Steve Borden spent a decade at the top of World Championship Wrestling. Using the name of "Sting," Borden was nine times WCW World Heavyweight Champion, including two wins over wrestling legend Hulk Hogan.
He created the most outrageous and bizarre personas he could imagine for his career in the 1980s and '90s. The first, as "Flash" Borden, was marked by fluorescent face paint and buzz-cut blond hair. The Sting persona came later, complete with long black hair, and a face painted ghostly white with black stripes.
Steve Borden's story is told in the movie Sting: Moment of Truth to be released on video and DVD in mid-October
Sting was the ultimate showman, often descending on the ring by cable from rafters hundreds of feet overhead. He once entered the ring by dropping from a helicopter. His trademark wrestling moves included the "Scorpion Death Drop." His creative and bizarre behavior captivated fans and took him to the peak of the pro wrestling world.
On the home front, however, his marriage tottered on the brink of failure while he took the fast track in his career -- and to a lifestyle fueled by drugs and alcohol.
"She had a real sweet, wholesome look," he recalls. "She was really soft-spoken. I liked that. I thought, 'Wow! I could marry this girl!'"
Steve was a natural athlete, even attending community college to play basketball and dreaming of a career as a pro athlete. "I always thought I would play one of the top three," he says, "baseball, football or basketball. As a little kid I pictured myself doing something in front of tens of thousands of people. As I got older I realized I was going nowhere in basketball. That's when I got into competitive body building."
As partner in a gym, he built a reputation as a body builder and through contacts there he was persuaded to give professional wrestling a try. He sometimes slept in his car and ate tuna three meals a day. He and Sue married in 1986 and she joined him on the road. They moved a lot -- to Nashville , to Louisiana , to Texas and to Atlanta , all in search of superstardom.
Eventually, stardom came and with it came wealth. His career began to demand more and more from him, and Steve didn't know how to put the brakes on.
"All of a sudden, I was making money for the first time," Steve says. He was enthralled with success and life in the fast lane. At the peak of his career in the mid-'90s, 40 million people (live and on television) were watching him each week. More than 400 companies all over the world were producing products with his name and face on them. Movie and television offers poured in.
But as Sting's career flourished, his family faltered. They saw him only two or three days a month.
"What's happened to us?" Sue asked. "What's wrong with you? I don't know you any more. Steve, are you taking drugs or something?"
"I couldn't lie to her," Steve answered. He admitted he was addicted to muscle relaxers and pain killers. And he was drinking every day. That confession was the beginning of a process that brought the prideful, self-sufficient champion to his knees. It was the greatest match of his life, and God was taking him to the mat.
God had been planting seeds in Steve's life from the time he entered wrestling -- his brother's conversion and witness, his sister's conversion, his family's prayers, the witness of wrestler Ted Dibiasi , and the peace and joy he saw in the lives of other believers.
Now, the confrontation by the wife he didn't want to lose, plus the fear of life without his children, made fame and fortune meaningless. He was humbled to the point of complete remorse, the kind of remorse reflected in 2 Corinthians 7:10 -- "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation ...." (NIV).
"I believe that [remorse] literally led to my salvation," Steve says. That was in the fall of 1998. It was total transformation. Sting became a new creature in Christ, and Christ began to restore the Bordens' marriage. Sue committed her life to Christ two months later.
"He totally transformed me overnight," Steve says, "because the [destructive] lifestyle stopped overnight. The pills and alcohol and addiction stopped overnight."
He continued to wrestle for a couple of years, and was vocal in wrestling circles about his newfound faith. But, from the family perspective, it just wasn't working, so he retired. He still does occasional promotions or exhibitions if they offer a platform for him to share his testimony.
However, he says his most important role now is to be a godly husband to Sue and a father to his children -- Garrett (14), Steven (12) and Gracy (4). The Borden family is actively involved in Church on the Rock in Santa Clarita , California , where his brother, Jeff, is senior pastor.
"Also," says Steve, "we own a 90-acre piece of property here locally. We are slowly going to turn it into a camp for teens, couples, all kinds of youth stuff, extreme sports. I believe that God wants to use that property to advance His kingdom."
These days, Steve Borden drops Scripture into conversation as easily and naturally as he once dropped opponents in the ring. He still loves a challenge. But where he once relied on a fluorescent face and bizarre behavior, he now tackles each challenge with a firm faith in Christ alone.
Randall Murphree, a regular contributor to AgapePress , is editor of AFA Journal , a monthly publication of the American Family Association. For more info visit the movie's website or Willowcreek Marketing .