"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."
Warrior (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.
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.
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.
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.
Becoming the Mask: It's generally believed that at some point, Jim Hellwig lost his original self to the Ultimate Warrior persona.
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.
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.
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.
Death by Falling Over: He collapsed suddenly on the way to his car and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
To elaborate, the point he was apparently making was that humanity would die out if every person was gay. While seemingly true in principle note Homosexuals are as intelligent as any other random sample of humans, so while the sexual attraction might not be there even an all-homosexual society would presumably accept the need for procreation., 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!"
To say nothing of his gibberish-y, rambling promos. "LOAD THE SPACESHIP WITH THE ROCKET FUEL..."
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 barelly 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 Awesomeinvoked: 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.
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.
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.
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).
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 Two weeks earlier, Brother Love had introduced Paul Bearer as the Undertaker's new manager.
Edge jokingly stated that these were the cause of his insane rambling promos due to them cutting off the circulation to his head.
In his comic, they are alive and self-aware, giving him advice. Linkara's review speculated briefly on whether he believed this in real life.
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.
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.
In fairness, he at least spoke more clearly when he's not yelling every single word.
And to be perfectly fair, it really isn't that strange once you actually figure out what it means under all the buzz words and pop psychology. For example, most of his Warrior comic basically boils down to this: reality is at least partly subjective, and stuff we think and believe has as much power over reality as what we do. In other words, his personal philosophy is Clap Your Hands If You Believe. Taking that in, much of what he says actually fits with this—most of his promos, for example, revolve around him saying that basically he will defeat any force or opposition through sheer willpower. In other words: Clap Your Hands If You Believe mixed with Proud Warrior Race Guy. In that light it's not that crazy sounding, but it does prove that 1) the guy is married to Purple Prose, and 2) it makes him sound unintelligible to the majority of folks out there.
He has also shown that he can turn off the verbal fog machine when he wants, such as in his big promo on Hogan (see "The Reason You Suck" Speech above.) Hogan was standing with Eric Bischoff and the Disciple (Brutus Beefcake). Warrior pointed to the Disciple and said, "Let's see, this dude must be your barber."
On the Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD, Jerry Lawler states that his feud with Randy Savage worked because nobody could understand a word either of them said.
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.
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.