In 1985 Steve Borden, aka Sting, first stepped into a wrestling ring. Now, 31 years later, speculation is rife that his in-ring career is over following a neck injury sustained in September 2015 during a match with then WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins.
With that in mind, as we approach Wrestlemania weekend 2016 and Sting being inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame, I thought it seemed the right time to take a look at the documentary released in mid-2015 charting the career of the man dubbed ‘The Icon’.
The main documentary, running at just over an hour, deals with most aspects of Sting’s 30 years in the ring as well as some elements of his personal life and, while clearly very much produced from the WWE point of view, it does allow some interesting stories to come through.
Like many of the more recent WWE documentaries, made since the dawning of the WWE Network, Into The Light takes something of a dual path approach to its story; one focusing on the more ‘reality’ aspect of the then current build up to Sting’s debut in WWE and the other looking at his history.
All of this is highlighted by a series of new interviews with Sting himself where he opens up, in relatively candid terms, about his path. As a wrestling fan dating back to the early 1990s for me the most interesting parts of this revolve around his feud with Ric Flair that spanned the late 1980s to the final WCW Nitro show in early 2001. This segment gives a real insight into the way the wrestlers work together and quite what it means to them to compete at the top of their ‘sport’.
Along with the Sting interviews the documentary is packed with inserts from a range of stars, past and present, and again it’s Sting’s contemporaries from WCW that provide the most insight, particularly his old ‘running buddies’ Lex Luger and Rick Steiner.
Notable by his absence here (especially as Jerry Jarrett appears and rival company TNA even gets a passing mention) is Scott Steiner, though given rumours surrounding his relationship with WWE it’s not really surprising.
All too brief in all of this are a couple of clips of Ultimate Warrior who broke into pro-wrestling with Sting and it would have been great to hear more of this, sadly circumstances of course prevent that.
As things get up to the era of the NWO in WCW we get some more insight into how the company was being mismanaged that, while never totally explicit, back up a lot of what is rumoured and discussed. While he remains polite about it, its clear that Sting was hugely frustrated by all the ‘politics’ at play around Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and that this had a major effect on both his professional and personal life.
Knowing some of the history of Steve Borden outside of the ring I wasn’t surprised to see some sections about his faith. While I always find these kind of things a bit trying, they do represent what is clearly a strong aspect of the man and fed into his choices about working with WWE over the last decade and a half – though given his work in TNA this isn’t totally convincing.
What I’ve described as the more ‘reality’ sections are fascinating in their own right as they allow a view into the day-to-day working of the WWE away from the pro-wrestling that shows quite how huge and varied a concern it is.
Along with clips of meetings with Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque, we get to see inside ‘Titan Towers’ in Stamford, Connecticut with meetings about merchandise, community/charity work and more.
This all culminates with a look back at Sting making his WWE debut at Wrestlemania 31 against Triple H. While it skirts certain questions it is an interesting insight into, arguably, the most historic match at that event.
As with all these documentaries the DVD/Blu-Ray release comes with a bunch of off-cut extra ‘stories’ and these don’t disappoint.
While not essential to the story told in the main feature they offer some new insights from the origins of the Scorpion Death Lock/Sharpshooter (as explained by Tyson Kidd) to more behind the scenes looks at WWE to Sting’s then revolutionary entrances rappelling from the ceiling in NWO era WCW.
Along with these are a series of career spanning matches that, along with the previously released Best of Sting set, offer a pretty exhaustive look at Borden’s career from early matches with the Warrior-to-be as The Blade Runners through WCW and up to the match with Triple H at Wrestlemania 31.