Thank you, Sting

Saying farewell to an Icon after 39 years of being in professional wrestling.


3/2/20249 min read

AAWWWWOOOOO!! That sound has echoed throughout arenas around the world for 39 years by thousands of fans. Tomorrow, Sunday, March 3rd, 2024 will mark the last time we will hear that now famous war cry from the man who is behind that sound, the man called Sting.

For me, as a lifelong fan of Sting, this will be an emotional night. I have been a fan of Sting since I was literally a baby. I grew up in the midst of the Monday Night Wars, and had family members that introduced me to wrestling, starting with my Pop Pop. He was a great man. Stubborn as can be, but adored his family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was mainly a WWF fan, as was my uncle and grandfather. However, my dad and a few of his buddies catered more to WCW, and that's where my fandom kicked off. I became a WCW loyalist through the end, even if I was only 5 years old when WCW ended. One of my earliest memories, potentially my first from a wrestling fan, came when at the end of an episode of Monday Nitro I saw this man with black and white face paint repel from the rafters to enter the ring and destroyed the nWo. I was enamored from that moment forward. I knew the nWo were bad guys, and it seemed like no one from WCW could defeat them. Until Sting showed up. From that moment, Sting was MY guy. He was MY favorite. I cheered for him anytime he was on TV, and rejoiced when he won a match. Don't even get me started how I reacted when he lost... not a pretty sight.

God bless my parents for putting up with me being a die hard wrestling fan from the time I was in diapers until now. Once WCW ended, I followed WWE and watched Raw and SmackDown every week. My favorites became Triple H, Shawn Michaels and John Cena from 2002-2006. Then, one Saturday night in December 2005, I was watching TV while my parents, uncle and grandfather were playing cards in our front room, and as I was flipping through the tv guide, I saw this program called "TNA Impact!" and it intrigued me. I turned on this one hour show, and my eyes were glued to the TV with the moves I was seeing Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Chris Sabin and others were performing. However, at the end of the show, it recapped what happened the Sunday before, which was TNA's Turning Point PPV, and it showed where Sting previewed his return to wrestling with a video showcasing his trademark scorpion, as well as his trench coat, bat and boots set up in the middle of the ring with Jeff Jarrett, Team Canada and Monty Brown looking on in shock. I couldn't believe the timing! I wasn't privy to dirt sheets at the time, so when I found out my all time favorite wrestler was returning, I was ecstatic! I didn't know how long Sting would be in TNA for, but I made sure to watch Impact every week. Then came TNA's Genesis PPV in January 2009. It was in Charlotte, NC, and I begged my parents to take me to the show since Sting was TNA World Champion and was advertised to defend the title against Rhino. I had to be there. I NEEDED to to be there. I had never seen Sting perform live in person before, and I desperately wanted to be there. My parents gifted me with tickets, and I went to not only my first TNA show ever, but I finally saw Sting wrestle in person. The match was not the best, but I didn't care. I got to see one of my role models live in person. Sting winning that match made it even better.

8 years later, Sting left TNA, and my fandom grew to where I knew about how pro-wrestling worked, people coming and going, and all that takes place in between. I watched Raw and SmackDown still, but because Sting was a TNA soldier, I was loyal to TNA at the time. When Sting left TNA in 2014, rumors heated up that he would be going to WWE, and possibly setting up the match that Sting fans, and a majority of wrestling fans in general, were clamoring for years to happen: Sting vs Undertaker at WrestleMania. In November of 2014, Sting made his long awaited WWE debut at Survivor Series by beating up Triple H and helping Team Cena defeat the Authority, thus kicking off Sting's first feud. I was hoping it wasn't going to be this WCW soldier vs WWE storyline, but it ended up that way, and I guess I understood why it happened. However, the leadup to Sting's first (and only) match at Mania 31 against Triple H wasn't the best buildup. Then came the match. That god awful booked match. We get a good match, and then DX interferes. Who comes in to help Sting? Maybe DDP? Goldberg? Any member from Team Cena that he helped win at Survivor Series 4 months prior? Nope. The nWo. THE FREAKING NWO! Why?! Because it was WCW vs WWE? Anyone with a good memory knows that was an AWFUL call. Sting came to SAVE WCW from the nWo, not get help from them! So we have a group that was an arch rival of Sting now helping him just to feed into this weird Monday Night Wars angle. Horrible. And having Sting lose didn't make a lick of sense either. Fast forward a couple of months later, and Sting fights Seth Rollins at Night of Champions for the WWE Title. A really cool moment if we're being honest, seeing Sting wrestle for the WWE Title. Sting losing wasn't a big deal, but him getting injured in the match was. Learning how bad of an injury it was, a spinal stenosis, where months if not years of recovery is needed. An injury where if surgery is performed, that meant Sting's wrestling career was over. Sting chose not to have the surgery, but in April of 2016, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, one of the greatest accomplishments any wrestler can achieve. It was at that event that Sting announced he was retiring from in-ring competition. I was heartbroken. That wasn't the way I know he wanted it to end, and neither did any of his fans.

For 4 years, I tried to fill a void of finding a favorite wrestler in the meantime, which became AJ Styles, because of his athletic prowess and his beliefs that aligned with mine. Same with Sting. My level of fandom with Sting grew even deeper in the 2010's when I researched his personal life and found he was a Christian. Listen, I'm not here to spew religion on anyone, but if you're a Christian, its awesome seeing others give their life to Christ. Especially when they are your idol and role models. Learning of the man behind the face paint, Steve Borden, had real life issues like us normal people do amazed me. Why? I was naive, first off. But, I figured people with fame and fortune, money in the bank and notoriety didn't have problems. Boy was I wrong! His story of not even being a wrestling fan growing up surprised me, but the popularity that followed suit made me believe this was his plan all along.

In the middle of the 1990's, Sting was married with 2 sons, and in the middle of his hottest run as a pro-wrestler. Changing his surfer style gimmick with bleach blond hair and colorful face paint to match his boots and trunks for a darker persona. An idea emulated from Scott Hall based off the movie, "The Crow", saw Sting have black and white face paint, along with a long black trench coat, and an all black outfit to match. Sting grew out his hair to being shoulder length, with no more bleach in it, going to his natural brown color. While this was going on, the personal life of Steve Borden was crumbling. He became addicted to pain pills and alcohol, and lived the party life on the road, away from his family. Sting has admitted he cheated on his then wife as a result of the life on the road. In the summer of 1998, Sting finally gave up the party life style that was killing him, and surrendered his life to Christ. A decision that has changed his life for the better ever since. Sting is now married to a different woman than his first, but has 3 children, all of whom I would expect to be in attendance tomorrow night for his last match, a subject we'll get to shortly.

Moving back to the wrestling side of things, I became a fan of AEW once it started in 2019. It was a fresh perspective of having an alternative promotion on national TV, and the style of AEW made me enjoy wrestling even more. You can love or hate AEW, but the fact we have an alternative that is featured on national TV is a great thing for fans as well as performers. I had very little idea of what would be happening in December 2020 when we saw Sting return to wrestling, appearing on the "Winter is Coming" themed episode of AEW Dynamite. One of my best friends that was living with my wife, daughter and I at the time, co-host of the "Beyond the Junkyard Podcast", Junkyard James, recorded my reaction to Sting debuting. That was an awesome night. Who knew he would be wrestling one match, let alone multiple over the 3 plus years in AEW. Over these past 3 years, we saw Sting team with Darby Allen to give us memorable moments and a ride that Sting could finish out on his own terms. Never in my wildest dreams would I think Sting would be wrestling in 2024, as well as become a champion again, but yet here we are! Sting heads into Revolution tomorrow night as one-half of the AEW Tag Team Champions, along with Darby. The pairing of those 2 have been amazing to watch. To see the growth of Darby's in ring style and persona with Sting by his side has been a great sight to see. But, its not like Darby has taken all the bumps. No, no, not even close. Sting has done some INSANE things over these last 3 years in the ring. Jumping from the top rope through tables, jumping from tops of the stage, and even balconies! Crazy, right? This man is almost 65 years old (March 20th, happy early birthday Stinger! My wife's is March 24th, and another best friend of mine, Dillon, his birthday is tomorrow, and we'll be celebrating it in person at Revolution), and is taking these wild bumps to entertain us, because that's how Sting wanted to write the ending of his career in the ring.

And now we get to tomorrow night. AEW Revolution. Greensboro, NC at the historic Greensboro Coliseum. Sting's. Last. Match. Ever. Typing that out still doesn't seem real. But I've been preparing for this for 4 months, when Sting announced his last match would be at Revolution; 3 years to almost the day he had his first match back at AEW Revolution in 2021. In what I hope will be the main event, Sting and Darby will defend their AEW World Tag Team Titles against these fools called the Young Bucks. I hope they brought a hardhat and protective gear, because those 2 fellas are in for one tough fight! In all seriousness, I just want to see Sting perform the best he can, and end his in ring career how HE wants to. Whatever that means, whether its crazy bumps, unique spots, or something else. I hope he doesn't get injured, but these performers do what they do to entertain us. Its not every day you can say you saw your idol/role model perform at their last event. Whether its seeing Derek Jeter or Chipper Jones take their final at bats, or seeing Michael Jordan play in his last ever game. Or even Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. For me, I get to see my favorite wrestler perform his last match ever. All I know is tomorrow night is going to be VERY special. Not only for the fans, co-workers, promoters and even family and friends, but, for the man himself. For the man that has given us 39 iconic years of being a pro-wrestler. Tears are going to be shed for this special occasion, and I'm sure I won't be the only one in the crowd doing it (go ahead and troll me now, I don't care).

You know, my late mother, who passed away unexpectedly on June 22,2022 was never a fan of wrestling, and never understood why I was. She just didn't get it. Lord, bless her for putting up with me all these years being a fan of it, though! She would ask every now and then when she was alive if my favorite was still Sting, and I would always respond with "Of course!" I told her about the real life struggles Sting faced, and how he became a Christian and gave his life to Christ. She respected him for that, and commended him for dedicating his life to God. She loved the fact my idol was a man who gave his life to God, as she was a Christian as well. Sting was really the only wrestler she could tolerate, and I'm glad for that. A chapter will close for Sting tomorrow night, as will for us fans, yet a new one will be written. AEW will carry on, as will other wrestling companies, and life itself. But, for tomorrow night, we will be witnessing history. I cannot explain my excitement for this show, and for Sting's last match. It's going to be a great show. All capped off by an icon ending his in ring career.

Even if he doesn't read this, I felt that if I were to tell, or write something to Sting, it would be this: You've had a helluva career. I am so happy I was a little Stinger that grew up and followed you on your path in life and in wrestling. Thank YOU for being an inspiration to me. Thank YOU for being a wonderful idol and role model. Thank YOU for providing entertainment for not only me, but fans of all ages around the world. YOU truly are an ICON. We're sad to see you go, but we're happy to have seen you go out on your own terms.

For one last time tomorrow night, it truly will be showtime folks.

Thank you, Sting.