Finally, Steve Borden managed to speak on the two or three weeks of rumor that Sting was headed to WWE.
In an interview with Patrick Lennon for the Daily Star (UK), Borden made things seem pretty cut and dry regarding an offer and the dream match with the Undertaker. Here is the exchange:
“I wouldn’t say it was utter nonsense, that’s not true! It’s a dream match that fans would want to see. It was close. I’m glad things turned out the way they did.
“There are so many variables. Let’s just say that I turned it down for the same reasons I always have. Something in me never trusted what would happen up there, based entirely on the track record with other WCW guys and everything that went on after Vince bought WCW.
“I wont be watching but I’ll be asking what happened between Undertaker and Triple H.”
To quote the Miz...Really?...Really?
As a fan I am dumbstruck in a few different ways.
It is absolutely fascinating and somewhat bewildering that the man still thinks in old school territorial terms. Wondering how well his character would be used because he was not a "homegrown" talent was most certainly a concern back when such regional distinctions existed between the northern and southern territories.
This hasn't really been the case since the early 90s.
In the late 90s, the Monday Night Wars definitely had an effect on the psychology of performers switching sides. Chris Jericho revealed that during the tense competition between the then WWF and WCW, there was a distinct feeling in the locker room of "us against them." But this was well over a decade ago.
To believe that in 2011 this kind of mentality still permeates the offices of what is now a global and publicly traded entertainment company is simply asinine.
Borden's concerns over use of other ex-WCW talent is also a huge head-scratcher. Not only is it an outside perception of a company Borden has never been a part of, but it is selective history at its most potent.
Some talents (not consistent main event talents by the way) did find themselves struggling for position in a crowded pool of talent, and to think that Vince McMahon would have put over WCW talent at the expense of tenured WWF mainstays who have proven their value to a company is a little silly.
But as is usually the case in the world of pro wrestling, talent always rises to the top. While Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner may not have lasted long, Booker T, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Big Show all reached career highs.
Then there are the careers of Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho, each reaching unimaginable heights in a company many believed would be unappreciative of their talents and unable to evolve them into impact players of the highest caliber.
This begs the question: If Borden is concerned over how his character would be used, even though he's 52, well established, has little left in the tank, and there's no territorial lines anymore, why would he think so little of himself as to lump himself in with the likes of of the failures rather then the likes of the successes?
That's defeatist thinking for a "legend."
Then looking at the "track record" of Vince's handling of WCW, we see that it's not just an issue of selective memory and being defeatist, but the "track records" of the companies should perhaps be of importance. Jim Crockett failed. Bischoff under Turner failed. TNA is failing. If track records are so important, wouldn't the company with the best track record, and quite frankly the ONLY successful record in the modern era, be the attractive option?
In addition, with WWE's record of great video production, career retrospectives and merchandise machine, why would he think that the company would bury him to a new audience while leaving a ton of money on the table? What is to be gained in that? Investing in Sting only to intentionally lose money on the deal is not a sign of clear thinking.
Perhaps he thinks this way because he has never actually worked for a long term money making company and doesn't know how business really works.
Then there's the issue of the Hall of Fame. WWE conducts the ceremony with a great deal of fanfare and the utmost respect of the honoree. If he was to enter the HoF, what possible reason could Borden have to suspect he wouldn't get the same treatment?
With all that in mind, let's remember that different reliable sources, including Dave Meltzer, Wade Keller, Jason Powell and others all reported rather flatly that talks never really happened in the first place.
Could this be just Borden exaggerating the truth in order to haggle with Dixie? Considering that Sting doesn't move the needle or the bank account balance for TNA, I'm surprised Dixie fell for it.
I also have a hard time believing that Vince McMahon would offer him a one-time match deal. That's not Vince's style. He likes a return on his investment and in all likelihood would have offered a one year deal with a send-off next year.
It is now beyond doubt that Borden is operating in 2011 with 1990s perspectives. He never really changed with the business, so maybe this isn't too shocking after all. But we also now know for sure that Borden also thinks less of himself as a performer by the historical company he chooses to keep.
But in the end we also have a faint image of a man who is intimidated and afraid. Jim Ross made a very interesting comment concerning Sting a few weeks ago on his blog when he said that "people have their comfort zones." This may have spoken volumes and I personally believe that he was hinting at the reason Sting isn't part of WWE.
I believe that Borden is afraid. I don't think he believes in himself as a performer and is dealing with some major insecurities. Why else would he choose to believe the worst, rather than accept the evidence to the contrary?
In the end, he's missing out BIG TIME. But unfortunately, so are we, and that happens to be the most frustrating aspect of all. His insecurities are likely costing fans the moment of a lifetime and robbing history of a wonderful chapter.
It's a shame. He sees himself as worthy of being in the ring with a drugged out Hardy or at a sound stage in front of 800 free-attendance people, rather than in the ring with a professional in front of 75,000.
He's right about one thing though. Things worked out for the best in the end. Not because he's comfortable, but because he doesn't deserve WWE, WrestleMania, or even the spot in history he could claim.
Out with a whimper is all he deserves.