screwed out of the title. Obfuscating Insanity followed suit, Heath Ledger Joker style. The night of his rematch with Mr. Anderson, who by now had taken a Deal with the Devil, he had five guys dressed as Monster Clowns run around taking out Immortal so they couldn't interfere. Four of them were Fortune, eliminating pretty much everyone in Immortal backstage. One was Kurt Angle, cutting off Bully Ray's interference during the match itself. Sting pinned Anderson and is champion again because of this trope. Even better, Fortune stated that Bully Ray was taken care of, one possible implication being that Sting told them not to go after Ray, meaning he saw the interference coming and perfectly planned for it to work to his advantage, capitalizing on the distraction Angle caused by taking out Bully Ray to pin Anderson for the title. This last paragraph wasn't a designated heel turn and he's still the face, btw, so he's actually been completely averting his once usual pattern of Good Is Dumb. Safe to say, he's no longer the idiot from WCW.
    • Then there was the night he got Hogan to snap into an Open Mouth, Insert Foot, which eventually led to Hogan's face turn as well as the end of any semblance of power for Immortal. For more details, see TNA.
  • Darker and Edgier His "Crow" gimmick.
  • Dye Hard
  • Enemy Mime: You might have been forgiven for mistaking him for one during the last few months of 1996 and most of 1997, what with the whiteface, frowning black mouth, and silent treatment. But this trope was ultimately averted because 1) Sting eventually did start speaking again; 2) he was always meant to be Dark Is Not Evil; and 3) the makeup itself eventually Took a Level In Badass (see Growing the Beard below).
  • Enforced Method Acting: For Victory Road 2011, Sting looked absolutely pissed off and managed to destroy Jeff Hardy in less than two minutes. Why? Jeff was so drugged out of his mind, he couldn't actually wrestle. Sting's barely contained rage was completely legit; when he was walking back up the ramp, a fan can be heard shouting, "THAT WAS BULLSHIT!" after the finish. Sting turns to the off-camera fan, and in plain view of the TNA cameras, shouts, "I agree! I agree!"
  • Face: One of wrestling's best known and constant.
  • Face Heel Turn: Attempted and denied. WCW tried turning him heel in 1999, and the fans completely no-sold the turn, cheering Sting over all the babyfaces and booing everyone who tried to "bring him to justice". After a month or two they just dropped the angle, re-turned him face and pretended it never happened.
    • He recently underwent another Face Heel Turn in TNA after attacking Hulk Hogan on the first Monday night edition of TNA Impact. It lasted for about ten months, and he only turned face because Hogan himself turned heel.
    • And he only turned heel because he knew Hogan was Evil All Along but also that nobody would ever listen long enough to see it.
  • Fan Nickname: "The Dumbest Man In Professional Wrestling". See Stupid Good below.
    • On /wooo/, "Steve", thanks to a dirtsheet typo that identified him as Steve "Steve" Borden.
    • "Brother Borden" - In reference to his deep Christian beliefs.
    • "Lobster Sting" - Due his face paint being mostly red as a member of the nWo Wolfpac.
    • "Real Estate Steve" - Referencing his no make-up, suit-wearing Main Event Mafia run. Long story short, MMA Fighter Frank Trigg knew a guy who owned a lot of property his town nicknamed Real Estate Steve and found out he was Sting at a TNA show.
  • Finishing Move: For most of his career, the Scorpion Death Lock submission, which many people attribute as stealing from Bret Hart's Sharpshooter, but in fact can be attributed to Japanese wrestler Riki Choshu (it helped that the actual name Choshu used, "Scorpion Lock", for looking like a scorpion upon execution, fit Sting's gimmick). Later, Sting would add the Scorpion Death Drop, a DDT variation, as an impact finisher--this would later be demoted to mere Signature Move.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In an episode of Thursday Night Impact that aired just before the Bound For Glory pay-per-view in October 2010, "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero, accompanied by Kevin Nash and Sting, came to Taz and Mike Tenay's broadcast booth to do commentary. Sting was not in whiteface, but was still recognizable thanks to the familiar black baseball bat he was carrying. While on commentary, Pope quipped (in an obvious Shout-Out to Batman Forever): "Riddle me this, riddle me that. Who's the man with the big black bat?" Taz and Mike Tenay assumed he was referring to Sting, but Pope was actually talking about his... uh, own "big black bat".
    • Also an in-universe example, since Pope basically just revealed the nature of the encounter where he got the details on Hogan and Bischoff's plan that got him to decide to finally join Sting and Nash (*cough* Miss Tessmacher *cough*).
  • Good Is Dumb: The constant recipient to Massive Multiplayer Scams in WCW.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Near the end of WCW, and during the Main Event Mafia's run in TNA.
  • Important Haircut: Inverted. He grew out his hair during WCW's peak in the late 90s.
  • Insult Backfire: Robert Roode called him a lunatic repeatedly before an impromptu match with Bully Ray on 3/8. He considered it a compliment and repeatedly thanked Roode.
  • The Jimmy Hart Version: One of his TNA theme songs mimicked Metallica's "Seek And Destroy".
    • And in WCW, he actually DID use a live performance of "Seek and Destroy" as his theme; this is overdubbed on WWE DVDs.
    • That would be a case of "what goes around, comes around", since his theme in the late 80's/early 90's as Malibu!Sting (titled "Turbo-Charged") was an NWA Version of "Seek and Destroy" (right around the same time his old partner "Ultimate Warrior" Jim Helwig used Jimmy Hart's version of the song, titled "Unstable" on WWE Anthology, as his theme in the WWF, in fact).
  • Laughing Mad: As part of his current mind games with Hogan. This includes laughing his head off as he's getting beat up. That really got under Hogan's skin, which was likely exactly what he had in mind.
  • Logic Bomb: "The only thing that's for sure about Sting... is that nothing's for sure." (the last words he ever spoke before transitioning into his "Crow" gimmick).
  • Looks Like Cesare: "Crow" Sting.
  • Mass "Oh Crap": Whenever he shows up just as the Authority was about to gain an unfair victory.
  • Monster Clown: Played with as part of his "Joker" gimmick, but he's still basically a good guy.
  • Perky Gothic Punk: "Crow" Sting.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Who would have ever guessed that this grotesquely painted savage is a Nebraska-born boy-next-door - and born-again Christian, at that?
    • If "I agree! I agree!" doesn't become one, it'll be a shock.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: His name evokes the scorpion, whose nasty telson on its rear has enough venom to kill most small animals.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Has recently done this, acting like The Dark Knight incarnation of The Joker and generally pretending to be totally crazy to get under Hulk Hogan and Immortal's skin.
    • And now he's channeling this persona again to attack Bobby Roode.
  • Odd Friendship: With Lex Luger.
  • Offscreen Teleportation
  • Redemption Demotion: During a Heel Face Turn.
    • Subverted most recently. He kept what he had during the previous Heel run and actually got even tougher.
  • Shout-Out: Seems to have worked in traits of The Dark Knight version of The Joker into his character recently, including face paint and having a Laughing Mad mentality.
  • Stupid Good: Sting was welcomed into the Four Horsemen, only to be turned on and kicked out of the group by Ric Flair. And this happened twice. In fact, Sting has for most of his career pretty much embodied Stupid Good, almost always trusting the people who were setting him up.
    • Surprisingly, TNA gradually went from subverting this a lot to completely averting it.
    • May have started going right backwards again, though, with his angle with Bobby Roode since becoming the Impact Wrestling GM.
  • What Could Have Been: Sting was approached to wrestle The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXVII, but turned it down for the same reason he's never worked for WWE: because he disliked Vince McMahon's treatment of former WCW talent. Despite the age of both competitors, it could've been a dream match between two of the industries biggest and longest-lasting stars.
  • White Mask of Doom: Sting's trademark appearance since 1996.
  1. Although a new WWE Superstars page for Sting added on May 3, 2012 counts the main event of the last episode of Nitro on March 26, 2001 as "the first and only time Sting has appeared on a WWE-produced broadcast"