Welcome to this Time Machine edition of the Phat Daily Column. Today, we'll discuss the life and times of the Ultimate Warrior, who was last seen in WCW(besides some other independent feds). Many consider the Warrior to be of nothing but misfortune, with a possible chance to own the spotlight ruined by either himself or others. So let's take a Quantum Leap and take a look at this former Superstar.
The Warrior started out, sort of like a future tag partner Sting, as someone who was into fitness or weightlifting. He tried to win various contests, but he never came close to winning. However, someone in the wrestling industry had their eye on him for a while, and suggested that he should enter Professional Wrestling, since he had the 'look' of a pro wrestler. Since the bodybuilding career was about as successful as the WWF's WBF show, he decided to take up the gentleman's offer and he became a pro wrestler.
The Warrior would then surf through independents, and then he finally teamed up with Sting to form the wonderful Bladerunners. Obviously, the federation didn't put much stock into their team, so the Warrior jumped to one of my personal favorite federations, World Class to be come the Dingo Warrior. I suppose the added "Dingo" part was to signify that he was crazy or something. Now the Warrior and Sting sort of painted their faces up when they were a team, but in World Class, the Dingo Warrior had an exact face painting like the Ultimate Warrior and Warrior do. It was really the birth of his huge gimmick, if you'll call it that. The Dingo Warrior just had shorter hair than the Warrior did.
In World Class, he started off as a heel, and then eventually turned face since the fans were digging him! I believe he won some kind of title(I think it's their TV title), but then again, I watched this stuff about 13 years ago or so? I know he had a belt, and he had the look of a main eventer. However, World Class was slowly dying off, and the Warrior made the decision to jump to the WWF, who was basically robbing talent from any fed they approached. So the Dingo Warrior changed his name to a much more marketable name, and thus we get the Ultimate Warrior.
So in 1988, the Ultimate Warrior was getting some awesome crowd reactions, and like the WWF usually does, they took notice, and even stopped Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake's push IC title push for the Warrior. That IC push led to the Ultimate Warrior DESTROYING the Honkey Tonk Man at Summerslam 1988, making the crowd go crazy in enjoyment! The Ultimate Warrior enjoyed success as a great IC champion, slowly molding into the next main event Superstar. He held the belt, untested for the rest of 1988, and he then needed someone to feud with for 1989's Wrestlemania.
That man was the late Ravishing Rick Rude. For some reason or another, these two always put on a great match together. I don't know what it was, but it's true! Rude and Bobby Heenan would have him jumped several times leading up to this match, and many thought that the Warrior would run over Rude at Wrestlemania 5. Well, they were certainly wrong! In a shocking upset, Heenan pulled down the Warrior's leg during a suplex to enable Rude to get the cheap win and he took the IC title away! I remember I was shocked at this time!
This feud wouldn't end, as they had a rematch at Summerslam 1989, and just as he did a year before, the Warrior won the Intercontinental Title. Oddly enough again, it was a good match. The chemistry these two had together was so strange... The Warrior continued to be a HUGE fan favorite, and he was even getting more cheers and fanfare than Hulk Hogan, the company's current World Champion. So now, Wrestlemania 6 rolls around, and the main event is Hulk Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior. The Warrior was still IC champ heading into this one by the way.
Now this is one of the few times I'll ever praise Hogan.... Hogan was very willing to put the Warrior over as the top company man, and that says a whole lot. It was Hogan's position to lose, and the Warrior could damn well take it from him. Unlike so many other times, Hogan did his job correctly, but he wanted the match to be a blockbuster, which it actually was! Of course, the Warrior and Hogan actually rehearsed this match for several months before Wrestlemania 6 actually happened, so it should have been good.
So in front of a packed crowd in the Skydome, Hulk Hogan put over the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 6. Hogan even handed the Warrior his belt, and saluted him! Could you ask for any more out of Hulk Hogan??? This right here is the peak of the Warrior, and he was never greater than this moment right here. No doubt. Warrior would wrestle Rick Rude again in a feud, while Hogan actually accepted a depush by fighting the Earthquake of all people(John Tenta). Very very strange!
Then the Gulf War happened. Soooo, the WWF decided to play with people's hearts and ride off the war! To do that, they went out and got Sgt. Slaughter, turned him heel, and made him support Iraq! For you G.I. Joe fans out there, I know that shocked you. The WWF also repackaged the Iran Sheik to join the Iraq stable, along with another guy to be a manager. Since we were at war with Iraq, these guys got MEGA HEAT! Sooo, the WWF decided to ride off them, make Sgt. Slaughter the World Champ, and have an All-American boy defeat him at Wrestlemania. Oh no, it wasn't Warrior, it was the man who put him over at the previous Wrestlemania, Hulk Hogan.
So basically, this angle murdered the Ultimate Warrior's top spot, as it easily put Hulk Hogan back on top. I think the WWF started to notice that the numbers were slowly dropping too in terms of attendance and ratings. They probably would have had Hogan win the title anyway, but since they did this war angle, they could get big again. Problem was that Hogan couldn't quite do much after he got his huge win at Wrestlemania, now could he? Warrior lost his title because of the Macho Man Randy Savage nailing him with a septor(sp?), when the Warrior was fighting Sgt. Slaughter at Royal Rumble 1991.
The Warrior wasn't depushed at all, as the feud with Savage was excellent...until their match. Personally, I HATE their match at Wrestlemania 7 because both wrestlers take such long breaks between each move, and for the fact that the Warrior got up from 5 F'N Macho Elbows. Unheard of! Warrior defeated Macho Man, which was in fact a retirement match. 5 Macho Elbows....not sold at all. Blah!
So instead of having a HUGE money rematch between Hogan and the Warrior, the WWF decides to keep this Iraqy feud going, by teaming up the Warrior and Hogan against Team Iraq. Now that's a missed opportunity, but then again, I don't run the WWF. After this event, the WWF totally depushed the Warrior since they received Sid Justice and Ric Flair from the failing WCW.
I'm sure you classic WWF fans remember this one. The Undertaker attacked the Warrior several times, and even shoved him in a casket, where the Warrior "passed out" when being in there for a while. Uh huh. So, the Warrior gets the services of Jake "the Snake" Roberts to help him get on the Undertaker's evil level. The Snake took the Warrior to several places, where he led him to a room filled with snakes, and a cobra at that. Warrior would look through the window, and see that Roberts was in the Undertaker's pocket the whole time, and he went down in agony. I guess this sets up a match with the Warrior and Jake "the Snake", right? WRONG.
You see, the Warrior didn't want this depush he was getting. It wasn't leading him to the Undertaker, it was leading to a feud with Roberts, a glorified midcarder. Warrior saw it as an insult, since he was supposed to carry the company after he won the World Title. With Flair and Sid now around, the WWF had other ideas, and those ideas still involved Hulk Hogan, the man who put the Warrior over. Warrior was very angry with the WWF now, and left them in late 1991. He didn't go anywhere else though, and that led to some funny rumors.
I remember hearing from many kids in my school, since I was what, in 6th grade then, that the Ultimate Warrior had died of steroids. Later on, I've learned that it wasn't just a rumor in my area, but all over! The Warrior did NOT die of anything, including steroids. He had this booking dispute with the WWF, where he quit the company. Now the WWF and the Warrior came to an agreement again, once Wrestlemania 8 came around. The problem here is that the Warrior, also named Jim Hellwig in real life, obviously sized down from his huge muscle mass, and he had a new haircut. That prompted many to say "there's my proof that the Warrior is dead", when in fact, he just changed in his time off from wrestling.
His new agreement with the WWF gave him some booking power for his character. So we go to Wrestlemania 8, where Sid is fighting Hogan in the main event. Papa Shango ran in that match, which I don't know why, and the Warrior saved Hogan from an evil Sid and Shango beat down. That led to the famous Papa Shango vs. the Ultimate Warrior feud, which the Warrior had complete control over. That's why you saw lots of voo-doo and magic tricks from Papa Shango on the Warrior to build up their match. Papa Shango, by the way, is the Goodfather today.
After this joke of a feud with Papa Shango, the WWF tried another Randy Savage vs. Warrior match, which was mainly to help fuel the feud with Flair and Savage only. Warrior had nothing to gain from it, and he was depushed since the WWF was so stacked with talent in 1992. It's been said that he would have to feud with Nailz, who was the evil bastard that was stalking the Big Bossman before that. Warrior saw it as an insult, since he felt he could be used better, and BOOM, he was gone from the WWF again.
So for a good 2 years or so, the Warrior didn't really surface anywhere. I think he made a few independent stops, but he took it easy and had a big break from wrestling. It was said that he retired, and that he wouldn't even try to go to WCW. WCW, by the way, was hitting Rock Bottom at that point, and I would have been shocked to see him there at that point around 1993. As you all know, the WWF's ship was starting to sink, and WCW was getting better in 1996. SO, the WWF and the Ultimate Warrior came to terms, and he was brought back for Wrestlemania 12.
The Warrior came returned in great fashion to squash Triple H in less than 5 minutes of a match. Poor Game, as the Warrior no-sold his pedigree finisher. Doesn't that knock out everyone these days? The WWF expected the Warrior's return to be HUGE, and to save their ratings struggles against WCW. However, many of the past Warrior fans, I guess, have moved on and many newer fans actually didn't recognize him at all! But I wouldn't blame the Warrior. From what I saw on RAW, fans enjoyed his return, but the surrounding WWF product was failing, and the WCW product was the one gaining interest, thanks to their red hot NWO angle. The Warrior did start his own "Warrior University" and comic book during his return, and they both failed miserably. That was sort of a sign to the WWF, in some ways, that the WWF might not be the draw they were looking for at the time to combat the WWF.
Sadly, the Warrior's father passed away that following Summer after his Wrestlemania 12 return, and he missed a few houseshows to grieve his father. I believe there was some confusion of the WWF's about why the Warrior was released, so they might have used these missed houseshows as an excuse, so they let him go, also feeling that he wasn't the huge draw they expected. This was the last time that the Warrior would ever be associated with the WWF, and he now wanted to go elsewhere. The Warrior would then file suit against the WWF for the usage of the "Ultimate Warrior" name.
That suit actually took forever to hit the courts, but when it did, both the WWF and Jim Hellwig fought hard. The WWF wouldn't give it up because they knew he could show up in WCW during 1997 as the Ultimate Warrior, yet another famous WWF star in WCW. This case was settled sometime in 1998, where it was agreed that the Warrior could have his "Ultimate Warrior" name, BUT it was agreed that he could NOT act like he did in the WWF. Meaning, he must not resemble the WWF's Ultimate Warrior. Freedom of getting your name can hurt sometimes. After this trial, Jim Hellwig officially changed his name to the "Warrior" just to avoid any more problems like this in the future.
As you all know, the WWF became RED-HOT in 1998, and WCW was going down since Hogan's ego became so out of control. Since WCW was failing, Eric Bischoff negotiated with the Warrior to have him come into WCW and wrestle Hogan for a big-money-draw Pay Per View. Eventually, the Warrior agreed to come in, and the news hit the internet that the Warrior would be appearing on a Nitro, which was just before Fall Brawl 1998. I was starting to really hate WCW at this point since it was always Hulk Hogan hour. When I read that the Warrior would appear on Nitro, I cheered!
That Nitro, Hogan was running his mouth on how he was sooo great, and so forth. You know, the Hollywood Hogan interview he's done about 8373646748856785 times? So after a while, he says that nobody can stop him, and some ring music hits. It sort of sounds like High Voltage's, just a little bit if you ask me. There he is...the Warrior! He walks down the the ring, and avoids grabbing the ropes. At that point, the WWF was probably laughing since their settlement was working quite well. Then, the Warrior got on the mic and made the dumbest speech ever! He would use long words, and made no sense whatsoever. It totally killed the crowd, probably half of which never even saw the Warrior before in action. To make things even worse, he left the ring by having a HUGE smoke cloud in the ring, and he just disappeared. Well, let's call it a trap door in the ring before the smoke cleared...
Then, we enter Fall Brawl 1998, where the Warrior interfered in the Wargames match, and chase Hogan out of the cage. Warrior, by the way, tore something in his arm mildly during this stupid incident. This would, I guess, make the huge feud between Hogan and Warrior, which would be set for Halloween Havoc 1998. Warrior would appear, and disappear during Hogan segments, thanks to the handy trap door and smoke screen. By the way, the British Bulldog badly messed up his back landing on that trap door.
Also in this feud, WCW decided to give the Warrior his own stable, which he called the One Warrior Nation, which was the complete opposite of the NWO. The Disciple(Brutus Beefcake, Zodiac, Booty Man, or Ed Leslie) was stolen from Hogan, but he would then join the Warrior for the OWN. I guess that's heat for the Halloween Havoc match in 1998. Now in 1990, 8 years later conveniently, these guys rehearsed for a few months to get ready. However, Hogan is even worse wrestling, and the Warrior hasn't really wrestled since 1992. The match at Halloween Havoc was possibly the WORST ever in wrestling history. Hogan tried to throw a fucking fireball at Warrior during the match, which actually failed. Then, with lots of interference, Horace Hogan hit the Warrior with a chair, and Hogan got the win. Oh God, don't rent this.... well, rent it since it's Bill Goldberg's best match ever against DDP, and that's it. Maybe for a laugh you should rent this?
Warrior and Disciple tried their One Warrior Nation one more time on the following Nitro, but then the Warrior was never seen again on WCW. Bischoff knew what a bad failure it was, so he completely shut him out of ever coming back to WCW again! Warrior has never been seen in WCW since, nor has he ever returned to the WWF, either. Warrior just let his contract end sometime in 1999, having checks coming in without appearing anymore.
However, in late 1999, Vince Russo had an idea to bring the Warrior back into WCW, as Russo enjoyed the Warrior back in the day. Russo felt he could revamp this former Superstar. However, no deals were made, probably since the Warrior felt he got the shaft in 1998 by WCW. Russo was fired in early 2000, but then brought back during the Spring of 2000, and was interested in the Warrior again. Warrior, however, never did agree to come back to WCW. There was even some talk of an ECW appearance, but that was turned down. Since late 1998, Warrior has been wrestling or at least showing up at independent events here and there, but nothing of significants.
Now will the Warrior ever show up for any television federations sometime soon again? I really doubt it, as you could say that his career is over in the bigtime. His WCW run and bad ending to the WWF basically shuts him down from doing much these days. My feeling is that the WWF should have gone with a Warrior and Hogan rematch, instead of going for the Iraq feud during Wrestlemania 7. After that, he went straight down the ladder, and totally ruined any kind of career he could have had if you ask me.
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@That's all for today. I suppose I'll do predictions for the ECW Pay Per View tomorrow, along with other random stuff. Just chill....
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