Wrestling: Ultimate Warrior
"Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized by the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You! - you! - you! - you! - you! - you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back, I see many potential legends, some of them with Warrior spirits, and you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with passion and intensity, so much so that you will tell your stories and you make them legends as well. I am Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever.
(born James Brian Hellwig; June 16, 1959 - April 8, 2014), best known by his WWF ring name The Ultimate Warrior
, was one of the most famous names of Professional Wrestling
from the late '80s and early '90s. He is best-known for his appearances in WWE
in the late '80s and early '90s, where he had a famous match at WrestleMania VI
defeating Hulk Hogan
for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
. Back then he was seen as the next big legend of wrestling, the next Hogan, so to speak.
Unfortunately, he became infamous for being somewhat of a Cloudcuckoolander
in Real Life
, having legally changed his name from Jim Hellwig to Warrior in order to use it outside the WWE, his short-lived comic book
containing bizarre imagery and Walls of Text
(which was featured on The Spoony Experiment
and Atop the Fourth Wall
), his disastrous run in WCW
in the late '90s, again feuding with Hogan in what is now seen as one of the worst pay-per-view matches in the history of pro wrestling, and his nonsensical promos.
He had an outside career as a conservative lecturer. Yes, really
. Hence, you can call him "Professor Warrior
As usual, That Other Wiki
has a complete rundown on the Warrior's career.
On January 13, 2014, he was finally announced as a WWE Hall of Fame inductee.
Sadly, he passed away on April 8, 2014, a few days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, with his last appearance on Raw
the day before his death.
"THE ULLLLLTIMATE TROPES!":
- '80s Hair: When he first appeared on WWF TV, he had a pure eighties Hair Metal mullet bigger than most wrestlers.
- Aborted Arc: For whatever reasons, WCW never booked Warrior and Sting in a match sans one single solitary time as tag partners. Warrior and Steve Borden had previous history together (both met back when they started as bodybuilders before they began wrestling, to put things in perspective), started in the business at the same time, with the same people (Rick Bassman, mainly), and even formed a relatively obscure tag team called The Blade Runners. Surprisingly enough (for the Warrior, that is), even when they were apparently not on the best of terms, there didn't seem to be any bad blood between the two.
- Adam Westing: Warrior's commercial for WWE 2K14 had him acting as an over-the-top parody of himself.
- In his last promo on Raw, he seemed well-aware of how popular his skronk had become.
- In Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Legend, he jokingly refers to his segments as "the interviews nobody could understand".
- Angrish: Seriously, listen to any of his interviews and try to wonder what the hell he's saying.
- Arch-Enemy: In Real Life, Vince McMahon. In kayfabe, HOAK HOGAN!!
- According to an interview done by MLW, he actually admired Vince as a businessman, doesn't blame him for what happened, and has no ill will towards him. The problem was (according to him, at least) that both stood in each other's way to make a profit out of the Ultimate Warrior character.
- Their hatred had apparently finally weakened enough for the Ultimate Warrior to take his place in the WWE Hall of Fame.
- Hogan was very much a Real Life example.
- Warrior also didn't appreciate what Ted DiBiase said about him in The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior and ripped into him.
- Bobby Heenan has absolutely no love for Warrior either. He was by far the most vicious critic of Hellwig in The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. You'll see Heenan take a cheap shot at the man every now and then.
- Once, during an interview with WrestleCrap, RD Reynolds asked Heenan about Warrior. Heenan told Reynolds to bring the microphone with him and lead Reynolds into a bathroom. He asked Reynolds to say Warrior's name again and once he did Heenan flushed a toilet repeatedly. He then stated something along the lines of "that's what I think of that man."
- The Iron Sheik at one point too. It was later revealed, after Ultimate Warrior passed away, by Sheik himself in an Instagram video that it was all a work and he had nothing but love for him.
- In wrestling alone, Rick Rude, Randy Savage, The Undertaker. Ironically, he got along fine with all 3 of them in real life and had professed respect for them in later shoot interviews.
- In short, he was his own worst enemy at times.
- The Atoner: During his WWE Hall of Fame appearance, he sought out many of his peers that he had real life issues with in the past (e.g. Jake Roberts, Ted DiBiase, Kevin Nash, etc.) and mended fences with them.
- Ax-Crazy: A rare Face example.
- Becoming the Mask: It's generally believed that at some point, Jim Hellwig lost his original self to the Ultimate Warrior persona, thus why he still keeps the eye mask.
- The Berserker: The Warrior's trademark. During his matches, he would often enter a berserker rage and proceed to beat the ever-loving crap out of his opponent. Sometimes, he would even begin the match in a berserker rage; one match versus Randy Savage lasted only a couple of minutes because the Warrior charged into the ring and proceeded to beat the crap out of Savage even before the bell rang. Within two minutes, Savage was so demoralized that he fled back to the locker room, causing the Warrior to win by countout.
- Bittersweet Ending: After patching things up with the WWE and having what was, by all accounts, a good time in New Orleans for the Hall of Fame and WrestleMania XXX, Warrior goes on to give a great speech at the following night's Raw. Less than 24 hours later, he passes away from a sudden heart attack.
- Boisterous Bruiser: A loud blowhard, except he almost never loses wrestling matches.
- Boring but Practical: Much like Hogan and his leg drop, Warrior adapted a fairly basic maneuver (that is a simple jumping splash to a grounded opponent off a rope run) as his finisher. Needless to say, he did carry that championship so one must say it worked.
- Boring Invincible Hero: The Warrior's career in the WWF was this personified. At first, Warrior was everything Vince loved in a wrestler at the time (insanely ripped, unique promo style, lots and lots of energy) and was built up as the next generation's Hogan. Warrior rarely ever lost and when he did, it was pretty much never cleanly. He ended the IC championship reign of the Honky Tonk Man (the longest reign ever), beat the likes of André the Giant and Hulk Hogan, and capped off his career in the WWF by completely no-selling Triple H and the Pedigree. Chances are this treatment helped turn him into the person everyone knows today.
- Charles Atlas Superpower/Muscles Are Meaningful: He was a bodybuilder before he got into wrestling, and, while working as the Dingo Warrior in Texas, he got a Bear Hug on ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER!!!
- Cloudcuckoolander: He was notorious for coming up with some extremely bizarre promos during his run as a wrestler where he would talk about powers he could tap into and strength he could summon (possibly drawing upon his gimmick as some sort of spirit channel for various great warriors across history). However, there was a pang of this that could also said to extend to Real Life, especially in his post-WWF exploits.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Previews for "The Warrior Show", an attempted television show where he put metalcore bands (such as Asking Alexandria and I See Stars) through rigorous training, were edited in a way that showed him constantly swearing.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: He's one of the few wrestlers to hold a clean win over Hulk Hogan. At WrestleMania, no less.
- Before that, he was the one who ended The Honky Tonk Man's record 64-week reign as Intercontinental Champion.
- Divergent Character Evolution: Before they split, he and Sting were a pair of interchangeable big guys/pretty boys, who evolved into a Road Warriors ripoff. After they broke up, they eventually became two of the most distinct characters in wrestling, with very little in common except a penchant for facepaint.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: During his promo quoted above, Warrior kept motioning his arms as if he was doing pelvic thrusts at the camera. Between that and his talks of how he would "keep coming" and would "swell" really big, it sounded really bad. Whether he wanted it to or not, the promo makes it sounds like he's describing how he got an erection.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: He legally changed his name to "Warrior".
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: The notorious WWE compilation, The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, who chafed at Warrior retaining the trademark to his stage name (it seems James Hellwig wasn't the only wrestler to become lost in character).
- He finally got the respect that deserved when he was the first inductee into the 2014 class of the WWE Hall of Fame.
- WWE has also stopped selling The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior on their shop and replaced it with Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection, which is a compilation featuring Warrior in a much more positive light.
- Expy: Of The Road Warriors. His Tag Team with Sting, the Blade Runners were very much modeled on the LOD.
- The Renegade, a wrestler in WCW, was a expy of Warrior. The WWF sent a cease-and-desist letter to WCW because of this. WCW would eventually fire him once the real Warrior showed up. Several months after he was fired, Rick Wilson, the man who played The Renegade, committed suicide.
- Face: Was never a Heel in the WWF. Reportedly, WWF planned on turning him heel in the summer of 1992, before Warrior vetoed it.
- Facial Markings: His trademark facepainted mask symbol. It originally was on Warrior's right cheek, then the symbol was painted as a mask shape around his eyes, which then stuck with his persona.
- Famous Last Words: Fans will remember the final speech he gave on Raw the night after Wrestlemania.
- Five Moves of Doom: A punch, two clotheslines, a gorilla press slam, and a running splash.
- Sometimes he would sub a jumping shoulder block for the gorilla press, especially after his return in '92 for some reason.
- The Grinch: Something must have really traumatized him on Christmas as a kid for him to create something as horrifying as THIS! WARNING: Not for the faint of heart.
- Heel-Face Turn: In Dallas as Dingo Warrior and he never looked back, working obsessively as a Face for the rest of his career.
- His homophobic ramblings may potentially be considered a heel turn though.
- Hidden Depths: Jim Hellwig was a trained and licensed chiropractor.
- The Warrior Ringside Collectibles shoot interview is this IN SPADES. Everybody who first looks for it expects to see a man's mad and incoherent rambles about WWE, Vince McMahon, and Hulk Hogan. Then when they see it, they're surprised when they see a guy that could actually speak clearly and coherently for a change, bringing up many interesting facts (like his early friendship with Sting and his very early matches with one of wrestling's most tragic families, the Von Erichs, just to name a few) and had some, if not many, fond memories about his career.
- Hot-Blooded: Very.
Warrior: (shaking his head rapidly) AWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YOU CAN FEEL IT, DUDES!
- I Have Many Names: Jim "Justice" Hellwig, Blade Runner Rock, Dingo Warrior, the Ultimate Warrior, the Warrior.
- The Jannetty: To Sting.
- Large Ham: Without a doubt, Warrior hams it up.
- Lost in Character: Presumably, he was this.
- Meaningless Meaningful Words: It's a mystery why no one has yet published a coffee table book entitled The Wit and Wisdom of the Ultimate Warrior.
- Chris Jericho once described his reaction to Warrior's promos as, "I don't really know what he just said, but I think it sounded cool, so yay!"
- Similarly, in 1999, Warrior posted a statement on his website about him supposedly joining ECW. Reached for comment, Paul Heyman responded, "I don't know what to say, because, after reading what he wrote, I don't know what he said."
- Memetic Mutation:
- "Queering... doesn't make the world work!" The point he was apparently making was that humanity would die out if every person was gay. While seemingly true in principle note , what makes it homophobic was the ludicrous way he tried using this Slippery Slope Fallacy to justify banning homosexuality altogether.
- Thanks to Spoony: "HOAK HOGAN!". Or "SKRONK!"
- "THE FAMILY THAT I LIVE FOR ONLY BREATHES THE AIR THAT SMELLS OF COMBAT!"
- "LOAD THE SPACESHIP WITH THE ROCKET FUEL..."
- No Sell: Much like Hogan, Warrior made a career out of no selling even the most powerful moves used against him. Arguably, his most amazing and memorable no sell was IMMEDIATELY STANDING UP AFTER BEING PEDIGREE'D by Triple H at Wrestlemania XII! This feat alone was a testament to his Invincible Hero status.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Warrior claimed in his WWE Hall of Fame speech that the company asked him not to mention or reference The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. In classic Warrior fashion, after barely avoiding the subject one or two times, he gave up and mentioned it anyway, albeit never by name.
- Self-Deprecation: The Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Legend special makes it quite clear that Warrior was well aware of the fact no one could understand his promos and laughs about it.
- Moment Of Awesome : Winning the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI. He and Hogan had the match planned out weeks in advance to ensure it was as good a match as possible.
- His very first appearance on WCW. Whether you saw it on TV or live: Eric Bischoff claimed that the ratings slowly went down during that segment, but Warrior got some deafening pops every time he opened his mouth.
- Mirror Monster: WCW tried to give him these powers. Unfortunately, it didn't work. TNA would later duplicate the trick to less critical derision with Winter.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Would you want to face a man simply dubbed "The Ultimate Warrior" in combat?
- No Indoor Voice: The screaming was part of the appeal.
- Odd Friendship: With Sting, at least for a while.
- Parts Unknown: He's billed from there.
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: Destrucity, Foke, Jet-Jack.
- Portmanteau: Destrucity is the truce between destiny and reality; in other words, staying true to what you are right now while striving for your ultimate destiny.
- Power Stable:
- Eddie Gilbert's The First Family in Mid-South as Blade Runner Rock.
- Gary Hart's Army in World Class as Dingo Warrior.
- Precision F-Strike: During his WWF comeback in 1996, he responded to a particularly innuendo-laced approach from Goldust with this interesting quote (keeping in mind, of course, that this was pre-Austin 3:16):
Warrior: Whatever you're trying to pull from the minds of those you screw with, and whatever those choose to do with what you dish out, let me make it perfectly clear: what is, is. And whatever you're into, I don't give a shit!!!
- Public Service Announcement: He did a hilariously over-the-top anti-smoking PSA, where he began chewing on a pack of cigarettes.
- Purple Prose: Much of what made his promos unique was his tendency to add odd and complicated metaphors and/or ridiculous hyperbole to get across his point. He couldn't just tell you he was going to beat Hulk Hogan, he had to let you know he was going to invade Hogan's plane in mid-flight to WrestleMania and throw the controls into a nosedive. While it made him unique in the context of the other wrestlers, it's so overblown and complicated in comparison that nobody really grasps what he's saying. As a result, his promos are seen as deliciously narmy.
- Real Song Theme Tune: The Blade Runners used Styx's "Castle Walls."
- Ryu and Ken: Moveset-wise, he had this relationship with Hulk Hogan.
- Sanity Slippage: From the fairly calm Dingo Warrior to... to... this. At this point, he's presumably lost his original personality to Warrior.
- Screaming Warrior: Especially during his rope shaking sequence.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: This combined with his unusual pronunciations made him hard to understand, but fans seemed to buy into his promos anyway, just because he was so enthusiastic about whatever he said. Part of this was also from the fact Warrior would sometimes make up words.
- Signature Move: A running lariat known as the "Dingo Bomber" (similar to Hulk Hogan's "Axe Bomber"), a Military Press Oklahoma Slam, or a Big Boot.
- Squash Match: What most of his matches were. Mostly out of necessity; because of his habit of running full-tilt into the ring during his entrance, he would be too out-of-breath to have a protracted match. You'll notice that even the most bloodthirsty "berserker" characters nowadays make a habit of walking down to the ring.
- Tag Team: He and Sting started in Memphis together as the Freedom Fighters before moving on to first make their name in "Cowboy" Bill Watts' Mid-South Wrestling (Louisiana/Oklahoma)/Universal Wrestling Federation as the Blade Runners, Rock (UW) and Flash (Sting).
- Talkative Loon: The Ultimate Warrior's wrestling promos often took the form of long, rambling diatribes addressed at Hulk Hogan that often made little sense. It's unclear how much James Brian Hellwig himself actually understood what he was saying.
- Take That: He was the subject of the ultimate (no pun intended) take that DVD, The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, released in 2005.
- 10-Minute Retirement: The Ultimate Warrior came out of retirement to do a one time only match in 2008 for the independent Italian wrestling promotion Nu-Wrestling Evolution (NWE) against Orlando Jordan before he went on to TNA.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: His big promo on Hogan on the August 17, 1998 WCW Monday Nitro qualifies. Early on, the crowd was chanting "Hogan sucks! Hogan sucks!," and UW said, "Let's talk about something he doesn't know." More specifically, he was telling Hogan how, when Hogan came to WCW, he thought he'd be able to reach the same levels of popularity that he had in WWF, and, when he found out he was wrong, Hulkamania "became boring" to him, leading him to turn heel and launch the nWo.
- Trash the Set: Of The Brother Love Show on the March 2 (taped January 28), 1991 WWF Superstars, as this was Bruce Prichard's last appearance in the gimmick until the November 25 (taped November 20), 1995 episode.note
- Ungrateful Bastard: The opinion of his coworkers who did not have the same attitudes towards money that he did. Bobby Heenan for never being apologized to for being injured by him. Also many wrestlers who were squashed by or had to carry him through matches feel he was ungrateful to them for making him look good.
- Underwear of Power: For one, there's his arm tassels, which in the comic book series is described as "belief banners".
- The Unintelligible: It is often difficult to make out exactly what he's saying, and if you actually do manage to work out what words he's saying, there's still a pretty good chance that it won't make sense.
- Unskilled, but Strong: On a good day, Warrior could pull off maybe six different holds. He was so strong that he didn't need any more.
- Unstoppable Rage: See The Berserker entry above.
- Verbal Tic: As mentioned above, his... bombastic delivery of his promos led to him slurring and over-enunciating certain words, which in turn led to his Fountain of Memes status.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Briefly in 1992 with The Undertaker. Before a tag match against Papa Shango and the Berzerker at the Civic Complex in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada on June 3, 1992, they could be seen trash talking each other, most likely in reference to their feud a year earlier.
- Word Salad Philosophy: Destrucity.
- The short-lived Warrior comic book was essentially a long promotional tract for his philosophical ideas. You can read an amusing summary of it here.
- Worthy Opponent: Scoff if you will, but there was a serious attempt in the run-up to Wrestlemania VI to build Warrior up as Hulk Hogan's equal and rightful heir
- Writing Around Trademarks: Billed as "The Warrior" in WCW.