In case you haven’t heard, Tupac’s back.
Welcome to 2012—a world in which a hologram of Tupac can appear in concert with Dr. Dre. (And you thought he wasn’t a real doctor?) It is also said that a hologram of the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes will be going on tour with a soon-reunited TLC.
No, not Steve Borden—he still works for TNA.
Even better than Borden, the young Sting has arrived on WWE.com. You know, the one with flashy colors and wacky, wild face paint. The one from before the silence and sadness and the "I’ll teach you" attitude that somehow didn’t go away after Starrcade 1997.
It’s the Sting who was the franchise of WCW. And he’s arrived on WWE.com just in time for WWE’s WCW Clash of the Champions DVD and for any future WWE-WCW DVD projects.
As a longtime wrestling fan, this almost shocks me. I grew up in a time when WWE didn’t recognize former WCW stars. Lex Luger, for instance, arrived as a former WCW World Champion. They made him the Narcissist, and if you thought you recognized him from past TV appearances? That must have been from where he got his start on TV—the WBF.
But WWE is not the WWF. On the same day that WWE posted the new Sting profile, I was writing an article saying WWE is a new WWE, more mature and broad-minded.
Turns out I was right, proven greatly by the last line in Sting’s new WWE profile, which states, “Although he has never competed in a WWE ring, more than a decade since the demise of WCW, he remains one of the most popular and respected competitors of all time.”
No way. Never in the time that I grew up could you not compete for WWE and still be popular and respected.
But while the times and the WWE have changed, unfortunately, Steve Borden has not.
Not enough, at least.
I fully supported Steve Borden’s first reason for not coming to WWE a decade ago. He didn’t like the way Vince McMahon had treated WCW stars over the years (partly due to what I mentioned above and partly due to the invasion angle).
Later, it was because Steve Borden was a born-again Christian and WWE’s content was too adult.
And lastly, after sitting down with Vince McMahon more than once and almost working out a deal, it was that Dixie Carter had always offered just the right thing that kept him in TNA.
The sad truth we have come to learn as wrestling fans is that a wrestler and his character are not one and the same. Men change, they convert, they have their own minds and ways.
Their characters, however, remain locked inside the footage that holds them young and true to that day.
It’s like literature. Once it’s put out into the public, it is open for interpretation. Wrestling careers are open to be re-watched and re-rendered, and WWE holds the tape on Sting’s glory days.
I have no problem saying I would purchase a three-Disc WWE DVD on the career of Sting with or without Steve Borden. I’d watch the matches, relive the moments and listen to other guys talk about the WCW career of Sting.
I think it’s fair and right. Steve Borden cannot (and hopefully would not) prevent us from reliving WCW’s Sting.
But he shouldn’t prevent himself, either.
All the good reasons are gone. WWE treats WCW far better today. WWE is often not as “adult-oriented” as TNA now. And finally—there is no good reason to remain in a promotion you cannot save or even greatly help. It was nice to try, but the try was a fail.
Any remaining legacy Sting has belongs to WWE.
Much like we accept that Dr. Dre can bring back Tupac (and who else but TLC could bring back Lisa Lopes?), it is WWE who owns WCW and all its history.
It was said once that the reason Steve Borden remained the crow long after it made sense to do so was because his hairline no longer supported the former Sting character. I don’t know if this is true or not, but what it represents is spot on—though Steve Borden can never revive the original Sting, WWE can.
It can make him young and re-spike his hair and grow back his hairline. It can make him jump higher on the Stinger Splash and yell louder in his cat-call response.
It has already done these things; it will only do so more in the future.
And if Steve Borden cares about his legacy or having any part in it, he would do the right thing and get on board as soon as he possibly can.
I’d hate to enjoy the legacy of Sting without Steve Borden.
But I’m not above doing so, and neither is any true fan of WCW’s Sting.