There’s always something slightly sanitized about WWE documentary DVD releases -- pretty much par for the course. When they finally got Warrior back, watching his sitdown after he became re-ffiliated with the company, we saw a far less angry and confrontational persona than we had seen online in the years prior. What’s obvious from Sting: Into The Light is that Steve Borden is clearly a very nice guy. But for one of the most iconic and important wrestlers of our time, there’s something really muted about the whole experience of this release.
When the documentary piece starts, it actually feels quite eerie. He’s settled in the back seat of a black SUV being taken to WWE HQ and is talking about the nerves and excitement he has for going in for the first time. He’s essentially just going through the exact same motions and emotions that Warrior was doing all of 6 months before.
Over the course of his interview, we’re shown him going from room to room, from department to department, meeting executives who tell him about what they plan to do with him now that he’s with WWE. It would seem that a performer coming in who is in the position that Sting or Warrior is in gets the same programme and agenda for the day, culminating in a meeting with Triple H. It is almost a propaganda movie for WWE, how professional they are and how they are completely unrivaled in a business sense in this industry today. It’s almost identical to the Warrior film. And, frankly, it couldn’t be more dull. Even Sting looks a little bored.
Equally lacking in excitement is footage of Sting going through boxes of old posters, ring gear, boots and other merchandise in his enormous garage. If you’re a fan of Sting, seeing him on his ranch, building a fire and mooching around on a golf kart might interest you. Certainly, seeing his parents, who talk about his athletic prowess as a college student, is the kind of colour one would normally look for in these sorts of documentaries.
Essentially, the narrative follows his return to the ring against Triple H at WrestleMania in San Jose, but in doing so, sees us do a whistle-stop tour of his break into the business, his work with WCW, his subsequent character change and his path to finding faith in real life. We see Sting watching the WWE Network in his home, watching matches that he’s not seen in full since he wrestled them. We follow him to his church where his brother, Jeff, is a senior pastor. Most entertaining is seeing him snuck in, hauled up backstage before his debut at Survivor Series in St Louis in November 2014 where you can tangibly sense his nervousness.
Talking heads from the likes of his father, Jim Ross, Lex Luger, and Ric Flair provide some insight, but a lucid performance from Scott Steiner, who shows great humility, is the most worthy of note. Everyone says, Sting included, that he was a locker room leader and a professional who got along with everyone. All note, and its entirely evident, that Steve Borden is very different to Sting. In fact, watching his WWE Table for 3 with Vader and DDP will tell that much.
Sting is humble and evidently very much at peace. You feel that there’s little to be cynical about with him. He talks openly, yet protectively, about how he was acting in the late 90s before he stopped doing so and found solace in religion. Just as honest, though, is his assessment of his character and gimmick change during the NWO-era WCW days. Some of the vignettes that the company produced for him were remarkable, but none are quite as awesome as that wonderfully cinematic, orchestral WWE 2K15 advert.
To see a full match list, you can do so here, but the stand-out matches are certainly the Ric Flair at Clash of the Champions battle from 1988 (a remarkable 45-minute commercial-free match at the time), as well as a very good match against DDP from Nitro in 1999 that Page himself is a huge fan of. Fans of Sting are never going to be disappointed by the wrestling on show in this collection.
75 minutes to tell the story of Sting is too little. But with a career that was at its peak with WCW and with a 7-8 year gap while he was with TNA (which he mentions by name), there’s little that WWE wants to tell other than the here and now. If you want to learn about his route in to the industry from Red Bastien to teaming with the Ultimate Warrior under Jerry Jarrett to Jim Crocket via Dusty Rhodes and Eric Bischoff and eventually to Vince, you’ll see an enjoyable story.
But, if you want to learn about what he really thinks about Hogan, or what he really thinks about the current product, you’re not going to get much more than a polite answer. Because, that’s really who Steve Borden is. And for all that this documentary doesn’t shine like his career in the ring has done, there’s something effortlessly charismatic and honest about the man that just makes you want to watch him.