Following an illustrious 30-year career, professional wrestling legend Sting (a.k.a. Steve Borden) formally announced his in-ring retirement Saturday night during a memorable WWE Hall of Fame acceptance speech.
Before an audience filled with family, friends and professional luminaries, the charismatic 57-year-old icon shared these reverberating parting comments to a wide-spectrum of “Sting” fans.
“You’ve heard me say it before, you’ve heard me say it for years that the only thing that is for sure about Sting is nothing is for sure…Until now.
“On this very night at this very moment I’m going to finish my wrestling career under the WWE umbrella and I am so proud of that. I am officially going to retire tonight. I just want you to know this isn’t goodbye, it’s just see you later.”
Amid heated anticipation, Borden, who enjoyed his greatest success with World Championship Wrestling, joined Vince McMahon’s WWE in late 2014. And though “the Stinger’s” tenure with the legendary promotion was short-lived, it was apropos that his retirement came with the industry leader.
Borden’s well-traversed professional wrestling odyssey began November 28, 1985 with All-California Championship Wrestling. Borden then joined the Continental Wrestling Association, comprising one-half of The Freedom Fighters Team, alongside now deceased Jim “Ultimate Warrior” Hellwig.
After showcasing early star-potential, the former bodybuilder and star-athlete graced legendary UWF promotions before settling in with Jim Crockett’s National Wrestling Alliance in 1987.
In 1988, the NWA would become known as World Championship Wrestling. From the star-crossed company’s inception, until an untimely 2001 demise, Sting would remain entrenched as the company’s “Franchise” and “Icon” while capturing six world titles.
However, it can be said that Sting’s finest moment as a performer took place opposite Ric Flair at 1988’s Clash of The Champions.
The youthful, platinum-haired version of Sting took the venerable, 16-time world champion to a 45-minute draw in one of sports-entertainment’s classic encounters. Borden would eventually best Flair for his first singles world championship in 1990. The magnetic chemistry between the two would culminate with Sting defeating Flair in WCW’s swan-song bout in 2001.
Well after their longstanding competitive rivalry ceased, Flair had these poignantly candid thoughts for Wrestlezone.Com concerning Sting/Steve Borden’s legacy as both an athlete and man.
“I love Sting, he’s a great guy. He’s a wonderful person and a big part of my life. I’m not surprised he’s in the WWE. I encouraged him to go years ago. He deserves it for all his hard work. Let me tell you something, there is not a nicer person in the world than Sting… Whatever he is getting he deserves. You know, everybody, kinda like me, you don’t want to make the move, you’re in a good place, making money… but there is nothing like working for the WWE. He wants to have a couple more matches and be in the Hall of Fame, which he deserves. He’s a great kid, a great father and just a wonderful person.”
As Steve “Sting” Borden announced his retirement Saturday night, he did so as the only wrestler to be inducted into both the TNA and WWE Hall of Fame collections. Throughout his stellar career, Sting won 13 different versions of the World Heavyweight Championship.
Borden’s Sting character will long be remembered as one of professional wrestling’s most polarizing and charismatic. The mere presence, or mention, of Sting brought world-wide audiences to their feet for decades.
Steve Borden’s retirement announcement came months after Borden sustained a debilitating neck-injury against then WWE champion Seth Rollins at Night Of Champions 2015.
[Photo by Don Feria/AP Images For WWE]