The Passing of The Ultimate Warrior
This is absolutely shocking. For years, ever since I really started looking at the history of professional wrestling (because up until recently, the present sucked major balls), I learned about and heard about the big, big names of the industry. People like The Rock, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, Hogan, Macho Man (RIP), Andre, Goldberg, and Bret Hart, all of those guys were proudly displayed in the WWE library and marketed as a part of their family. But The Warrior was never really showcased. Even his DVD was labelled the “Self-destruction of the Ultimate Warrior” and was a complete smear job of both his character and him as a person.
Now I know this is a business and a lot had to do with marketing, but that DVD was very personal. And it was difficult to learn much about him (his run with Hogan was many years before I was even born), but I kept a relatively open mind. Maybe the WWE was right with what they were saying, but I had no idea. If you look at a guy like Jeff Jarrett, do you really think he’s a bad guy? Ask people at the WWE, and they’ll pretend he never existed because of the way he left the company in 1999. The same thing happened with The Warrior. The way he left made the WWE look bad, and they haven’t let that go after all those years.
The same thing happened with The Warrior. It also didn’t help that The Ultimate Warrior was very outspoken about the treatment of professional wrestlers and the use of steroids. But, and to their credit, the WWE did put their differences aside and did induct him into the Hall of Fame this year. To fans, especially around my age and younger, this wasn’t as big of a deal as it should have been, because we didn’t know exactly how big of a star he was, and much of it was because of the DVD.
We expected to get a self-serving arsehole. What we got was a likable maniac. He was too intelligent for it to be hidden behind a character. His philosophies in life were deep and complex, but so blatantly obvious, and if you couldn’t understand the basic premise (try your best and you’ve succeeded), then Warrior was a nutcase. But if you could understand them, then this guy was an absolute gem not just for the wrestling industry, but for society in general. He was bigger than just a wrestler.
And that’s what makes this so sad. It was only a few days ago he was being walked by his daughters to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The very next night, he was being celebrated at Wrestlemania by the other inductees. Then last night, he was on Raw where he delivered this speech:
Talk about eerie. Perhaps he knew about his condition, and that’s why the WWE was able to look beyond the history and placed him exactly where he belonged (in the HOF). If that’s the case, that’s a very classy move by the WWE, to give the Warrior some final peace and closure for his career and life. He will be missed, even by fans such as myself who never really got to experience his greatness, and that is the mark of a truly remarkable individual: to leave a powerful message even in a limited time period.
My thoughts are with his family, and may he rest in peace.