Rock Star Gary reflects on…The Ultimate Warrior

Since many
of you already know the history behind the legendary Warrior I will not repeat
any of it. Nor will I write one of my LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG diatribes that I
have been known to publish here. Instead I will give my personal recollection
of the Ultimate Warrior’s impact upon my wrestling fandom.

Back in 1986
as I watched three hours of syndicated pro wrestling shows on Saturday mornings
I stumbled upon a new character on World Class Championship Wrestling. Since I
had no access to Mid-South back then I had no idea who this guy was. Indeed it
was the Dingo Warrior.
What the
fuck is a Dingo Warrior? My young brain couldn’t understand it, but he had the
same build as “The Modern Day Warrior” Kerry Von Erich so I thought he was cool.
Then he jumped ship to the WWF.
In the WWF
back in 1987 I never saw the Dingo Warrior appear, but soon thereafter he was
renamed the Ultimate Warrior with the absolute JUICIEST music ever! Out of
nowhere this dude with tassels on his arms and unique face paint SPRINTS to the
ring, continues to run around it, jumps on the apron, and shakes the ropes
maniacally! I was hooked from the beginning.
His squash
matches against guys like Jose Luis Rivera, Steve Lombardi, and Terry Gibbs
were worth watching because he absolutely DESTROYED these guys with high-impact
moves. While in no way did he compare to “Nature Boy” Ric Flair when it came to
wrestling acumen, the Ultimate Warrior ENTERTAINED me regardless!
The next
thing I discovered was that the Honkytonk Man stupidly challenged ANYBODY for
his title at Summerslam ’88. Again, out of nowhere, the Ultimate Warrior
exploded from the back and pinned the cocky champion 1…2…3 for the Intercontinental
title! The wrestler for whom I marked out ferociously became a champion. Woohoo!
intervened and my wrestling fandom took a backseat for a while. The next thing
I recall was the Ultimate Warrior challenged Hulk Hogan title for title at WrestleMania
VI. Incredibly he won, although I wouldn’t find out about it until I rented the
VHS tape much later.
Quite some time passed, and my next opportunity to see the Ultimate Warrior was at
WrestleMania XII. I watched him squish Hunter Hearst Helmsley like a bug and
enjoyed it tremendously! However, since the WWF was focusing on a “New
Generation” in 1996 the Ultimate Warrior looked lost in the shuffle and
disappeared on me again.
The next
thing I knew about our beloved hero was his WCW debut in Hartford, CT on Nitro
in September 1998. While one could see that the ONLY reason he was in WCW was
so that Hogan could finally beat him, his arrival was still HUGE news to me.
When I
attended the Nitro in Chicago shortly after Warrior’s WCW debut I tried my
hardest to understand exactly what he was trying to convey. One Warrior Nation
was not embraced by the WCW minions much to my dismay. When Warrior finally “wrestled”
Hogan at Halloween Havoc ’98 I was excited for the rematch.
Then it
happened. While I knew neither guy was a wrestling technician I didn’t know
neither knew how to actually CARRY a match. The Las Vegas crowd, as well as I,
completely SHAT all over the match until my PPV feed died. Immediately I
purchased the event again while the colossal destruction of a main event
continued. Warrior was cooked, finished, fini, done, and kaput as far as
wrestling in the main event ever again was concerned.
In spite of
all that, I made my journey through wrestling history and caught up with some
other Warrior highlights (e.g. Rick Rude, Papa Shango, WrestleMania VIII). I
believed that while he was not a great WRESTLER, thus vilified by smarks
everywhere online, he ENTERTAINED me and became a legend in my wrestling fandom.
watching the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony I noticed a lot of LONG speeches.
Lita’s speech seemed never-ending. Mr. T’s diatribe about religion and his
mother, while noteworthy, was long-winded. When it came time for the induction
of the Ultimate Warrior I was worried. Would they cut him off too? What would
he say? While most legends tell fascinating road stories or claim so-and-so was
his road buddy I knew the Ultimate Warrior wouldn’t do anything like that.
In lieu of
giving accolades to those who had previously received them he gave credit to
the Steve Lombardis and the Terry Gibbs as well as the Jimmy Mirandas whom the
WWE Universe never sees. I saw how displeased he was over the Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior
DVD and felt sympathy for him. While his speech was also long I felt like he
knew he didn’t have much time left in the spotlight. Little did I know, it wasn’t
just the spotlight.
Being the
rabid smark that I am now I made it a point to DVR the RAW after WrestleMania.
After all, new stories are told and monumental moments tend to happen on this
particular show. Since I don’t watch the show regularly but only follow it
online I read the reviews and was eager to watch it. Last night I watched the
show and enjoyed it thoroughly. I only skipped a couple parts, but I wasn’t
going to skip Warrior’s segment.
The music
ERUPTED throughout the arena. The wrestler whom I idolized in my younger years
WALKED up to and into the ring. Wearing one of his customary robes and,
inevitably, a Warrior mask, he gave us a very heartfelt promo. I had no idea
that he would be taken away from us soon thereafter.
Today I pay
tribute to the Ultimate Warrior. He was a legend in OUR sport and will remain
so indefinitely.
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