Sting like you’ve never seen him before set for farewell at AEW Revolution: ‘Night to remember’

Sting’s goal remains the same as they always have as he’s set to end his legendary in-ring career. 

It doesn’t matter if it was his first match or 39 years later for his last, the pro wrestling icon has one goal as he and Darby Allin defend their AEW World tag team championships against the Young Backs, Matthew and Nicolas Jackson, at the Revolution pay-per-view at the Greensboro Coliseum on Sunday (8 p.m., Bleacher Report). 

“I just want wrestling fans to be entertained,” the 64-year-old Sting, who debuted in AEW in 2021, said. “I want it to be a night to remember, a night where no one would say, ‘Ah man, it was just kind of sad. You can tell it just kind of passed him by. Well, good thing he’s done now.’ 

Sting will have his final match at AEW Revolution on Sunday. AEW/Lee South

“I don’t want that. I want them to go, ‘Oh my god, how does he do that?’ I want them to say, the Bucks, Darby, Sting all of them, that was so entertaining. That’s a night to remember. That’s all I ever cared about.”

Sting, whose real name is Steve Borden, is getting a rare chance to say goodbye with a major promotion in the way he envisions.

And the match will happen in the same venue as the one that made Sting, a 45-minute draw with Ric Flair at Clash of Champions in 1988. 

“A lot of the wrestlers kind of fade off into oblivion right? You don’t see them again” said AEW broadcaster Tony Schiavone who also called the match in 1988. “With Sting, this is very unique… It’s pretty remarkable story. It’s a great ending. I think all pro wrestlers would’ve loved to end like this” 

Allin sees AEW’s handling of Sting’s final match as an example of how legends should be treated after all the years and sacrifices they’ve made.

“AEW and [president] Tony Khan have actually given this man his proper send-off and the fact that they said do whatever you want. It’s not a million people saying we’re gonna push our agenda on you.”

Part of doing it his way is having Sting’s family become part of the story for the first time as his sons Garrett and Steve Jr. were attacked by the Bucks while in the ring celebrating their dad and Allin winning the tag team titles three weeks ago. 

“What sparked it was, my sons and my daughter [Gracie] they got little tastes of my wrestling career early, early on,” Sting said. “They were never really around it as much as so many of the other wrestlers and their kids got to see.

They weren’t even allowed to watch their dad on TV as young kids.

“They had no idea what was going on,” Sting said. “They couldn’t understand why no one would ask their [friends’] dad for an autograph or where’s your ‘daddy dolls?’ The action figures. They thought every family, every dad had action figures. 

He said it wasn’t until they were walking through a Toys “R” Us one day seeing kids play the Nintendo 64 game “WCW/nWo Revenge,” then it clicked.

“Garrett said, ‘Dad, look, look, look’ and they saw these kids playing it and they were using me and it kind of hit them like, ‘Oh OK this is not like everybody’s dad. You’re different.’” Sting said.

Darby Allin and Sting will defend their AEW World tag team championships on Sunday. Lee South/AEW

Sting was a little more reluctant to bring up the recent death of his father, Robert Lee Borden, in the promo with Allin two weeks ago on Dynamite. 

Allin said they had about an hour to shoot the promo and after hearing the ideas for his part, Sting saw it was a perfect opportunity to blend in his father’s passing after initially not wanting to bring a sorrowful time in his life into a story.

“We don’t really get to see that side of Sting and he was so open about it,” Allin said. “At the end I felt it was nice for him to do that for himself.”

It ended up being what many are considering the best promo of Sting’s career.

“I thought, I’m gonna be vulnerable maybe for the first time ever with wrestling fans out there in TV land and just mentioned, ‘Hey there’s some stuff going on in my life and I’m affected just like all the rest of you,” Sting said. “I’m not invincible. This is making me consider my own mortality and on and on it goes. It’s a very humbling situation.”

Sting, who is a deeply religious Christian, is someone who has been forever praised by his peers for how genuine, kind and professional he is behind the scenes.

It is something he credits to how his dad, who served in the Air Force, raised him as he served as dad and coach to three sons who played football, baseball and basketball. 

“He taught us respect and how to respect adults and people around us and how to treat others,” Sting said, “I learned all that from my dad. No ‘wimpy stuff.” No crybaby stuff. I don’t think he ever told me that he loved me until we were grown men. Then it was easy for us to say ‘Love you, Dad.’ ‘Love you too, Steve.’”

Allin recalls Sting being “so giving” to opponents when putting on matches “to the point where I felt like he forgot he was Sting.”

He remembers wrestling Angelo Parker and Matt Manard in 2021, where Sting’s willingness to collaborate and “give these guys something” turned a simple enhancement match into a brawl around the arena.

The Young Bucks will be Sting’s final opponents. AEW/ Ryan Loco

“No one can say he tried to big league them at all,” Allin said. 

Schiavone remembers years back calling the front desk about a membership to Sting and Lex Luger’s Main Event Fitness gym and immediately getting a call back from Sting to say he wouldn’t charge him.

He sees Sting as someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously and is able to separate the character from the man.

“It’s just who I’m and wrestling this is a job and I’m the person behind this. I always got that from him,” Schiavone said. ‘He made it more human.” 

It was only human for Sting to believe that his career was over after suffering a serious neck injury wrestling Seth Rollins at WWE’s Night of Champions in 2015.

Sting is readying for the end of his in-ring career. AEW Ryan Loco

He still held out hope for one more match and was encouraged when cinematic matches became a thing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Internet buzz for a dream clash between him and the Undertaker picked up, and Sting was like, “Heck yeah,” but it never materialized when the Dead Man retired after WrestleMania 36. 

Sting signed with AEW in 2020 to do cinematic matches, but it wasn’t long into the filming of the first one at Revolution that the idea of doing more came up. 

“We got halfway through filming and Cody [Rhodes] and Darby and Tony [Khan] and some of the guys were like, ‘Dude, you still got it.’ I’ll never forget Cody Rhodes saying, ‘Your kinetic energy, it hasn’t changed,” Sting said. “At first I was saying. ‘Stop, stop don’t even try, don’t even try. But they kept on and kept on.” 

His deal was restructured, but there was still the matter of getting his confidence back.

Allin played “a massive role” in that.

“He was more than willing to work with me,” Sting said. “He encouraged me the whole way, ‘I think you can do this, you can do that.’ ‘Oh man, I don’t know.’ There were other times where it was reversed. Where I’m like, ‘I’m gonna do this’ and Darby is like, ‘Don’t do that. Don’t do that.’”

What followed was three years of exciting matches that saw Sting step in the ring with Chris Jericho, CM Punk and Adam Copeland for the first time and square off against some of AEW’s young stars.

He even got to wrestle with the Great Muta one more time in Japan while doing far more than going through the motions. 

The multi-time world champion, who is undefeated in AEW, was jumping off balconies and stages and going through tables. When asked about it, Sting said that was a big part of his younger days as a performer when he would dive through the rope and get press slammed over them onto tables.

It was vintage Sting, even at his age.

“I don’t know how many tables [I’ve been through] throughout my career,” Sting said. “But to be being doing it at my age at this point in my career. It’s like why would I choose now? (laughs) I’m not really sure on that either. But I think I get a lot of mileage out of it anyway. 

“I’m having a lot of fun. The crowd, they seem to be eating it up. The wrestlers, everybody seems to enjoy it and I’ve just been having so much fun. Yeah, there have been a few setbacks and a few mishaps here and there, but I’m still kicking.”

Schiavone wanted to say something to Sting after he came up short on diving off a ladder onto Sammy Guevara lying on tables outside the ring on a Dynamite in June.

But while he looks at those types of moments “with horror” and concern it could end anyone’s career, he said telling Sting to take it easy might only lead to him ramping it up even more.

Sting attacks the Young Bucks on Dynamite. AEW/Ryan Loco

“I just walked into the doc’s room, looked at him,” Schiavone said. “He looked at me. Gave him a salute and just walked away thinking he’ll do it again.” 

It’s part philosophy Sting believes has helped him connect with fans over the years during his runs in Jimmy Crockett Promotions, WCW, TNA and now AEW of going “balls to the walls” trying for matches no one else would be able to top that night and kept fans coming back.

It’s a spirit he sees in Allin.

“That’s one of the things I love about Darby,” Sting said. “It’s exactly the way Darby is. He’s probably more so than I was. It doesn’t matter who he’s wrestling. If it’s a no-name kind of a guy or a big-name guy in a big storyline or a small crowd, it doesn’t matter. He’s balls to the walls always and wrestling fans see it. That makes the difference.” 

Now the two of them, with Flair by their side, will be trying to put an empathic close to Sting’s career.

Sting even rappelled from the rafters one last time during his final Dynamite.

Allin said it was something Sting had talked about doing for a while, but they hadn’t found the right moment.  

“I always remember him being, ‘That would be really cool to do one more time,” Allin said.

Allin is also happy the month-long story with the Young Bucks hasn’t been a drawn-out one.

“It’s been short and sweet and not overstaying our welcome where people are saying, ‘God, have the match already, Jesus,” Allin said. “It felt we it all the big points.” 

Schiavone expects a lot of emotions on Sunday, with Sting’s family being there and former wrestlers likely to come out and greet him at some point.

He said Jim Ross, who also called Sting-Flair in 1988, is expected to be there, but it’s unclear if he will join the commentary team for the final match.

Sting, who jokes he is leaving the ring with “all the original body parts” and still “feeling good” physically, knows exactly how he’d like to be remembered.

“I’d like to be remembered as Sting the guy who brought it every night,” he said. “Sting the guy who never really changed. He was just rock solid through and through all the years and he was a man of God.” 

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