Q&A with TNA star Sting
I conducted a phone interview Wednesday with TNA star Steve “Sting” Borden, who was promoting his recently released direct-to-DVD Christian movie, “The Encounter.”
In addition to talking about the film and his faith, he discussed his infamous match with Jeff Hardy at the Victory Road pay-per-view, how close he was to signing with WWE earlier this year, his current story line with Hulk Hogan and more.
How did you become involved with “The Encounter?”
I have a buddy of mine in Boston named Tom Saab who does Christian film festivals all over. He started out with one in Boston, and I was actually involved in another Christian movie that he wanted, and he remembered that and we’ve just stayed in touch all these years. He’s tried several times to get me in different Christian movies, and because of schedule, mostly because of wrestling, I just have not had a chance to do it. But this one here, he contacted me and the schedule was open and we did it.
Tell me about the premise of the movie.
It’s about five people traveling down a road, and due to weather they all get stuck. They end up at a diner, which maybe one or two of them saw, and the rest of them never did. They go into the diner and have an encounter with a guy named Jesus, who actually ends up being Jesus Christ. He meets each one of us where we are in our lives. We’re all then forced with a choice to make, to either accept him or not. It really covers pretty much every walk – every person who has that choice.
Would you say there were similarities between the character you play in the film – a self-absorbed, wealthy businessman – and where you were in your life before you became a born-again Christian?
Oh, absolutely. The Bible says it’s easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than a rich man to make it into heaven, and I know being rich is all relative, but I had as much money as I needed. I could travel wherever I wanted to go, I could buy whatever I wanted to buy, and I didn’t need God – or, at least, so I thought. The biggest match of my life was against God, and he thankfully wrestled me down to the ground before it was too late.
You’re brother is a pastor, correct?
Yeah, my brother is the pastor of our church. We’re Rock Community Church in a little town called Waxahachie, Texas. He was the first one in our family to give his life to the Lord and to be saved. Those terms and those words I don’t use loosely. It’s been a huge transformation in his life and a huge transformation in my life as well.
How can people see “The Encounter?”
Do you have any more film projects in the works?
It’s so tough [because of the wrestling schedule]. I’ve had to pass on a couple other projects with some really good people, but I’m looking forward to doing some more. But, yes, I know that I will have time coming up here and I’d like to do a whole bunch more.
There is a lot of adult content on Impact Wrestling. As a man of faith, is it a concern for you to be on that type of show?
Absolutely. There’s no question about it. This is something that many Christians will use as their ace in the hole, and I’ll use it, but I’m not going to use it in a real loose way, and that is that Jesus Christ himself went in amongst the sinners – the murderers, the adulterers, the idolaters, the drunkards, and so on and so forth. And he didn’t come to judge them, he came to save them, be a doctor to them. I’m not putting myself on that level obviously, but at the same time, we are in the world, we are not of the world, if we are believers. I’m not going to put myself in a shell – it’s just not going to work that way. You have to get out there somehow or another and try to be a light or be the salt of the earth, and that’s all I’ve tried to do. As far as the content goes, I will only involve myself in situations that will not jeopardize my walk or my witness. You won’t hear vulgar things coming out of my mouth or sexual innuendos and all that kind of stuff.
In your current story line with Hulk Hogan, it almost seems as if there are some religious overtones as far as you trying to save the Hulk Hogan character and get him back on the right path. Is that the case or am I reading too much into it?
You know, there’s probably a thread of that in there for sure. Most of my story lines do have some sort of a redemptive quality to them. Vince Russo is writing a lot of this stuff, and many people may not know this, but he also is a believer. He writes with that kind of flair. The other thing, too, is I really believe that because of the nostalgia of Hulk Hogan – you know, he made an appearance on “American Idol” and got a huge, gigantic reaction – wrestling fans all over the place would love to see the story line for real. I think they want to see him come back and just be Hulk. I’d like to see it.
Do wrestlers in TNA ever come to you for spiritual advice if they’re going through a difficult time?
Absolutely. I’ll leave it to them personally to come public if they choose to do that, but you would be surprised at the names, whether it be office people, whether it be wrestlers or people behind the scenes. All kinds of people have come to me and asked me for either advice or some kind of counsel, whether it be about their marriage, about finances, about their job, about heaven and hell, about Jesus Christ, about drugs – trying to come clean. You know, because I have a history there with drugs and alcohol and muscle relaxers – the whole package.
Speaking of the whole package, that’s the perfect segue for my next question. “The Total Package” Lex Luger, a longtime friend of yours, fell on some very hard times, but you were instrumental in him getting his life back together in recent years, correct?
Yeah, I definitely was because I knew where he was headed. Man, his testimony is unreal. I would call him and I knew he was there, but he would never pick up. He would just listen to me leave my message. I just said to him, “Look, I know you are in a world of hurt, bro. Just don’t do something stupid and don’t continue down the path you’re going on. I’d love to be able to walk with you through it, come clean, get off all the stuff and let’s talk about something beyond wrestling, something beyond ourselves. You know, there is such a thing as heaven and hell and the devil, who absolutely hates us and wants to take us out. He would listen to those messages, and he’ll talk about it now and say that I was instrumental, and if I was, then that’s great.
And he’s doing well now?
He’s doing fantastic. I talk to him, on average, probably every couple weeks. His body is getting stronger all the time. You’re talking about a guy who from the neck down had nothing for a good three days or so [after suffering a spinal stroke], and then slowly but surely was able to move his arms and his legs. They did a surgery on his hips and that helped huge. They said he would never walk again, and he’s walking now without a walker or a cane. He does get tired and he’ll need to sit down for a few minutes. But he’s a completely different person now. He used to talk about nothing but himself [laughs], but now he’ll ask about other people’s lives and what’s going on.
What was your reaction when WWE began airing the mysterious vignettes early this year that turned out to be for The Undertaker’s return, but initially had a lot of wrestling fans believing that the videos signaled that you were coming to WWE for to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania? And the second part of my question is: Did WWE contact you to come in and do something at that point?
I’ll answer the second part first. Yes, I was contacted by WWE people. The vignettes I can honestly tell you that I do not understand that one even now, unless it was some kind of deal where they were just trying to test the waters, I really don’t know, because so many people were saying, “I hope it’s Sting, I hope it’s Sting.” I thought, “Gosh, I wonder if they’re going to shoot themselves in the foot there by making this choice, because if things do not work out, why did they do it to begin with?” I had all kinds of things going through my head. But, yeah, I was very, very close to going up there, and I believe there probably would have been something with Undertaker. That was the word at least.
What are your thoughts on what went down the night you faced Jeff Hardy at the Victory Road pay-per-view?
I want to be careful with my words here because I really like Jeff Hardy. I’m hoping he can come back because that guy is so talented, but he has personal issues in his life and it just became too much for him, too overwhelming, and he just couldn’t cope and didn’t know how to handle it. So he made some bad choices and he’s having to deal with those choices and the consequences now. I hear he’s doing much, much better. Last I heard, he was riding his bike 10 miles a day and just getting in great shape and his life was getting in some kind of order.
It seemed that things were happening on the fly on live TV that night when you and Hardy got in the ring, and no one really seemed to know what was going on. Is that accurate?
That’s pretty accurate. I’d say a good 45 minutes to an hour before the match actually happened, things started to deteriorate, and I just went, “Oh, boy.” I kept hoping maybe somehow or another he’ll come to his senses and snap out of it, but it didn’t happen. It was just out of hand and I didn’t have a choice other than to do what I did.
You’ve said in the past that you intended to retire several times, but every year when your contract comes up in TNA, you get talked into staying for another year. At this point, how much longer do you plan to continue wrestling?
You know, you’re right. I think I’ve said every year for at least the last four years that this will be my last year. And I’m speaking the same way again now. I think I’ve smartened up a little bit. When I know it’s done, I’ll know it’s done. I’m going to go as long as I can, but, honestly, whether I want to or not, I cannot see going too much farther.
Photo courtesy of impactwrestling.com